Mumbai's best new restaurants of 2011

Mumbai's best new restaurants of 2011

These 10 eating establishments are worth braving traffic for

With inputs from France, Britain and Belgium, Mumbai’s culinary scene grew even more cosmopolitan in 2011. We even got back a sadly missed restaurant space on the beach.

Here goes with a round-up of the best new restaurants of the year.

The Table, Colaba

The TableThe Table joins Indigo Deli and Le Pain Quotidien to make up South Mumbai's restaurant row, a little stretch of road from Regal cinema roundabout towards the Taj. One of the biggest culinary hits of 2011, The Table is reminiscent of a fancy jazz club, complete with black-and-white floors, green velvet armchairs and sparkling cocktails.

Manned by San Franciscan expat chef Alex Sanchez, the kitchen is as impressive as the decor, sending out French-American dishes like lobster sliders, quesadillas with green pea guacamole and the prettiest beet and mascarpone risotto in the city.

The Table has recently added Sunday brunch, a high tea service and daily cocktail hours -- when the drinks are wincingly expensive.

Still, if there’s one place you should drop Rs 1,000 for a cocktail, this is it.

G/F, Hotel Suba Palace, next to Indigo Deli, Colaba; +91 (0)22 2282 5002

Hakkasan and Yauatcha, Bandra

YauatchaYauatcha, Hakkasan's younger sister in Bandra Kurla Complex. These Michelin-starred sister restaurants from London arrived on our shores this year, bringing with them great dim sum, silky soups and sexy spaces.

Hakkasan is the fancier of the two, offering diners whole Peking duck in a lush, dimly lit room and ginger martinis across a long blue bar.

Yauatcha is younger and hipper, with wide windows letting in natural light, a larger dim sum menu (try grilled Shanghai dumplings and duck rolls) and a selection of the best macaroons in Mumbai.

Both places will burn a big hole in your pocket, so prepare to splurge.

Hakkasan, Krystal Building, Waterfield Road, next to Chemistry, Bandra (W); +91 (0)22 2644 4444; www.hakkasan.com/mumbai

Yauatcha, Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex; +91 (0)22 2644 8888

Smoke House Deli, Lower Parel

Smoke House Deli"Our menu is about hearty, yet healthy portions created to satiate all-day hunger pangs," says chef and manager Glyston Gracias. Restaurateur Riyaaz Amlani’s latest offering, Smoke House Deli has to be one of Mumbai's cheeriest, brightest, prettiest places to eat.

Here, everything from walls and sugar jars to telephones and gramophones seem to have been doodled upon by a crazy artist with an exceptional eye for detail.

Once you’re done marveling at the sketches, turn your attention to the predominantly salad-and-sandwich deli menu including grape and brie salad, soft scrambled eggs folded into a warm croissant and a burly beef burger.

Pair these with a fresh kiwi and mandarin mojitos or a glass of chilled Chardonnay.

C-90G, High Street Phoenix, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel; +91 (0)22 6561 9618

Neel, Mahalaxmi Race Course

NeelTote on the turf got a major menu makeover in the summer of 2011 and became Neel. After a slew of successful European restaurants which started with Indigo, Rahul Akerkar returns to his Indian roots with Neel, which literally means indigo in Hindi.

Opened in place of Tote on the turf at the Mahalaxmi Race Course, Neel retains the fairyland interiors (slender white trees, twinkling lights) of its predecessor, but overhauls the menu completely, focusing on Nawabi cuisine from Hyderabad, Kashmir and Lucknow.

Hyderabadi fish and whole lambs make appearances, along with chicken tikka and biryani.

Akerkar gives these commonplace dishes a new twist though, serving them alongside pineapple chutney, orange soup and even mildly spiced apple curry.

Mahalaxmi Race Course, opposite gate 5 and 6, Keshvrao Khadye Marg, Mahalaxmi; +91 (0)22 6157 7777

Suzette, Nariman Point

SuzetteSuzette is garnering new fans every day, and not only in its neighborhood. Featuring delish crepes, quirky decor and super friendly (and good looking) French owners, this tiny creperie is many kinds of adorable.

One of the few dining options in Mumbai’s corporate district, it is also crazy busy for lunch, so we suggest you visit during off-hours or prepare to wait.

Once seated, you can take in moody photographs from Paris, browse through an eclectic collection of French novels and order from a drool-worthy menu of smoothies, salads and of course, crepes.

Pay special attention to the Nicoise salad, Complet crepes (with chicken bacon, Emmenthal cheese and egg yolk) and superlative chocolate mousse.

