September 15, 2007

Bamboo

It’s been a wait for the Bamboo. I first noticed the space many months ago, on another visit to The Park, but it only opened its doors in late August. When we visited, it was empty. On a Saturday evening. A cricket match being telecast at that time probably had much to do with it; there’s no widescreen TV Bamboo, unlike the bar and Zest, their other restaurant, to the disappointment of your dedicated reviewer. But there’s a lot else missing here—no paper lanterns, no red walls, not a brush-stroke typeface in sight—hoorah! But the design overdoes, it I think. Stainless-steel chopsticks? Doesn’t work for me. But enough about the decor.
We start by asking whether there was any Chinese hooch to wash down the travel dust, and whether there was a tasting menu. ‘No,’ and ‘huh?’ respectively, we’re told. So we decide on a beer with our starters. The sea bass baked in the hollow of a split length of bamboo (Rs 695), our waiter’s recommendation, is impressively presented and tastes wonderful, but to my mind, not wonderful enough for the price. The barbequed pork ribs (Rs 225) are excellent—tender, meat easily persuaded off the bone, nice sauce. Our other big production number is the Peking Duck (Rs 350 for a quarter portion). Pancakes ceremonially placed on plates, sweet bean sauce proffered for us to smear, then some crunchy greens and the strips of duck. Lips smacked all around.
Main course. The Lo Han noodles (Rs 245) with extra shrimp topping (Rs 50) is light and tasty, though the topping is all at the bottom (I got four of them off the last spoonful served to us). The Bamboo Rice (Rs 195), sticky rice served in a bamboo vessel, has us wondering why such a fuss was being made of steamed rice. The Beef Tenderloin (Rs 395) got the twelve-year-old at out table up in arms: not another sweet sauce, she says in disgust, stabbing it with the wooden chopsticks the waiter provided us with when we made fun of the metal stuff. She is mollified somewhat by the Fuyang Prawns (Rs 525), prawn wrapped in thin slices of chicken, which has a distinct bite too the sauce, but, to my relief (I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food), not enough to overwhelm the prawn. The Long Jing tea I sip between courses isn’t complementary (Rs 95 for a cup barely larger than a thimble). Its task could have been as well performed by a glass of water. Chef Li’s Sweethearts (Rs 245), dimsum with ice cream, for dessert is okay—it looks like modak, says the pre-teen—but underwhelming considering it bears the chef’s name.
We pay, we scuttle off quickly. We can still catch the last of the match at Zest for the price of a coffee. India wins!
Peter Griffin
Bamboo, The Park Navi Mumbai, No 1, Sector 10, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai 400614. Tel: +91 22 2758 9000. Open 7.00pm-11.45pm. No service tax , 12.5% VAT. Meal for two without alcohol, Rs 1200.


Published in Time Out Mumbai, September 2007.

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