Why So Serious?

To do justice to the food and service it offers,The Pier needs to lighten up and really go casual

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza | Published: April 1, 2013 10:48:10 pm

IT has replaced the popular Japanese eatery Tetsuma and could have well been a fine-dining restaurant. In fact,it looks like one too,with neatly laid-out tables,blue couches,attentive waiting staff and timings — it opens only for dinner. But the menu suggests that The Pier in Colaba is a casual dining eatery. And the owner Samir Chhabria confirms the same.

The man who set up Prive and Tetsuma,although under a different ownership,explains that this time he wanted to cater to young professionals by providing a casual ambience and a menu that will offer quality but affordable meals,especially when they want to hang out with friends. The menu has been designed keeping this in mind. The drinks and wine list is as extensive as that of food,which includes a selection of appetisers,mains and desserts.

A number of flavours have been experimented with in the cocktails (Rs 300 upwards) and mocktails (Rs 250 upwards) section,such as Ginger Chocolate that has vodka with ginger and chocolate,and Mumbai Mirchi which brings together green chilli,khus and lime with aerated water. Our selections — Watermelon Kaffir (watermelon with kaffir lime and vodka) and Black Jack (whiskey with a hint of coffee) were both refreshing in the summer heat.

The French onion soup is perhaps the most basic of foods but amongst the tougher items as far as preparation is concerned. The Pier offers it confidently in both vegetarian and beef variety,complete with that mandatory slice of bread soaked in the broth. We opt for the latter and are not disappointed.

For starters (Rs 350 upwards),we order Stuffed portobello with cheese & brocolli pesto,American white quinoa tabouli and Edamame beans and gruyere cheese stuffed ravioli. While the stuffed mushrooms meet expectations,it is interesting to see a ravioli with beans. The salad,however,is the best of the lot — light and delightfully flavourful,with a hint of creamy dressing and the contrasting crunchy veggies.

For mains (priced between Rs 500 and Rs 1,200),we decide to try the Egg Florentine — usually a cafe mainstay — which we are told has been done differently enough to suit a casual diner. It is good,but doesn’t fulfill the promise of being distinct. The beef burger,on the other hand,is filling and succulent although not the best in town. Served with spinach cream,the mushroom polenta is flavourful,fragrant and satiating.

The Vanilla panna cotta that concluded our meal is served with strawberry soup,a great seasonal accompaniment,and a shot each of in-house coffee liquor in kahlua and irish baileys flavours. The kahlua was stiff and made well but the baileys was too milky and sweet for our liking.

For the location and quality of food it serves,The Pier is sweetly priced. However,for it to buzz like a casual dining eatery,the ambience needs to be a tad more relaxed,perhaps offer a view of the exterior — it faces the sea. Keeping it open in the day and decluttering the tables by removing the cutlery and tablecloths will help.

Meal for two: Rs 1,700 without spirits.

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