Aqaba at Lower Parel’s fashionable corporate address, Peninsula Business Park is any gourmet’s delight. A sprawling, 3000 sq. ft. restaurant with 1000 sq. ft. al fresco section, high ceilings and elegant décor, this restaurant is named after the quaint and picturesque coastal city in Jordan.
Aqaba’s menu, both all day dining and the Aqaba specialty menu, is an amalgamation of dishes from Greece, Turkey and Lebanon with provincial specialties from Southern Italy, Spain and Northern Africa. Fairly exhaustive, it is an exercise in choices, given the variety.
The outdoor al fresco section (currently not operational owing to the Monsoons) offering world cuisine overlooks lush lawns and provides a peaceful sanctuary throughout the day to its patrons. At sunset, the space gradually morphs into a lively tapas bar. I cannot wait to experience that.
Tropical, the pineapple juice based drink with a hint of banana and lemon was refreshing and unique. An interesting blend of flavours and not cloyingly sweet.
Soup Harrira, was a simple, flavoursome Moroccan soup, with a lentil base and lamb pieces. Nourishing and nutritious. Loved it. The presentation was equally a fest for the eyes.
Our Spinach Roca salad cam next but was a bit disappointing as the quantity of goat cheese was highly inadequate. That in fact lead to the bitterness of the leaves in the salad getting accentuated.
The elaborate Mezze platter with six varieties more than made up for the salad. Shish touk the flame grilled chicken skewers were well-marinated. Samak Meswi, the grouper fillets grilled to perfection and served with tomato, preserved lime and garlic were mouth-watering. The fish was of a flawless texture, not disintegrating as in some places it does. But the highlight of the platter undisputedly was the lamb dolma. Grapevine leaves stuffed with rice, lamb, nuts, mint and garlic, steamed and served with a lip-smacking dip. I could satiate myself with these alone. The garlic tzatziki had the right consistency and ingredients and was one of the nicer ones I have tasted.
By now, our palates had been sufficiently wowed and could only get better, I was certain. And it did. Kotopoulo Stifado aka cinnamon flavoured chicken stew with mushrooms, potatoes, olives, tomatoes, onions served with an Aqaba pilaf was heavenly. Its aroma filled my nostrils as it arrived on the table. A spoonful of it and we were transported into another world. Absolutely delicious.
The food at Aqaba surpassed my expectations and the service was flawless too. I only felt that the food its great quality notwithstanding was a wee bit overpriced and thus not exactly value for money. Especially the Kotopoulo Stifado. The quantity was not extraordinary, neither the ingredients exotic, to merit that kind of a price.
We rounded off our meal aptly with a rose petal ice cream(again tiny, half scoops, albeit three) served with honey, pistachios and Cointreau(negligible Cointreau taste n flavour)
Overall, an enjoyable dining experience and Aqaba is definitely going to be the first choice of many a gourmand in Mumbai and visitors alike. Me included!