The gourmet scene in Mumbai is bustling with opening up of a lot of new-fangled eateries boasting of molecular gastronomy, fusion food and rare world cuisines. These places are bringing to Mumbai an epicureanism that is taking the taste buds of Mumbaikars by storm and making them experiment with uncommon flavors and food pairings. One such place that is on the radar of a lot of gourmands in the city is अन्नCensored.
For almost a quarter before अन्नCensored opened its doors to patrons in Mumbai, it had intrigued people by creating an exceptional buzz around its launch. So, finally, when the place swung into operation, a bunch of my foodie friends and I made my way to experience what this place had to offer.
Upon entering the place, it’s tastefully done up spacious ambience grabs your attention. The sights and sounds gradually expose you to a place that has a fresh, stimulating vibe in contrast to the numerous food joints already existing in Kamala Mills. We made ourselves comfortable in one of the booths from a choice of different styles of seating arrangement that presented themselves to us here.
A glance through the menu suggests that some dishes are your regular Continental fares. However, for those who love experimenting with flavors, there are options that have gone down the fusion route where Continental delicacies have been exposed to a twist from the Indian cuisine. This ideology of fusion cuisine forms the crux of the unusual nomenclature of अन्नCensored.
In this food review, I have split the aforementioned styles of food preparation as CENSORED & अन्नCENSORED. This is the way the restaurant prefers categorizing their food to showcase the USP of their dishes.
So, here is a glimpse of my gluttony at अन्नCENSORED:
This carte du jour entailed the conventional way of preparation of various Asian and Continental recipes. I ended up tasting a mix of appetizers or “small plates” and salad as under:
THREE MELON & FETA SALAD WITH PINE NUTS & ORANGE GINGER DRESSING
The salad had a refreshing appearance albeit with a minor change from its description. Muskmelon and watermelon formed the two melons that were part of the salad. However, the third fruit was not a melon but seasonal favorite, mango. A tart dressing comprising of orange and ginger extracts cut through the sweetness of the fruits and the saltiness of feta making it a well-balanced dish in terms of flavors. By use of ginger in the dressing, a subtle amount of heat was also introduced in this salad. Toasted pine nuts added the crunch element to this otherwise mellow dish.
TERIYAKI GLAZED MUSHROOMS, CRISPY FRIED TOFU & SHISHITO PEPPER SKEWER
I love mushrooms and this dish enhanced my love for them further. The mushrooms were cooked to perfection with an enticing glaze that brought a sublime sweetness to the dish. The tofu was a welcome change in texture and flavor that contrasted well with the mushrooms while the shishito pepper imparted a mild hot and sweet flavor to the appetizer.
RASAL-E-HONUT SPICED MINCED LAMB KEBAB, GARLIC TUHUM, PICKLED VEGETABLES & PITA
The seasoning of the lamb mince with the Moroccan spice mix generally termed as ras el hanout was the highlight of this dish. The mince was cooked to perfection, grilled in a way that ensured it remained succulent. The garlic sauce and pickled vegetables further went on to uplift the flavors of the kebab.
CHICKEN BOMBA-PULLED CHICKEN, JALAPENO, CORN & PAPRIKA
Chicken was cooked with select herbs and onions before being mixed with vegetables and churned into croquettes. The croquettes were dusted in panko and deep-fried. While the shell was crispy, the meat lacked seasoning that lead to a dull experience with this preparation.
CHILLI FISH GUJON BAO WITH SWEET & SOUR VEGETABLES
This was another dish that failed to impress. While the bao was perfect in texture, the filling was lackluster. The fish was present in traces compared to the volume of vegetables. Also, the sweet and sour sauce had completely overpowered the dish leaving no hint of flavor from the fish or the vegetables.
Now comes the fascinating part of the food at this restaurant. In the अन्नCensored scheme of things a lot of classic Continental dishes have been reinvented with an Indian twist. In most dishes the fusion of cuisines has worked brilliantly.
BUTTER CHICKEN CROQUETTES, MAKHANI MAYO & MINT CHUTNEY
This was my favorite appetizer. The execution was faultless and perfectly crisp croquettes came packed with a thick, creamy, butter chicken gravy & chicken chunks mixed with cheese. The makhani mayo and mint chutney served as befitting accompaniments to elevate this dish to a high pedestal in fusion gastronomy.
FIG & DUCK CONFIT SAMOSAS WITH SWEET & SOUR GLAZE
Duck is a tricky meat to work with. However, if cooked well it makes a dish shine. Thus, in order to mesmerize the taste buds of Mumbaikars with the classic French dish of duck confit, a twist with the Indian fried snack samosa has been explored. This fusion does work well for me where minced duck imbibed with flavors of fig forms the filling of the samosa. A sweet and sour glaze further grants a delicious layer of flavor to this appetizer.
MOZARELLA, TAMATAR KUT, RASAM GRANITE
In my opinion this is an Indian take on the Italian Caprese salad. Here, buffalo mozzarella wedges were served with crushed tomatoes that were mildly seasoned. The introduction of an unusual rasam granite is what brought a punch to the salad with its bold usage of spices.
MALAI MUSHROOM, SHISHITO PEPPER, AMUL CHEESE FONDUE WITH GARLIC CRUMB
A bite of this dish transposed me into cheese heaven. Button mushrooms came stuffed with peppers and cheese. Further the mushrooms were served garnished with Amul Cheese Fondue and sprinkling of fried garlic particles. Dig into this dish only if you are obsessed with cheese else give it a skip.
TEMPURA ONION BHAJIA BAO
As a Mumbaikar, I love my streetfood especially bhaji (fritters) pao (bread). Thus, introduction of the onion fritter as a filling in the bao was something I was looking forward to. However, the dish disappointed me since the fritter was undercooked, chewy and lacked the zesty flavor that is characteristic of the bhaji or fritters in Mumbai.
MOCKTAIL & DESSERTS
Since I was going to be at the wheel, I ended up downing the aforesaid food with a refreshing mocktail. This was a virgin RAW MANGO MARGARITA that had a beautiful balance of sweet and sour flavors. In order to wrap up the meal on a sweet note, I took a bite of CHOCOLATE RUM BALL flambéed in Old Monk. The rum ball was rich and moist providing a decadent end to an elaborate meal.
I had an interesting time tasting a variety of dishes at अन्नCensored. So, do try out this place and let me know of your experience.
Till then, HAPPY EATING…
(PS: The dishes were served as part of special bloggers’ table so actual portion sizes may vary. However, my review is subjective and unprejudiced.)
- Regional Indian Food & Travel enthusiast