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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Comfort in familiarity

36 Oak & Barley doesn’t have anything new to offer. But on closer inspection,that may not be a bad thing.

Written by Afsha Khan | Published: February 4, 2012 3:45:13 am

Dramatic red walls and a black panther diving out of the ceiling over the bar are reminiscent of a Chinese tea house. The heating pipe that runs around the restaurant and houses the air conditioning is inspired by restaurants in industrial areas of New York and Chicago. As one walks into 36 Oak & Barley in Gowalia Tank,the ambience gives the impression of global flavours at play.

This is reiterated through the menu which does not confirm to one cuisine. The Greek Salad sits right above the Raw Papaya Salad with Thai Chili Dressing and the Falafel with Garlic Yogurt Dip is in the same section as the Vegetable Dumplings in Coriander Broth.

We sampled the Mixed Mushroom Dumplings with Shiitake Broth,which hinted only slightly of shiitake mushrooms,though the taste of garlic shunned out any other flavours it might have possessed.

The menu also features a range of sandwiches and burgers. But The Toasty With The Mosty — french fries,cheese sauce,sour cream and salsa — and the Latino Lamb Burger are more suited for a lunch date. The mains,too,comprise a variety of cuisines with offerings such as Ratatouille,lasagna and stir-fried vegetables. A lot can be said about a restaurant that cooks steak to the diner’s idea of perfection. The expectations from the Tenderloin Steak with Peppercorn Sauce,were thus high. Unfortunately,it came out on the rarer side of medium and bled a pinkish-red juice onto our plate.

The Prawn in Black Pepper and Hoisin Sauce was a perfect blend of sweet from the sauce and savory from the rice.

The name,36 Oak & Barley,sets certain expectations from the drinks menu — an extensive list of luxury wines and beers from all over the world. While this two-week-old restaurant does have an extensive wine list,a variety of spirits and single malts,it doesn’t set itself apart. The beer section of the menu,lost on one of the inside pages,features the usual suspects.

The dessert section’s Good Old Custard and Jelly was a tempting option and so was the chocolate fondant. But the Vanilla and Berry Panna Cotta was a clear winner. Flavoured with real vanilla beans,its texture was smooth and firm,and transformed on the palate with the generous helping of sweet and sour strawberry sauce.

Be it the décor,service,wine or food,there’s nothing that sets 36 O&B apart. This isn’t a bad thing though,because it’s a restaurant one can pick blindly on an occasion when diners aren’t in the mood to experiment.

Good for dates,family dinners and business meetings,it aims to provide comfort food and lives up to that promise with offerings that include something for everyone.

Meal for two without alcohol costs Rs 3,500. This review was conducted anonymously.

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