With Athena and Tetsuma there in the past, I entered The Pier, in Colaba, not knowing what to expect.
The décor was subtle and understated, but the blue leather seating did not appeal to me. Was somehow reminiscent of a railway berth and marred the ambience of the otherwise chic, fine dining restaurant. Absolutely incongruous.
Samir Chhabria, the owner, was prompt in joining us and regaled us all evening about his vision, mission and dining experiences. The place has apparently not been officially launched. Yet, seems to be doing decent business for dinner. (It is not open for lunch yet)
The food appeals to your eyes immediately as the plating is picture perfect. One look at the menu and there is a feeling of déjà vu. The dishes are typical. Classics yes, some of them, hence have to be there on an European food place menu, but somehow the Indigo hangover is apparent. Samir states that he is not competing with the Indigos and the Olives. But, he does admit he has worked at Indigo.
The menu is limited but caters to all- vegetarians, egg lovers and voracious meat eaters. My pumpkin soup is delightful. Have had great ones earlier and this one matches upto most of them. The mushroom cappuccino my companion orders is also a palate pleaser.
The white quinoa tabouli salad is refreshing in summer and has a myriad flavours. The sesame seeds rubbed tuna with watercress and melons did not wow me. A bit on the lines of sushi, it did not excite my palate at all. The texture of the tuna was not right.
The pan seared rawas was average, nothing to write home about. The jerk chicken with red bean rice was stimulating. The pairing was perfect and although it did not seem too exciting when served, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The house fries served alongside though, were a bit inadequate. The pricing is absolutely value for money as the portions are quite generous.
Red Oyster, Breast Pork Belly, Grilled Australian Lamb Chops, were other options for non vegetarians.
The cappuccino soufflé with Kahlua sauce was comforting, while the Tiramisu did not live upto my expectations. It was too sweet and heavy and one could not really get the real flavours. The savoiardi cookies too were negligible. The extra biscotti served along could not salvage the situation.
The bar is elegant and the bar menu is exhaustive serving over 50 wines, a range of premium spirits and specially created exotic cocktails. Got to go back for the in house liqueurs, Samir kept urging us to try.
I personally feel, that instead of trying to recreate the experience of “other” fine-dining restaurants, The Pier needs to carve out its own niche and identity, which I am sure it will.