Well this was my first of experiencing a Jazz and Blues tapas bar which runs as a deli and a cake shop during the day. Artisan at the Sofitel, Mumbai from the last few weeks has started to adorn the two said avatars. Considering the cost of space in Mumbai, this is one of the smartest moves, quite bold and disruptive in nature.
The trumpeter was in full rhythm as I entered the place at 8 in the evening, with people seated around the fully stocked island bar; the place was no way reminiscent of a patisserie. The deli-like seating in the lounge was not as appealing as the elegant bar stools though. I quickly settled down with a perfectly concocted Chai Tapri Martini (Rs 800) with masala chai, star anise, mint giving it a very Indian touch. The menu is well crafted by their Mixologist Manoj Jangid comprising spiffy ingredients such as violets, rosemary, wasabi etc giving one plenty of options to choose from.
The appetizer selection was limited. I ordered a selection of the Borlotti beans and courgette hummus (Rs 350), roasted pepper rolls (Rs 350), deconstructed peanut masala (R 350) and green pizzetes (Rs 450). Executive Chef Indrajit Saha said “Artisan is a place for after work drinks, pre dinner drinks or for night caps. Food is only complementary and guests move to Pondicherry the all-day diner for elaborate meals.” On being asked about using molecular techniques in food, “We do not use any kind of molecular ingredients on our menu, we focus more on the methods of cooking nonetheless we have chefs in our team who can do it on demand” said Saha. The hummus served with grilled brown pita was lovely holding up the flavours, the pepper rolls stuffed with goat cheese and mascarpone had the sweet, sharp, and creamy angle to it. The deconstructed peanut masala left me startled, expectations of roasted peanut tossed with onions, tomatoes, chilies, lemon juice presented in a modern way crashed as I was served variants if peanut fritters or rather wadas with tamarind chutney. I washed of the pizzetes, cheesy pizza squares topped with artichokes, olives, Spinach and sun dried tomato tapenade with a Duc De Breux, a fruity French sparkling (Rs 800)
40 days old in the hotel, pastry chef Rajeev Upadhyay is yet to make his mark. With Artisan getting a new facelift, Rajeev’s keeping busy to get in a new menu selection by June. Cupcakes are done and dusted for him but he is still gung-ho on macaroons, flavours like Wasabi, Bacon etc are some on his lists. I ended my meal with an opulent Crème Brulee with a micro layer of burnt sugar accompanied with caramel ice-cream. The combo ended up being too sweet, but in isolation both were really good. Last but not the least was a cup of coffee with chocolates (Apricot and rum, Cointreau) and macaroons. I was better off with the Crème brulee as the macaroons were too sweet and the chocolates were very commonplace.
Verdict: A great place to enjoy your evening, soak in the music whilst sipping artsy cocktails.
- Music, Clarinet and trumpet on Mondays and Tuesdays to bring back the jazz of the 50’s and then the Sexy Sax on last of the weekdays
- A good beverage list with beers starting at (RS 250) and a cocktail list to cater to all tastes
- An outdoor patio seating too
- They list Rocky Patel for those who are in love with their cigars to complement their favorite malts
- Very limited Tapas options. They could do more appetizers as a lot of choice works In the Indian context
- Some areas like the counter at the entrance, the chocolate room inside the restaurant looks a little makeshift. Better merchandising and display needed to add to the décor
With a new general manager, a head chef and a pastry chef, I am sure there is much happening on the gourmet front. Will have to go back and see if Artisan which has taken the first successful step in Music and drinks, whips ups a magic with its food. Acche din aane wale hain!! Will have to wait and watch.