A large menu printed to be read from right to left, muddles your brain a little, and you haven’t even sipped your first white wine sangria with bobbing strawberries yet. But you’ll ease into both soon enough, happy to be sitting in a Cuffe Parade bungalow, twinkling with fairy bulbs and tied together with lights shaped like hot air balloons. Sigh collectively, and that’s all the air your balloon needs to take off.
Look around: you’re in Bayroute, a new Mediterranean restaurant that promises hummus and halloumi that will draw you back. There’s baklava too, which has us hoping that the ghost of chef Moshe’s recipe – former sweet tenant of this cottage – is still haunting the halls.
Fig City Dreams
We choose to sit inside – hello, goodbye humidity – a room prettily dressed up by interior designer Shweta Kaushik, eyeing the bar that was once a pastry case. Our Hummus Bayroute arrives first, creamy and layered with labneh, a twofer that is appreciated (though it could do with an extra drizzle of olive oil), and accompanied by pita that’s baked fresh twice a day. The grilled halloumi is thankfully not very salty, though the figs could have spent more time on the fire, allowing it to develop sweeter notes. We don’t have any complaints about the shish touk either, where the chicken is full of flavour, and easy to imagine being stuffed into pita.
One of the high points of the meal at Bayroute is the ease of customisation that the food lends itself to; complimentary platters of fresh and pickled vegetables are so easy to pair with breads, mezze and meats.
Tagine Paul Sartre
Stuffed, we plough ahead still, ordering a lamb tagine and moussaka, both of which take almost an hour to arrive. But the restaurant is new and all the happy lights provide us with additional patience.
From the former we are hoping for tender slow-cooked meat that is well balanced and accompanied by couscous. What we get is a generous portion of couscous topped with lamb that is tender, but lacking an earthy sweetness usually drawn out by slow cooking. The moussaka is creamy and sure to leave those craving a decent vegetarian main, satisfied.
The bar is only serving wine and sangria at the moment, so we hope to get our happy hit from the baklava. The pastry is flaky, the plate is pretty - topped with frozen rose petals – and in a weather-appropriate twist, a scoop of ice cream sits at the centre. We wish more honey or syrup was used to bind the pastry, however. Also on the table is a Zaffrani milk cake, which will satisfy those looking for Indian-style confections.
There’s a range of teas and coffees on the menu that we’re excited to come back and try, as well as more of the mezze staples that seem to be executed with aplomb. When the bill arrives, you realise that you’re paying dearly for the imported lemon slice that is included on the complimentary vegetable platter, and for the fresh breads and quest for authentic ingredients.
But still, we’ll return. When the bar is fully stocked and when the hot air balloons need another sigh.
Getting there: Bayroute, Minoo Manor, 7 Cuffe Parade. Open noon to 1.30 am daily. Meal for two costs approximately Rs 5,000 with one sangria each.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
Accessibility: There is a short flight of stairs needed to sit indoors with no ramp.
This review was conducted by Aatish Nath, a freelance food and travel writer.
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