Better with booze **
I have always visited Hard Rock Cafe under the darkness of night, when my judgement was marred by intoxication and the spirit of revelry. The focus was never of the food, in fact I barely glanced at the menu. So I was rather curious to sample their food.
Hard Rock Cafe has introduced a few new dishes to their otherwise all-American menu. There is a section called ‘Amchi Mumbai’, which I was quite surprised to see. Some other Indian inspired dishes have been added to spice things up. I was pretty apprehensive about trying these: somehow I wouldn’t readily eat pakodas with my Long Island Ice tea.
However, after a little push from the Chef we ordered the Saag Paneer and Chicken Pakodas. The Saag Paneer was pretty interesting; some beautifully tender chunks of paneer eaten with flat bread and a tangy yogurt dip. The Chicken Pakodas were spicy and served with an Asian sweet chilly sauce. Both the starters would probably go down well with drinks and some good conversation, but I wasn’t still sold to the idea of bringing the bringing the dhaba to Hard Rock Cafe.
Despite rather obtrusive suggestions from the Chef I steered clear of the Tandoori Chicken burger and stuck with my preferred main course of Grilled Chicken in Lemon Caper Sauce with a side of Vegetable Ratatouille. I was warned that it was a large portion, but this dish was floating far behind in the wake of ‘large’. The whale size portion could have fed about two average eaters if that was all they ate. The delicious light and tangy lemon caper sauce slurpily coated the spaghetti. I have less flattering things to say about the other components on my plate: the chicken was under-seasoned and dry. The Ratatouille just quantity but made no qualitative difference to the dish. In trying to impress with size, the flavor boat was majorly missed.
Not yet completely disheartened, I set my hopes on the dessert. My much anticipated choice was the Tres Leches: a decadent latin american treat that I have been in hot pursuit of. It isn’t easily found in Bombay and I was absolutely thrilled to see it on the menu. When this oversize whopper of a dessert landed on my table I was immediately in love. It was divine: rich & creamy, the airy sponge was soaked with creamy goodness, and topped with tangy fruit that complemented the extreme sweet milk and cream. Perfection on a plate.
The glorious dessert almost made me miss the chipped plate and the shabby state of the table. I suppose Hard Rock Cafe is better visited when the food doesn’t quite matter and when a table full of friends can share the giant quantities of grub. When ordering stick to tried and tested American classics, focus on the pretty-boys dancing to YMCA and cloud your judgement with some hooch.
Average meal for 2 – Rs. 1500-2000 without drinks.
p.s. My friend and fellow blogger Dhruvi who shared this meal with me is doing a series of stories about her collection of glass ware from Hard Rock Cafes from all over the world. Follow her posts ! Here’s a link to the first of 9 stories: http://alicewandering.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/a-story-each-from-9-cities-across-the-world-that-stock-hard-rock-cafe-glasses/ They promise to be a fun read !