The set up at Asia Town, Kala Ghoda’s new gastro pub, borrows from three mood boards - the leather couches are from an English pub, the red and yellow hued bar hails from a Macau casino, and the distressed table tops belong to a Pinterest account that hasn’t been updated in years.
Now as distressed as the surface our elbows rest on, we examine a new jumble – a menu that spans across Asia. Vegetarian Fu-Mama (edamame and tofu) dim sum is more vegan bhurji than Asian side, and we leave three of the four untouched. Meanwhile, a Moneybags variant (lobster topped with tobiko) fares better, though the meat is overcooked and the casing of the dim sum falls apart as soon as we it with our chopsticks.
Our lunchtime visit at this Rampart Row gastro pub restricts the cocktail order to a single – Smoked Asian Jazz that features balsamic vinegar alongside gin and elderflower, all smoked with applewood chips. What we receive though, is an insincerely-flavoured synthetic tipple with all the accoutrements of today’s cocktail culture — a dehydrated lime attached with a clip, and a long orange peel tied around the glass stem.
Redemption comes in the form of avocado and shrimp tempura sushi, which is fresh and crunchy, but our soft shell crab tempura is little more than a pakoda with an undercooked core. The crustacean is accompanied by sweet and sour basil and galangal dressing that can’t save the dish.
A bowl of Pad Thai at the end will help tie the meal together, we think, but the soy-greasy noodles slip away from us, just like hope at the final moment. Tamarind and texture are conspicuous by their absence, as is the fish sauce that would lend this dish some depth. To its credit, the Pad Thai is topped with egg omelet strips and have enough bok choy for a satisfying crunch.
As Asian Town takes cover behind this Rampart during its “soft launch” phase, the gastro pub needs to decide whether it wants to be a set-meal-cheap-drinks sort of place, which would be great for the neighbourhood. But as it stands, at Rs 3000 for a meal for two, it does nothing to poach patrons from the cafes and bars next door.
Getting There: First floor, Rampart Row, K Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, call 22881998, open noon to 1 am. A meal for two is approximately Rs 2,000-3,000.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for it own meals.
Accessibility: There are one or two steps to get into the building.
This review was contributed by Aatish Nath, a freelance food and drink writer.
Photo Credit: Zomato
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