BAYROUTE: A TRIP THOUGH THE MIDDLE EAST
I have always stayed away from Middle Eastern food (will call it generically Arabic just to simplify my life) when I visit Bombay as it is a cuisine I often indulge in in Dubai. But on my recent trip to the city, I was taking my Mom and Aunt for lunch and I was toying with where. Bayroute came so highly recommended from most people I spoke with that I thought it might make a nice change for the two ladies.
Bayroute replaced the city’s first Moshe’s (another favourite of mine) in Cuffe Parade. Of course the courtyard has been retained but it’s the interiors that have seen much change. Mud-textured walls, filigreed arches, gossamer drapes, flickering lanterns, and mosaic flooring in the main dining room lend themselves beautifully to the theme.
The menu arrived and even though I live in Dubai and am used to reading a menu back-to-front (or if you prefer calling it right-to-left) while at an Arabic restaurant, it was not something I was expecting at Bayroute – totally wrong assumption on my part.
Dining with two beautiful ladies whose average age is 82, I knew that the portions they would manage to eat would be small, but I also knew we would have the doggie bag option at the end – the idea here was to let them enjoy themselves.
Hummus is my staple order when ever I visit an Arabic restaurant – and the one at Bayroute did not disappoint. It came served in the same dish that I have seen Hummus served in Dubai and that got me wondering if its an unwritten rule to serve hummus in it.
We also ordered the kibbeh (but unfortunately I did not take a picture) – most of the pieces were eaten but a few made their way back home for my father to try.
The starters would would not be complete if I did not try the Bayroute version of Batata Harra. Each restaurant makes this dish differently – they have similar ingredients but each chef puts his own spin on it. And honestly the batata harra at Bayroute was one of the better ones I have eaten. Enough so, that my Mom asked me order another plate of the same as take away so that she could take it home for the rest of the family to try.
For the mains I stuck with Shish Taouk – I did not think one could go wrong with something that popular (and common) on any Arabic menu. It did not look anything like the Shish Taouk I am used to. The garlic paste was not garlic-y enough. And I had no fries!!!! Again, I must reiterate that I am basing my review on what I have eaten in Dubai and even though the taste was good, it was not what thought I had ordered.
My mom and aunt settled for a lamb main – but I can’t remember what and I have been looking for their menu online but haven’t been able to find it.
Overall my experience at Bayroute was a mixed one. I loved the fact that I got to explore a cuisine truly under-represented in Mumbai with my Mom and Aunt, but one which I am still familiar with.
If you are unable to compare the dishes at this restaurant with something you may have tried on a visit to a Middle East city, then you will have no problem with the flavours, look, textures, accompaniments that come to your table. However, if you have had Arabic food before, in a more ‘authentic’ setting (read as ‘a city in the Middle East’) then there might be some curve balls you might have to dodge (not saying ALL, just some as I have to generalise here) and you might need to clear that mind of comparison (I had to do it on one of my choices) – if you succeed in doing that then your experience at Bayroute will be wonderful.
Will I go back – definitely! Why? Because there are so many other dishes to try and there were so many dishes I had which they had got right (if not better).
Location: Bayroute, Minoo Manor, Prakash Pethe Marg, Badhwar Park, 7 Cuffe Parade, Mumbai Open 12.00 noon to 1.30 am. Telephone +91 9029008335 or +91 8291156403
NOTE: I ate at Bayroute on my OWN time and money! The views and opinions expressed on this blog are truly my OWN.