The experience you have at this restaurant in Powai will render you speechless.
Where You From, You Sexy Thing?
Owners Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah hail from the Henley Business School in the UK, where one of the core beliefs states that wealth creation is important for the society as a whole. Furthermore Mr. Issar was highly inspired by his visit to ‘Signs’, a restaurant in Toronto, which operates on a similar concept. This combined with Mr. Shah’s need to help the differently abled was not enough. They learned the sign language themselves first, recruited staff from Rochiram T. Thadani High School for the Hearing Handicapped, built a rapport with them and their families and then trained them to craft, on an everyday basis, what I personally know to be one of the most complete and memorable dining experiences in Mumbai today.
What’s It Like?
This 80-seater bar and grill, with its elegant settings, white interiors and bell jar displays, comes across as another one of the cafes in Mumbai with a European décor, at first glance. Upon looking more closely, you realize India strongly hangs about in the air. One wall is dedicated to paraphernalia of the bygone era kitchens of the country, including the animal heads on walls meant to deafeningly proclaim the valour and masculinity of the men of the house. Another one, quite in contrast to this, is covered with old archives of Indian recipes from the 1990’s and earlier, accentuating their food story. It’s a tasteful and comfortable dining space with a hint of eccentricity and passion for the culinary arts in the mix.
What Will I Eat?
I would suggest beginning your meal with the Lobster Nihari. The humble white bowl it comes in doesn’t betray the juicy lobster and the thick, flavourful broth that you’re in for. Vegetarians could go in for the more posh Garden Peas & Truffle Soup with the roasted masala croutons for added flavour. Let me just say, there’s a certain amount of claim to molecular gastronomy and ‘contemporary Indian cuisine’ that has managed to make me avoid it with a vengeance for the longest time. The same fare here, though, seems to have more honesty and soul to it.
Carnivores would love the smoky flavours of the juicy Tandoori Quail and the nuances of flavour in the Duck Seekh and the Tandoori Prawn & Fish Seekh. For the mains, I licked clean a bowl of rich Badam Rogan Chicken, thoroughly enjoying the delicate play of cream and spice, so herbivores are going to have to figure this one out themselves. The Eton Mess, with really good berries, meringue and cream, makes for a fabulous finish.
What Will I Drink?
Simplicity is their sophistication and they have managed to put such humble signatures on their cocktails that they instantly win over your heart (and your taste buds). The Shikanji Bacardi Julep, the Old Monk Mojito, the Mango & Chilli Margarita and the Anaar Martini are some of the ‘don’t miss’ ones. Don’t like alcohol? Go in for the Mirchi & Orange mocktail without a second thought.
Le Quirky Bit
Now, here’s something unusual. If I pass you by on the road, I won’t smile at you because Mumbai (among many other metropolises) raises a breed of distrustful, self-absorbed species. The USP of the place is the hearing and speech impaired staff but what came to my notice is how much they smile at everyone – genuine smiles, not the mandatory cosmetic of the hospitality industry. They were kind, gracious, enthusiastic, happy to help and friendly – the kind of people we need more of in the world (the kind of people we need to be in the world). Secondly, I love the sheer number of times I felt compelled to gesture thank you simply looking at how polite and well-mannered they were. I’ve said more thank you’s in a night than I’ve said to my mom in a lifetime. And yes, that doesn’t make me sound too good but a dinner at this restaurant made me aware and ready to change that about myself.
M&M used to bring to mind a rapper much in controversy or a packet of crunchy, delightful chocolate covered peanut snack before this restaurant happened to me and others like me in the city. Today, it’s a unique, refreshing and truly heart-warming dining experience that tells you food is a language and humans don’t need words to be better people. Meanwhile, humans could need a bit of spirit to be more fun people and for those humans the new Madeira & Mime is right next door.
How to Get There:
Mirchi And Mime
Where: Transocean House, Lake Boulevard, Hiranandani Business Park, Powai, Mumbai
Contact: 022 30151202 (Table booking recommended)
Timings: All Days 12:30 PM to 3 PM, 6:30 PM to 11 PM
Cost: ₹1,500 for two people (VAT & service charges extra)