Asado, which opens to the public in early February, claims to be Mumbai’s first Latin American restaurant.
It is currently in the process of holding previews and tastings.
The Bengali chef at Asado hasn’t been to South America himself. His training in South American food has apparently happened while working in five-star hotels in Mauritius and Seychelles and then in Bandra’s very own Mexican restaurant, Sancho’s.
We tried a few of the dishes during the previews. The caramelized pork belly salad was undone by slices of pork that were too crisp. The Mexican seafood soup was rather spicy and didn’t really bring out the flavours of the seafood, which had been overcooked.
The Gorgonzola pistachio Parmesan soup was the star of the vegetarian dishes. The counterpoint given by cauliflower mash to the sharp Gorgonzola left one with a pleasantly creamy soup. The baked Parmesan polenta was overpowered by the excessively-sweet fig topping and the vegetable flautas seemed no different from the spring onions served in a local Chinese restaurant.
The highlight of the starters was the kataki pastry prawns which featured juicy prawns encased in a crisp angel hair shell, was served with two contrasting dips of corn puree and a sharp mango salsa.
The two mains of truffle, mushroom fettuccini and edamame and truffle risotto both had strong hits of truffle and were fairly creamy and full-flavoured. The two Italian dishes seemed out of place on the menu but are apparently a tribute to the European migrants to Latin America.
The chicken enchiladas were made with corn-based and not flour-based enchiladas in keeping with the Mexican tradition. They were served with refried beans and a serving of rice which left one with a comfortable feeling.
They plan to import a lot of meats and produce here. The juicy Brazilian tenderloin, cooked on the lava stone grill, is a sign of exciting things to come. The dish is going to be priced at around Rs. 1000 a plate though. Not the sort of pricing that sits well with the casual and crowded tavern-like ambience.
Their desserts need some working on as the churros served were flat and lacked crunch.
Asado would do well to give the origins of the dishes in the menu to build on the Latin American experience.
The novelty factor is likely to create a buzz in Mumbai in the initial days. The product needs more consistency though.
Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.