Unfortunately Suzette serves no alcohol, but comfort yourself with Mariage Frères tea, fresh fruit smoothies or rich hot chocolate.

G/F, Atlanta Building, Nariman Point; +91 (0)22 2288 0055; www.suzette.in

Le Mill Café, Wadi Bunder

Le Mill CafeA lifestyle concept store and café housed in a converted rice mill.Redolent with smells from freshly brewed coffee and the fancy flower stand next door, Le Mill Café is a good place to rest your feet after trekking through the humongous former rice mill which houses the café and a high-end home and fashion store.

Furnished with artfully mismatched chairs and equipped with free Wi-Fi, the mostly-organic café serves a refreshing lamb and pomegranate salad, an airy spinach gnocchi, juicy chicken pesto subs and a range of tea and coffee.

A little out of the city center, granted, but definitely worth the trip.

17-25 Nandlal Jani Road, next to new railway bridge, Wadi Bunder; +91 (0)22 2374 2415; www.lemill.in

Le Pain Quotidien, Colaba

Le Pain QuotidienLe Pain Quotidien opened its 151st global branch in Mumbai this year.The popular Belgian bakery invites Mumbai to its communal table, opening earlier this year on one of the most gastronomically rich streets in the city alongside Indigo Deli, The Table, Moshe Café and the Taj Mahal Palace and Hotel).

But with mellow wood and stone interiors that adhere closely to those of international branches and world class breads and pastries, LPQ manages to hold its own.

Visit for lunch and feast on tartines topped with ricotta and asparagus or red bean and hummus, best washed down with a glass of yummy sangria; or pick from the pastry counter showcasing baguette spears, creamy éclairs, flaky chocolate croissants and our favorite -- a warm brioche.

Dhanraj Mahal, opposite Indigo Deli, Colaba; +91 (0)22 6615 0202; www.lepainquotidien.in

More on CNNGo: Le Pain Quotidien opens branch 151 in Mumbai

 

Café by the Beach, Chowpatty

Café by the BeachCafé by the Beach replaces the much-loved Salt Water Grill.The year's most recent delivery, Café by the Beach, was launched in December at the Marine Drive seaside location where the much-loved Salt Water Grill once stood.

With the sand at your feet and the sun in your eyes, you can spend a cozy lunch here made of juicy tomato and mozzarella wraps and open-faced sandwiches, while slurping on a thick chocolate milkshake.

The idyllic setting comes with its drawbacks though: because it’s built on public property, Café by the Beach cannot run a fully fledged kitchen or serve alcohol.

That means making do with uncooked foods like fresh prosciutto and brie sandwiches, virgin pina coladas and uninterrupted views of the ocean.

Near Mafatlal Club, Seashore Beach, Girgaum, Chowpatty; +91 77383 87938

Amadeus, Nariman Point

AmadeusFind Amadeus inside the compound of Mumbai's most prestigious arts and culture center.Of pan-Asian restaurant Joss fame, Chef Farrokh Khambatta’s latest venture Amadeus is a full-sized restaurant specializing in Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine.

Adding to the eye candy are photos of flamenco dancers and black-and-white images of performers like Zubin Mehta and Zakir Hussain, as well as a whimsical garden bar.

Remember to order a portion of cocas, flat breads topped with Serrano ham and ash chevre, along with spiced garlic prawns and meaty paella; end with outrageously sinful chocolate soufflé.

Though Amadeus is inside the compound of Mumbai's most prestigious arts and culture center, the NCPA, it is irritatingly not open around 7:30 p.m. when the shows start. A shame, because a pre-show cocktail place is just what this city needs.

The National Center of Performing Arts (NCPA), NCPA Marg, Nariman Point; +91 (0)22 2282 4242; www.amadeusrestaurant.in

Silver Beach Café, Juhu

Silver Beach CafeSilver Beach Café is a cozy dinner spot on a sweet old street in Juhu.There aren’t any beaches, silver or otherwise, in sight, but Silver Beach Café makes the most of its surroundings with floor-to-ceiling windows that make the quaint, quiet street part of the decor.

Add to this a wooden ceiling, pretty hanging lights, spindly chairs and you have the perfect spot for a cozy dinner.

From the menu we recommend Moroccan kebabs doused in plummy sauce, wafer-thin pizzas and a dense hazelnut gateau.

Jaldarshan Building, near Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple, Gandhigram Road, Juhu; +91 (0)22 2620 8930

Inputs by Shreya Shanbhag

Kanika and Mansi are the co-founders of Brown Paper Bag, a Mumbai lifestyle website.

Read more about Kanika Parab and Mansi Poddar