Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cafe Bean Garu review, Powai, Mumbai

Cafe BeanGaru and Anna Rascalla Potato Wedges!
Cafe BeanGaru is a new “South Indian bistro” that opening in my backyard so it was the first restaurant I hit to review on my return. It shares management with Out of the Blue restaurant, which is slated to open right next door very soon. Their USP is a continental and Udipi fusion in other words a spicy cheesy mess... which needn’t be a bad thing. Fusion does not have to be BAD all the time. In fact I firmly believe that cuisine evolved because man tried different things with food. And we can't stop experimenting, can we? Ok so some things work and others don't bet we won't know till we try will we?

So did Bean Garu pass? Let me share what we ate... and we will total up the bill at the end.

Herbal Ice Tea and Masala Majinga
The Herbal ice tea is a house blend of herbs and spices. Very nice one too. Not like the extremely sugary artificial ice teas out of a packet served at most places.

 We didn't get a picture of it but the Masala Majinga is a south style masala chaas. And very nice too. It had a distinct curry leaf accent that was very appealing.

There was only one option on the menu - Tomato Jeera Rasam (Rs. 50)
My husband and I lived in Hyderabad for a while and have always been Rassam fans and we thought the Rassam had the perfect hit the throat Rassam flavour without being to overwhelming. With the rain coming down outside and wetness in the air. It did hit the spot!
Southern wedges and dips priced at Rs. 55, the menu describes these as southern style potato wedges with dips. 

Conceptually the dish sounded very interesting but was a disappointment in appearance as well as taste. The wedges, looked lost on the big white plate with just curry leaves to Garnish. They were also obviously refried, looked oily and were dry. I was incensed enough by them to come home and create my Anna Rascalla Masala Potato Wedges because I could not believe anyone could go wrong with something so simple.


Plain idly Rs. 45 Slightly overpriced, the idlys were dry and the Sambhar too mild. But since we ordered this for my 3 year old daughter the dryness was the part we were most upset about.
Pesto cheese dosa (Rs. 95) This was basically a dosa with a cheese pesto mix spread on it. A harmless fusion that would be hard to go wrong with, it was crisp, herby and went down very well although it wasn’t an earth shattering food moment.  
We missed getting a picture of this one too somehow but the name Butter herb idly (Rs 65) suggested fluffy idlys garnished with a herb seasoned butter. Well the name tells you nothing of what you actually eat. What we got was idlys pan fried in butter that had oodles of oregano sautéed in it (it usually also has chillies but they did it without the chillies so our kids would eat them too). And they were absolutely delicious! The idlys had crisped up from the sautéing and crusted in buttery crisp oregano and the oregano and butter came together with the inherent sourness of the idly to deliver an almost umami flavour. I really liked this one BUT the dish is too much for one person to eat as a main. I would recommend ordering it and sharing it as a starter.   
Creamy Chettinadu curry (Rs. 135) (a gravy dish cooked with chettinadu spices Served with crisps and bean garu pickle and Sponge Dosa) This was excellent, bitesized chunks of vegetables were cooked to tender but crunchy deliciousness in a mildly spiced coconut flecked creamy gravy that paired beautifully with the sponge dosas that were a discovery for us. These soft and spongy dosas also called Attukula dosas are light and soft in the center with a slight crisp along the edges, simple yet delicious and perfect to soak up the creamy Chettinadu gravy. (I am told rice, beaten rice flakes (poha/attukulu) and fenugreek seeds are soaked in sour buttermilk overnight, ground to a smooth paste, and cooked by ladling batter onto a hot tava and letting it spread out undisturbed. It is then covered with lid and cooked to its soft, spongy texture.
Malabari Risotto (Rs 110 (Cooked with cashew nut, coconut gravy, and cheese) Served with crisps and bean garu pickle. This was rice cooked in a coconut vegetable gravy, that was topped with a generous layer of chees and grilled. It was one of those dishes that is just DISGUSTINGLY delicious. I would do a Matt Preston and break the dish so I did not have to share it!
Nutella chocolate dosa              Rs. 85/- (Roasted coconut & hazel nut stuffed rice pancakes) The restauranters sent this one over complimentary because they figured out I was reviewing the restaurant (thems the break of flashing a camera!). When it arrived, I told my husband that it is hard to go wrong with anything if you add chocolate to it but on trying it, it was very good again the crisp paper thin dosa carried the nutella very well.  

Now for our two bits on the whole. The ambience was neat, clean with a few quirky touches like Banboo accents and chairs with twine tied around them. The menu was still not final they need to rework combinations with a few tweaks (they do some really lovely pachadis (chutneys) but these are paired all wrong. I would not serve a coconut chutney with the wedges and the absolutely fabulous green mango chutney was lost with the dish it was served with. They also urgently need to finalise the menu. It also needs rewriting DESPERATELY. The existing dish descriptions do no justice to some great food, the Herb idlys and ‘risotto’ being cases in point. When I am ordering offbeat food, I want to know what I am eating and the naming that fab dish a risotto was just misleading.  Pricing somewhat arbid and on the higher side compared to an Udipi especially in the case of the normal Dosas idlys.

TOTAL BILL - Dishes we will go back for: Certainly not for the normal stuff which we felt was under quality and overpriced. What we will go back for are the Masalla Majinga, Tomato Jeera Rasam, Butter herb idly, Creamy Chettinadu curry and the Malabari Risotto. And our mini critics have asked me to specify that they would go back for the following - Aman (9yrs) – Pesto Cheese Dosa and Chocolate Dosa, Natasha (3.5 yrs) Banana Chips and Chocolate dosa!
GYAN and info
Cafe Bean Garu, Level 1, Haiko Mall, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, call 40153258, Rs 400 – 500 for a meal for two.


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Meenakshi said...

Ever since Sankalp shut down Powai has needed a nice South Indian joint. Must try the Malabari risotto! And anything with Nutella is good in my books :)