Friday, 1 January 2016
Barbeque Nation, Worli, Mumbai
The day of reckoning.
Not only because it is the day when everyone, literally everyone, is out of their homes and it is near impossible to get a last minute seat in any restaurant.
But mainly because it is my mom's birthday!
Well, that is why my family has made a pact that we will not get out of home on 31st December evening and all our celebrations have to be completed in morning and afternoon itself. It is too traumatic to spend the last night of the year being suffocated in an overly crowded party room with blaring gibberish in the name of music OR stuck in traffic lines literally 5 km long :P
So,like every 31st December, we marched out of home for a nice lunch session, with just a minor glitch. I had planned to take mom to an award winning restaurant of a reputed 5 Star hotel and even made a reservation couple of days ago but when I called to confirm that, there was some confusion at the other end. I don't want to name names and blame anyone, it seems like a serious miscommunication and later on in the evening,they even called back to apologize,so no point of cribbing about that now. But at least yesterday afternoon,I was worried as to where should we go for a nice lunch. My sister had been harping about Barbeque Nation for nearly 3 months,so at the last moment, we just went ahead. Landed at Barbeque Nation, Atria Mall, Worli at 1 PM sharp. Now this mall is almost completely empty,it seems like a ghost mall actually. Just go directly to 4th floor and Barbeque Nation welcomes you on the far right :)
The person at reception counter was very polite and he asked us if we had a reservation. For a moment, my heart sank that maybe all tables are full. But he just went ahead to explain that for new year celebrations,they have a special menu and special rate for the same plus no complimentary drinks. We were fine with that, he confirmed that they had tables available and I was so relieved that I blurted out, 'Thank God, it is my mom's birthday and it would have been so sad if we had to wait or go somewhere else.' We got huge smiles in return with an assurance that there will be no dampening her birthday celebrations. So sweet :)
Walk in to get enveloped into this wafting breeze of barbecuing meats. For those who get nauseous at strong smells of sizzling meat and such, hold your breath for 10-15 seconds and it will be over. The ambiance is very party-like, clean, refined. The tables are set in such a way that everyone has complete privacy. It has a very celebratory feel. Of course, being the whole new-year mood, it was extraordinarily spruced up but otherwise also,I think it would have a funky feel.
We were there for the first time and our server Mr. Sartaj was extremely helpful. He explained to us they would be serving starters on our table, then we could go ahead and have main course and desserts from the buffet. It is an all-you-can-eat buffet and it goes on till you are ready to burst,really :D There is this big coal grill placed in the middle of the table where they bring in all kinds of starters, piping hot and ready to eat. We had Grilled Pineapple, Paneer, Veggies (Tomatoes, Broccoli), Mushrooms and every morsel was simply divine! There are sauces to dip into as well as marinate these starters and grill with to make them even more delicious. There was also Veg Kebabs, Cajun Potatoes, Grilled Corn. In fact,for someone with a small appetite, the starters alone would be enough and they might not even look at the main course :D The quality of starters justifies the price tag alone (ranging from Rs. 650 to 1000 depending on the various days of the week/ special menus/ veg and non veg menus).
Then there was a pretty solid salad station that I loved. It had boiled Pasta which easily turned into delectable gourmet dish by just adding some veggies and a big ladle of full-bodied tomato sauce situated by the side :) Then there was Kimchi, Sauteed Peas, Sprouts, Cucumber-Carrots and my mom's favorite Pineapple & Apple salad.
Main Course had Biryani, Paneer gravy dish, Veg Kofta dish, Sprouts Noodles and we were given Indian Bread Basket at our table and again, every dish was delicious. Well balanced in terms on spices and flavors, not extremely oily or heavy either. Having been fed up of having Veg Pulao in the name of Biryani, it was a pleasant surprise to have some authentic tasting Biryani here! (Read the Biryani fiasco I had at Punjab Grill and you would know what I am talking about :P) While the Biryani at Barbeque Nation is not the one that probably Nawabs had nor does it boast of being that, it is actually much better than what many reputed places serve and definitely not something that people expect in a 'buffet' place. Usually buffet places have a reputation of giving sub-standard main course,but Barbeque Nation has taken care of this. The only grouse-Biryani in many places has this extremely overpowering Kevda essence which my mom detected here too -and I have had this kind of Biryani in some 5 Star places too (so it is not just a problem at Barbeque Nation), so this is something that puts me & my mom off. Otherwise,no other grouse with food :)
If after all this binge-eating, you are thinking of rushing out of here, BEWARE :D There is a huge dessert counter craving for our attention! There are fruits and ice-cream and gulab jamun and pastries and brownie and souffle and a huge Kulfi counter. We took our sweet time relishing each and every thing. I found the phirni a bit bland for my taste but my sister loved it,so it is a matter of personal preference. Apart from that,we all concurred that Fruits were fresh, Pastries were delicious yet light, the Kiwi souffle was like having a cloud burst in our mouth (brilliant!), Brownie was yum and Kulfi kept calling us back. Mango, Chocolate, Malai, Fig, Paan-5 brilliant flavors, 5 brilliant Kulfis, all ready to be personalized with chocolate sauce, rabdi, sabja and a host of other knick knacks. Can't think of a better way to end up in a Food Coma :D
Oh wait, did I tell you what the staff here did as soon as we had finished our main course? They brought out a specially made birthday cake for my mom, started blaring 'Happy Birthday to You' song, gathered around our table, clapped and cheered while she cut the cake :D See now this is something you do not forget in a hurry. Service here is impeccable from the beginning to the end and at par with any 5 Star hotel. Even if the food was not good,I would still go ahead and recommend it to everyone I know just because the staff here deserves all the appreciation in the world. In the end,when I left tip for the ever smiling and super efficient staff, our server Mr. Sartaj returned it immediately saying, 'Ma'am, tip is not allowed, thank you very much'. Need any more reason to go back here again and again? :)
5 Stars for everything ♥♥♥♥♥