We stumbled into Parallel in Khan Market early on a Saturday evening, looking for a place to live down a hectic week over drinks and a meet-up with old friends. The 45-cover place seemed to be just right — white and bright, with rustic wooden picnic tables, cheery cushions, cosy pools of yellow light, and a playlist of easy-on-the-ears ’90s hits.
Run by the a young chef, Abhiram Bidwai, Parallel advertises itself as a crafts kitchen, where each of its condiments and syrups, including the ones for the cocktails, are made from scratch. It’s clearly a labour of love, but it could do with some clear-headed thinking about how it wants to position itself in a market that has no dearth of excellent competition.
The menu is the first hiccup. The fusion food on offer is rather disorienting — Panch Foran Karela with Apricot Chutney and Saffron Onions jostle for attention with Videshi Keema Haldi Bun Sandwiches (with Amul cheese in a starring role) and even Cream, Chilli and Sweet Corn Pasta. One can attribute a travel-oriented theme here, but it needs better definition, and certainly, more imagination. A word of advice for diners — Parallel is more a gastro-pub than a fine dining experience and once you have got your expectations sorted and zoned in on bar essentials, things pick up.
One can attribute a travel-oriented theme here, but it needs better definition, and certainly, more imagination. A word of advice for diners — Parallel is more a gastro-pub than a fine dining experience and once you have got your expectations sorted and zoned in on bar essentials, things pick up.
We opted for the Pulled Panch Foran Pork Thepla Taco (Rs 450), Keema Saag Samosa (Rs 350) and Filter Coffee Chicken Wings (Rs 350) to go with our Bira (Rs 350), vanilla-infused vodka (Rs 300) and Blush cocktail (Rs 400). The cocktail with lychee, brandy and Shiraz was expectedly on the sweeter side, but the vodka was a great hit, the vanilla lending the drink a delightfully woody note.
The pork was of excellent quality and a great fit with the apricot chutney. In fact, it could have done well on its own, without the encasing of the rather insipid mini Theplas. Likewise, the samosas could have popped with a crispier shell — a chewy cover implies stale or overdone dough — but these are issues that can be easily sorted.
For our next course, we ordered the Crispy Red Snapper with Mango Salsa and Sweet Potato Mash (Rs 650). The snapper wasn’t available, so we settled for the lamb chops (Rs 750), instead. It proved fortuitous because the chops were, quite easily, the star on the table. The lamb was well-done to order, the succulent meat fell off the bone at the slightest touch and the saffron, wine and malai marinade came together for a finger-licking, sticky sauce. It made us happy and risk-prone and we ended up ordering a panjiri and Nutella tart (Rs 300). It was clearly an unhappy marriage — the tart was too sweet for comfort and the panjiri, completely out of place.
Dessert is certainly not the high point at Parallel, but, perhaps, you could give it a miss and settle for a nightcap instead.