Address: Amadeus, NCPA , Gate No. 2, Nariman Point, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400021 India
Time: 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 2,500
Cuisines: Thai, Malaysian
Facilities: Full Bar Available, Outdoor Seating
It’s a mystery. Why does Mumbai have such few Thai restaurants? And this, in spite of the fact that we (most of us at least) get high on Thai (food of course, and massages, too). So, at the end of last year, when Nariman Point started bristling with the sweet heat of Thailand and Izaya opened, it was time to rejoice.
Izaya, Nariman Point, Mumbai: Twice As Nice
I booked in a fake name and dined here a couple of days ago. And when it had just opened, I popped in with a half a dozen brilliant achievers and globetrotting foodies, who have (for the past two decades) been sportingly dining with me all over the world. Be it Chicago where I’d lunched with financial consultants Neil Ramchandani and Romanch Dalal or Michelin-starred restaurants in NY and LA with NY based Viveka Purandare and LA based actor-writers Dhruv Uday Singh and Gilli Nissim. In Mumbai, forever helpful Rishabh Sheth (working with a pharma company) has always given me his vegetarian take. It was a long, leisurely, fun restaurant check out last December. They had a fun bonding time (in spite of me) together. I was the eavesdropper. They gave a thumbs up to the food. To check consistency, I dined here this Monday. I requested for views on Instagram and plenty, including @ghaaasphoos-foodie and @dextaaaar approved. Please share your views, too.
Izaya, Nariman Point, Mumbai: Decor
Izaya replaces Amadeus and looks much the same. Simple, pleasant blue, grey, tones. Brightly-lit. The only difference is the Robata grill, which has been added on at the far end of the restaurant.
Izaya, Nariman Point, Mumbai: Food
I could go on about the Thai dishes (with many Malay flavours) done over the Robata grill or I could tell you about the ‘Frilly Eggs’. A seemingly simple dish of soft, crunchy, chewy eggs in which Farrokh Khambata makes sweet spicy robust garlicky notes play (for want of a better word) ‘kabaddi’ with each other. Never heard of ‘Sa Khoo’? (Neither had I, in spite of my hundreds of trips to Thailand). Farrokh and his brilliant young research team of Arzzan, Marzban and Aniket share a long story about the making of these rice-flour dumplings on a stretched cloth… but for us, the only important point is that they are feather-light, soft as a baby’s cheek and tasty. Ask for the Prawn Chive Sa Khoo. Miang Kham? Yum mouth cleanser of betel leaf stuffed with peanuts, chillies, garlic and pineapples. Go for the plump with flavor Sweet Water Scallops, the masterly Mirin Sakeinfused Chilean on blue pea pod rice, baby back ribs, too. Must-try Green Thai Curry. We checked out almost all the vegetarian dishes; the flavorful Lotus Stem with Yellow Bean came up tops. As a rule, I dislike Thai desserts, but pastry chef Aniket has brilliantly coaxed European desserts to waltz with Thai flavors. Bread and Butter Pudding with Pandan-flavored Creme Anglais, the banana dessert and ooh! That addictive Guava Chilly ice cream.
Izaya, Nariman Point, Mumbai: Minus Points
We all agreed that the decor could do with a bit of pizzazz. Why not enough vegetarian dishes? And the ones on the menu — Corn on the cob with Sriracha, the mushrooms are lackluster. Ditto for the Chawanmushi. The Coconut Milk and Water Chestnut Panna Cotta with its pink synthetic sponge et al is avoidable. Some of the dishes are highly-priced and we could do with more generous portions in some dishes, too.
Izaya, Nariman Point, Mumbai: My Point
Having recently concluded a TV research trip to Japan and gotten addicted to the North Japanese Robata grill (on Binchotan coal) cooking technique, I was excited to dine at Oriental cuisine (Joss, Umame) maestro Farrokh Khambata’s Izaya. Sure, this is Mumbai’s first restaurant, which uses the Japanese Robata grill technique for its Thai food with many a Malay flavor. But that’s not the crucial point. The deciding factors are the flavors and textures and the use of the finest ingredients. And Farrokh seamlessly delivers these in most of his dishes. We could do with more (and better) vegetarian dishes and a little more pizzazz in the decor. And those desserts? Aptly enough like energizing, soothing Thai massages. We recommend the rotating, special four-day menu called ‘Yokka Kan’, (Thursday to Sunday) where Farrokh cooks up the freshest catch. It keeps the excitement alive and has us coming back for more.