Cecconi’s at Soho House, Mumbai

Juhu’s Soho House is a members-only sea-facing property that’s caught the attention of the who’s who of society. If you aren’t a member, though, there are still limited areas of the club that you can access. For one – the ground floor Italian restaurant, Cecconi’s.

 

 

A pretty al fresco area makes full use of the beach view – we immediately wish we could have lunch here too, but at the moment, it’s only open from 6 pm. Sundays are the exception, when a lively brunch, priced competitively at Rs 2,500, has become a big hit.

 

 

The a la carte menu is very well priced as well, and has lots to pick from. We left our ordering to the chef, who sent us tasting portions of several bestsellers and specialties.

To begin with, the Calamari Fritti is addictive. The batter is crisp, thin enough, and the calamari cooked just right. It pairs wells with the accompanying lemon aioli. The other dish, a Betroot Tartare, pales in comparison – it’s low on flavour and skippable. The same is the case with both the pastas – Tonnarelli Cacio & Pepe and Pappardelle Lamb Bolognese. They are cooked well and the portions are great, but a little more flavour would definitely make them worth repeat orders.

Thankfully, things pick up from there. The wood-fired pizza – we get the in-house favourite black truffle, wild mushroom, taleggio – is phenomenal. We’d eat it every day if we could. From the perfect crust to the subtle, balanced flavours, Cecconi’s gets this one spot-on. Lamb Chops are another beautiful dish, in terms of presentation as well as flavour. The accompaniments include potatoes and a luscious sauce with hints of lemon and rosemary. 

 

 

It’s worth saving space for desserts as well. The portion of Tiramisu is very generous. Thank God for that, because we would’ve had to order several portions to feel satiated. Also impressive is a portion of Profiteroles served with a beautiful pistachio ice cream that serves as a great end to our meal.

 

 

We’ll definitely be back at Cecconi’s for several reasons – sunset cocktails, the view and the truffle pizza, of course.

 

Set lunch at Koko, Mumbai

The Lower Parel-based Asian fine dine is a party favourite and is perennially packed for dinner. Now, they’ve got a superb way to cash in on lunch guests as well. It’s a great idea – because the area is chock-a-block with office-goers who love stepping out for lunch.

 Their new set menu – at Rs 900 for vegetarians and Rs 1,000 for non-vegetarians – is more than bang for your buck. The options are limited at the moment, but monthly changes are expected, and for the moment, we’re happy with what we see.

A meal for one includes soup, salad, two pieces each of sushi and dim sum, a main dish, fruits and a small serving of the dessert of the day. If this isn’t value for money, we don’t know what is.

 

Our selections are Hoisin Duck Rice and the Cantonese Tenderloin Rice Bowl. The pretty maroon stackable bowls deserve mention – they’re a good change from the usual bento boxes associated with Asian set menus, and placing them one atop another lets the dishes retain their heat while you finish the initial courses.

 

Soya Bean Fragrant Rice

 

Miso Soup is wonderfully comforting; the house salad comes with a little too much dressing, but the fresh veggies are enjoyable nonetheless. Koko’s sushi and dim sum have both been longstanding favourites of ours, so despite there being only two pieces each, they add welcome variety to the meal.

The mains are the only area where we see scope for improvement. That’s not to say we’re disappointed – we just expect a far higher standard from Koko. The Hoisin Duck Rice is fairly bland by itself, and needs far more of the sauce since it’s too dry as is. The tenderloin – with accompanying edamamer, bokchoy and oyster sauce – fares a little better, but again, we’d be far more kicked about more flavourful choices for main course.

 

Hainanese Chicken Rice

 

Finally, a serving of really sweet fruits (we’re assured there’s no added sugar) leads into a bite-sized portion of chocolate cake – moist, gooey and decadent.

We can’t wait for Koko to shake things up with the menu, especially with the main course offerings, and needless to say, we’ll be a regular fixture here at lunchtime.