Wow, let me just gather my thoughts here and then I will decide how to proceed. I can’t decide what I want to talk about first; the food or the ambience or the service. Logically it should be ambience followed by food and then service. So just to be contrary this time let me start with service and follow it up with ambience and then the food.
Today was ‘family’s day out’ and we were looking for great Indian food for lunch. After looking at Zomato ratings it was decided we will go to ‘Mirchi and Mime’. They have a near impossible rating (of 4.9/5) and the menu read really well. And the cherry on the cake was that the restaurant is right on the road and the ground floor hence the perfect choice when accompanied by elderly parents who don’t like to walk a lot after alighting from the car.
So as I said I will start with the service. As most of us know by now the restaurant employs differently abled people. They are people with speech and hearing impairments. And they have turned this different-ability so beautifully into a service advantage. Haven’t we all been to restaurants were we have had to struggle to get our server’s attention and have managed to do so only a split second before out of sheer frustration we were about to hiss out ‘Excuse me’. Here at Mirchi & Mime no matter how busy the servers are someone is always keeping an eye on the guest tables and they are with you in a matter of seconds from the time you lift your head out of your plate to start looking around for them. So full marks to them for their service and it is a refreshing change as I feel the service standard across the board has been going down for some time. Our server was Vishal and he took great care of us, smiling throughout the service. That’s the other good thing, the servers actually smile and they seemed to be happy. When you looked around the restaurant you saw these guys smiling like they were having a good time. In other restaurants you see servers just going about their work and it doesn’t seem that they take pleasure in their work. I understand it’s just a job for them but hey, this is hospitality industry, so smile otherwise I might just have gone to a bank to have the food.
Now let’s move on to the ambience. The restaurant is in a nice shady (the tree shady kind) part of Hiranandani Powai. There is outside seating too. This size ‘XL’ restaurant has an open floor plan and is all about rustic colors; brown, creams, ochres, copper. With sofa and chair seating around wooden tables it gives a warm feeling to the whole place. Once you enter, the right side of the restaurant has been given over to a bar and a dining area where the walls are covered with old cooking baubles very neatly framed or un-framed and the right side which is full of windows has been covered with recipes on yellowed pages; all in all well done interiors. And the best part was that they had the temperature set perfectly; neither hot nor cold; the kids weren’t shivering and we weren’t sweating and all of us were free to enjoy the meal without trying to get the kids into jackets or fanning ourselves.
Now we come to the most important part. The food. As the owners say – after my visit to Madeira and Mime had read up on them – that this is a business after all. It cannot succeed on ambience or service alone. The food has to click. Well guys it does click. The menu is not extensive – and in a way it is good coz at times an extensive menu becomes confusing – but whatever is on there is yum….
We started with amritsari chicken caeser salad and masala chicken soup.
The salad has a nice Indian twist to it. It has chana dal and fried green peas which add crunch to the salad and the amritsari chicken was just perfect. The only thing that would have made this dish truly perfect was a little bit of dressing, as the salad felt wee-bit dry.
The chicken masala soup was creamy and hot and spicy. It looked rather innocent but packed a punch in every slurp.
For starters we had jumbo prawn, amritsari fish tikka, tava kheema ghotala with pao, truffle and paneer bhurji tacos.
The jumbo prawn was simply awesome or so I was told by my son and husband. I had a bite but since I am not a prawn fan I cannot do justice to the dish. So I will defer to their opinion and confirm that the dish was superb.
The amritsari fish tikka was very good; mildly spiced no fishy smell and so fresh that it was breaking apart even as we tried to fork it into our mouth.
Tava kheema ghotala was my ABSOLUTE favourite. My father used to love kheeema and as a child I was obsessed with all things he loved, so needless to say I fell in love with kheema too. And believe me, I order it at almost every restaurant I visit if it is on the menu. I must have been to 100s of restaurants over the years but only a couple of places have managed to live up to my lofty standard as far as kheema is concerned. Now Mirchi and Mime is the latest entrant in that very short list. The pao was fresh and amazingly soft.
Amongst starters the only average dish was the truffle and paneer bhurji tacos. It too had been Indian-ised. The taco reminded me of the namkeen puris mom used to make while travelling. The filling was ok.
For main course it was ghee dal, southall saag paneer, tariwala chicken.
The dal and the paneer were nice; as I was informed by the other members of the family (by this time my stomach and my soul were in gastronomic heaven, thanks to the kheema and there was no way I was going to eat veg and whatever little space I had left I was saving it for the dessert).
Then came the tariwala chicken served in a small cooker; so cute. It looked yum, but as I mentioned there was no way I could eat anything more so I passed it to my husband and only after his forceful insistence that it was yummy did I try one bite. Normally he isn’t insistently insistent about anything. So I willed my stomach to make some room and took one bite. It was good, but to be fair to the chicken it came up short as it was competing against kheema and there was no way kheema was losing that day.
For desserts it was eaton mess and coconut bakewell tart with vanilla ice-cream.
The eaton mess looked messy and didn’t inspire me to try a bite, though my son loved it.
The coconut bakewell tart with ice-cream was ok. It was too granular for my taste and I would have preferred more coconut in it. The ice-cream was good.
For drinks we choose lemon iced tea, mirchi & orange – minus the mirchi – so in effect it was only an orange juice for dad and café latte.
The lemon iced tea was peeerrrrrfect. No need for any addition or deletion.
My only recommendation : please have a selection of juices (preferably fresh) for the elderly or even for someone who just doesn’t want to have something fancy.
PS : Please make sure you book a table in advance, preferably a day or two prior. And every time you have kheema ghotala remember me.
Had visited their sister concern ‘Madeira & Mime’ some time back. Read that review here –