Is this New Restaurant the Reincarnation of Taj Mumbai’s Iconic Zodiac Grill ?

Opened in the late 80’s, the Zodiac Grill at the Taj Palace in Mumbai, has always been one of the most iconic restaurants in the city. Visiting this beautiful place had always been a childhood dream for me that sadly will never be complete as the Zodiac Grill shut down a couple of years ago. You could imagine the excitement I had when I learnt that the Executive Chef of the Zodiac Grill and Taj Palace, Hemant Oberoi has opened a new restaurant in Mumbai. Named after the famous chef himself, Hemant Oberoi at BKC is another Luxury Fine Dine Restaurant to open up in Suburban Mumbai.

The ambiance here is modern and fresh, the high ceilings and huge glass windows make this place seem even more luxurious. The warm lighting and wooden walls too adds to that feeling of luxury.

The service here was exceptional and one of the best I have come across, the staff was polite and friendly to speak to, their knowledge about the dishes were spot on and mostly their attention to detail while the placed the dishes and cutlery was impressive.

So this place has the perfect Service, Ambiance and Backstory but does the food match up to it? Yes, it surely does. We started off with a palate cleansing Amuse Bouche. Perushi – Japanese Sushi with Peruvian flavors served with Pickled Ginger. Spicy and delicious, perfect way to cleanse your palate and prepare yourself for the treat that is to follow!

Drinks : Elder-flower Vintail and Barman’s Special.

The Vintail was by far one of the best wine based cocktails I have had, extremely aromatic and flavorful, just a sip of it is enough to tease your senses, the Barman’s special on the other hand was a Campari based cocktail that was exotic in taste and very refreshing. However, the Vintail is a must-try! Strongly Recommended!

Soups : Warm Leeks Cusco Mountain Potato Soup and Chilled Melon Gazpacho with Coconut Snow.

The potato soup was heavenly, very flavorful and served at the right temperature. The creamy texture makes it even better, again one of the best soups I have had and almost at par with the Lobster Bisque from Indigo Colaba which is my most favorite. The Gazpacho is quite unique because unlike other soups, it is served cold.

Appetizer : Brie and Truffle Souffle

Finally the dish we were all waiting for, chef Hemant’s signature dish inspired from the Camembert Dariole served at the Zodiac Grill. I loved the way this dish was served with theatrical synchronization, something hard to describe in words. Speaking of which, after all the theatrics, when you finally take that knife to cut into this dish you realize how tender it is. Almost like cutting into candy floss, I truly fall short on words to describe the texture. The taste was equally amazing, sweet, salty, savory, smoky, cheesy, spicy and creamy all at once! It would be a sin to not try this dish!

Main Course : Po Hai Ho Chili Red Snapper with Prawns Spinach and Orzo.

Another beautifully presented dish that tastes amazing, the spinach perfectly complemented the seafood. While the dish might look tiny, it is quite filling. Worth trying out as well.

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The other main Courses here were Slow Cooked Lamb Shank, Pollo Brassa Chicken, Three Mushroom Ravioli and the Asparagus Risotto, which were equally amazing, the lamb being the best of the lot.

Desserts : Valrhona Mille-Feuille, Chocolate Shawarma and Rose Petal Ice Cream.

The mille feuille looked fantastic and tasted good too, on the other hand, the shawarma was very messy and almost unappetizing to look at but tasted out of this world, even better than the mille-feuille. The warm chocolate with its strong flavor and soft texture was to die for, worth trying! Finally the Rose Ice cream was the perfect way to end this meal, strong gulkhand like flavor with a mild creamy texture, this was one of the best Indian flavored Ice creams I have had.

While my dream to visit the Zodiac Grill might never come true, I was quite impressed with chef Hemant Oberoi’s new restaurant and I can only wonder what the grill must have been like in its glory days.

  • Location : Ground Floor, Jet Airways Godrej Building, Bandra Kurla Complex.

  • Cuisine : A mix of European, Middle Eastern, Continental and Asian.

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.7500 (approx)

Hemant Oberoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Local Mumbai Food at a 5 Star Hotel ?

When was the last time you dropped by one of our city’s 5 star hotels to have a plate of Pani Puri or Bhurji Pav? Well this was my first time trying out local street food combined the magnificent ambiance of Hotel Sahara Star.

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So does local food taste better when cooked with utmost hygiene and served to you at a table with the most amazing view of Sahara Star’s interiors ? Honestly it tastes the same as it would outside any railway station but the experience here is unmatched! The restaurant Earth Plate is located one floor below ground and hence has an amazing view of the rest of this uniquely designed hotel. The ambiance here is almost sinfully relaxing, right from the lobby to the smoking room, this place is coated in luxury!

 

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Coming to the main attraction, the food! “The Mumbai Local Street Food Festival” was a limited time add-on to their usual buffet. The street food counters were designed to look like local vendors with a touch of cleanliness of-course!

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We began with a round of Kheema and Bhurji Pav, they had different varieties of Chicken and Mutton Kheema, all of them were perfectly cooked and very delicious, just as you would expect at a street-side vendor. Next we had a round of kebabs and tried a piece of each, again they were up to the mark both with taste and texture.

Next we came to their Chinese counter and since they had only one Chicken dish, we stuck to it and skipped the rest. And yes that Chicken Dish was Chicken Lollipop, the best chicken lollipop I have ever had, perfectly soft drumsticks and the most amazing Schezwan Sauce. We had to go for a second round. The best dish of the day!

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We then came to their Chicken Pizza and Chicken Roll, sadly these dishes didn’t impress me, they were very average in taste compared to the rest of the food.

Last but not the least we had to have a plate of Pani Puri and yes it was amazing, Ice Cold Pani Puri inside a 5 Star Hotel! Worth trying out!

 

After finishing with their special street food dishes, we tried out their regular buffet, starting with salad and fruits along with some of their breads. The salad was good but their collection of breads didn’t taste very fresh.

For mains we had Mutton Soup with Mutton Biryani, Mutton Rogan Josh and Butter Chicken, again the meats were cooked to perfection and their gravies were spiced deliciously. The Mutton Rogan Josh was my favorite of the lot.

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Finally time for desserts or should I say, the second main course as there were so many things to try out. Luckily their staff had given me a round of all their courses and I had saved up space for desserts. Good Decision! Apart from their usual desserts section they even had a counter for Kulfi Falooda and Rabdi Jalebi as a part of their Street food festival, sadly the kulfi was very average and the jalebi was burnt but I was not sad at all as I had a hundred other things to try out from their regular dessert section which were amazing!

Lastly their mocktails section, just like their food, I had mixed reviews about their drinks. Maybe it had to do with their bartender who made the most amazing glass of Pinacolada for us but then he moved to the cocktail bar and the new guy only offered us drinks made with Monin syrup which I found quite ridiculous so we stuck to regular aerated drinks.

Overall my experience here was one of a kind, Earth Plate did prove to me that local food and fine dine can surely go hand in hand. I would surely recommend this place to anyone visiting Mumbai with an interest in trying out local food.

  • Location : Hotel Sahara Star, Opposite Domestic Airport, Vile Parle East.

  • Cuisine : Indian (I feel it keeps changing)

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.5000 (approx)

The Earth Plate - Sahara Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato