Address: S-1, Second floor, Skyzone, Phoenix Mill Compound, S.B. Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra India
Time: 12 Noon to 1 AM
Meals for two: Rs. 2,000
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
Facilities: Full Bar Available, Serves Cocktails
Wardrobe Malfunction’ for salad? ‘Coco Chanel’ for dessert? For sure, The Runway Project takes its name literally and does not mince words. Thankfully, it minces, marinates, stir-frys, creates dishes with flair and imagination. It stirs in celebrities (culinary director chef Vicky Ratnani and Ayaz Basrai of The Busride Design Studio, Narendra Kumar for uniforms) and serves up the coolest new SoBo restaurant. It sure is a restaurant for families. Just the perfect place to lunch with the coolest, globetrotting, super achiever Doshi family. How cool is this? At age ten, Mehaan has written and published his autobiography. Both he and his brother Maahir (also an actor) play the sitar. They’re sons of third generation industrialist Chirag Doshi of the engineering equipment manufacturing company for India’s defence and aerospace programs. It sure is a discerning foodie family. Former model and Hindustani classical singer Tanaz Doshi ensures that she makes time from handling CSR initiatives of the Doshi family township to cook a variety of food for her boys. Their equally gifted cousins, piano and cricket champs Ayaan and Jaisal Sanger are London-based and PizzaExpress (PE) fans. They point out that the pizzas here are equally good.
The Runway Project by PizzaExpress, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Decor
It preens in the fashion and lifestyle hotspot of Phoenix High Street. A glossy high shine bar, art deco hanging lights, kaleidoscopic 3D wall mural sand, eye catching deconstructed handbag installation mounted on the wall complete its couture-inspired gloss. Kudos, The Bus ride Design Studio!
The Runway Project by PizzaExpress, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Food
Trendy, stylishly presented Italian fare. ‘Godfather’ dessert is delicious Tiramisu encased in Chocolate Cigars (wooden box, et al) and the sublimely sweet Passion Fruit, Coconut creation ‘Coco Chanel’ dazzle. Succulent bold flavours of the Pulled Lamb Crostini are as much a hit as the ‘Size 0 Salad’ made out of Watermelon and Feta crumble. Why is the Grilled Chicken and Quinoa Salad called ‘The Wardrobe Malfunction’ is a mystery since it is dressed very well with Rosemary Emilgrana, and is a hit. As is the intense Mushroom Risotto. Happily, PizzaExpress’ pizzas (rectangular) are thin crust, have delicious toppings and are as good as those in PE London.
The Runway Project by PizzaExpress, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Minus Points
Soggy Croque Madame with its fried egg topping, mushy Funghi of trio mushrooms; ditto for the Gnocchi. A revisit by one of my guests found the salads to be soggy. And some of the portions can be a bit too small.
The Runway Project by PizzaExpress, Lower Parel, Mumbai: My Point
I cringed when I was told about the “fashion-driven sensibility” of this ‘hyperlocal’ new SoBo restaurant. Was it going to be an overload of the fashion brand-victim sensibility? All style, no substance? Pleasantly surprised that The Runway Project puts to rest all my apprehensions. It curates an experience through food and decor that mirrors the ethos of not just its location but also the diners it is created for. Stylishly served dishes with sharpened flavors, fine-tuned proportions and textures. Ramit Mittal and Joey ensure that The Runway Project sashays with oomph and style. Substance, too. Encore!