Phone: +91 8657531988 / +91 8657531989
Address: 3rd Floor, 462, Palladium, High Street Phoenix, Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra India
Time: 12 Noon – 12 Midnight
Meals for two: Rs. 1,900
Cuisines: North Indian, Modern Indian
Facilities: Serves Non Veg, Full Bar Available, Indoor Seating, Smoking Area, Free Wifi
Celebration time! This is the most significant modern Indian restaurant opening this year. We dined in Ishaara a few days after it opened and came away feeling a happy high (they did not have an alcohol license then). We went back for a second checkout a month later, and once again, it was equally good (by now they had their alcohol license). For checking this caliber of restaurant and to do serious systematic eating requires a companion GMG (Great Mercurial Gourmet) Anil C Kilachand, who not only has gourmet genes, cooks deftly but also expresses his opinion (mainly critical ones) loudly. As he has done many a time on earlier restaurant checkouts with me. His charming wife Indira quietly gives her vegetarian take on the menu. Our review follows.
Ishaara, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Decor
Perched on the third floor of the gleaming Palladium, the plant filled L-shaped room with its cane chairs and banana trees is a pleasant surprise. Minnie Bhatt has recreated a conservatory feel with great skill.
Ishaara, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Service
What you see in the photograph is a demonstration of how the hearing and speech impaired staff (in dark green T-shirts) abetted by managers and owners communicate with the diner. It is no gimmick. There is a warm, fun, friendly vibe.
Ishaara, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Food
Ishaara goes straight for the gut (with an interesting section of crunchy, tangy, knockout chaat — the best dahi puri, `150 in Mumbai). It serves up exquisite subtlety (bruleed shakarkandi languorous on a silken bed of dahi). It is proudly carnivorous — be it the velvety pounded mutton dori kabab sensuously wrapped around a rod, the raan rapturous marinated succulence or the Dindigul biryani, fragrant yet with hammering notes of masala, and ditto for the mutton ghotala. Ishaara is equally resolutely vegetarian, too… patrani mushroom, superb dal haveli to jackfruit biryani. Chef Dipesh Shinde ensures the seafood is equally flavorful, be it the mellow John Dory Moilee or the salmon tikka spiked with dill. Intensely chocolaty moist, flourless brownie highly recommended.
Ishaara, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Minus Points
The menu seems to be oblivious to the dividing line between welcome extravagance and confusing excess. And includes some dishes just to ensure geographical coverage. Though a lot of the vegetarian dishes are good, many falter, stodgy sago red cabbage, over spicy beetroot papad seekh. The desserts are not on par with the rest of the menu.
Ishaara, Lower Parel, Mumbai: My Point
I owe a responsibility to you, my dear reader, and I take it very seriously. Having studied journalism and studies in higher gastronomy in Paris, I’ve also been regularly going on restaurant reviews with many an international critic. True! I will, as a matter of policy, never express my views in a nasty manner, being empathetic to the fact that other than money, there is an investment of dreams into each new restaurant, too. But I will always speak my mind honestly, rate the restaurant accordingly, and make it abundantly clear if the restaurant is not worth going to. So, before pronouncing Ishaara a must-visit, landmark opening, I checked it systematically for consistency (dining unannounced twice and paying my bills). Checkpoints: Are the ingredients fresh? Is authenticity and innovation balanced in the food? Taste? Texture? Presentation? Is the service attentive without being obtrusive and obsequious? The ambiance pleasant, not overpowering and conducive to a pleasant meal with conversation? The priée points? Good value? Finally, and most importantly, will we go back? In the case of Ishaara, the answer to all the above questions is a resounding positive one. Ishaara, powered by the admirable dream team of Prashant Issar, Anuj Shah and Riyaaz G C Amlani (game changer), Chef Dipesh Shinde serves up a taste-good, feelgood and must-visit experience. Sign and dine comes of age!
Note: The full menu is served from noon to midnight.