AMERICANO: THE ITALIAN JOB IN MUMBAI

On one of my previous visits to Bombay, a friend had highly recommended we dine at The Table in Colaba and I wasn’t disappointed. Ever since, I have tracked (more like stalked) Chef Alex Sanchez. His leaving The Table (I think it was in 2017) meant (I hoped) we were going to be in for a new dining experience, and I waited for all to be revealed. Chef Alex’s return to Bombay’s buzzing dining scene was – Americano – opened just in time for my most recent visit to Bombay.

Americano is a ‘casual’ Italian eatery in a by-lane in Kala Ghoda (if you are a Bombay foodie you will of course know Ayub’s… well its close by) – the reason I say ‘casual’ is because I don’t really know what the restaurant wants to be – you saw the really casual to the well-dressed – chappals (slippers) and high heels, shorts and well fitted dresses – and honestly I believe that the food, the craft and the restaurant deserved a little more respect. But then again, I was there for the food and Chef Alex.

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The menu is small and easy to navigate – thankfully. Italian menu’s can sometimes be laborious and confusing – the types of pizza and pasta are endless – but not at Americano – it is focused, caters to all – non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike. All the pasta (I read somewhere that they have 12 varieties of handmade pasta) and pizzas are handmade – I believe he learned the art on his two-month culinary exploration in Italy.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the food – every single dish – from the flavours (some subtle and some not so much) to the presentation and the after taste – it was an experience I would relive in a heartbeat. Every dish was simple but made well… what more can you ask for?

We had the Oven Roasted Prawns which had a lovely subtle flavour of garlic, lemon and rosemary and it came with some bread.  I am glad we had this before our next starter as we could appreciate the subtlety of the flavours.

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For our starters we ordered the masaledar Sweetcorn “Ribs”, which is Chef Alex’s take on our favourite bhutta (corn on the cob) – they are lipsmacking-ly good strips of corn on the cob sprinkled with a BBQ chilli spice mix and served with a green garlic aioli. (when I looked around the room, nearly every table had ordered this – word gets around quickly in Bombay). I tried it three ways – topping it with the green garlic aioli, topped it with lime and also tried it the way they were served..

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For the mains I had the Goat Cheese Ravioli. The different textures coming together with every bite was superb.

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But what I was blown away with was the Tiramisu. I honestly believe it’s the best the city has to offer – and I don’t mean that lightly. Every ingredient – coffee, cheese, sponge, cocoa and rum – came together perfectly and was topped with a chocolate that gave it a bit of crunch.

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This is not a restaurant you can just turn up to and expect to get a table. Maybe it has the ‘newness’ buzz around it – but I went on a weekday and it was packed with people for the 9.30 table seating still waiting. So definitely book a table well in advance. We walked in at 7.15PM with a booking, and did not see it filled up – but by 8PM it was packed, including the bar area where people were happy to sip their drinks at the high tables. Americano is only open for dinner at the moment and with  limited space, and a whole lot of foodie explorers, you don’t want to be disappointed.

My only hiccup to this experience was kids!!! I know this may not go down well with parents, but I think Americano should restrict children under the age of 13 (if not older) post 9 PM. Let me explain. At 9 PM (on a weekday – Tuesday to be precise), I had the table next to me occupied by 4 adults and four kids – all ok so far – until one of the kids decided he was a Jal Tarang maestro and kept making noise with the water glasses placed in front of him until we asked for the bill and left. Kids need to learn (and be taught) how to appreciate dining well – by being spoken to and not left to their own devices to be a nuisance to other diners (but that is a parenting issue).

Chef Alex Sanchez – you made the wait totally worth it. Thank you.

Location: Americano, 23 Radha Bhavan, Nagindas Master Road, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai Open from 7PM to 1AM Telephone: +91 22 22647700/7711 (for reservations please call between 1400hrs and 2200hrs from Tuesday to Sunday or you can email them at dine@americanobombay.com)