Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Food Riot at "MELA, Worli"

Where

Located in Worli, opposite Love Grove, this restaurant and bar definitely has one of the most interesting d├ęcor that I have seen. This restaurant and bar is great for chilled out meal after a walk on Worli Sea Face.

Ambience

The name ‘Mela’ meaning ‘fun fair’ is apt. The logo, a colourful paper wind-wheel, is a perfect start to the surprises to come.

As you enter the restaurant gate, a well maintained garden with a mini-turbine model wins you over. The bar overlooks this garden. Being a tee-totaller, I was hardly interested in the bar and the drinks on offer. But it did look cozy and inviting!

A narrow corridor decorated with colourful kites leads to the main seating area. The restaurant is done up in true Indian Mela style. True to its style, the restaurant has a magician (20-30 tricks for Rs. 350/- only and the option to buy tricks from him!), astrologer, mehendi and much more to keep the hungry guests occupied. The walls are colourful, with one wall painted with a bus brimming with people. The central pillar even has a clock tower! Overall the ambience is cozy and very inviting; the riot of colours does not distract, but adds to this replica of a Mela.

Food & Drinks

The restaurant is famous for kebabs. There are 5-6 varieties of kebabs to choose from in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs. Kebabs are served with green pudina chutney which is too mild for an average Indian’s taste. We ordered a mixed vegetarian and a mixed non-vegetarian kebab platter along with a tandoori chicken platter. Both the platters offered ample variety, but the tandoori chicken platter was a disappointment as the chicken was half cooked.

One can choose from a variety of drinks – soft drinks, hard drinks, cocktails, mocktails etc. We sampled only the mocktails as they had some exotic combinations like a mocktails with papaya, pineapple and ginger! Mocktails cost Rs. 100 and up, which I thought was quite decent.

The mocktails and kebabs were very heavy, yet we opted for a varied main course – Dal/Khichadi, Butter Chicken, Prawns Biryani and Butter Nan. The biryani was on the oilier side, but the prawns were very well cooked and soaked in flavour of the assorted spices. The Butter Nan was piping hot; the Dal/khichadi had a very unique and sumptuous taste, while the butter chicken was quite ordinary.

The food is heavy and we did without any dessert. A meal for 10 cost us about Rs. 4500 (excl dessert and hard drinks). The magician kept us entertained and I was so rapt that I jerked and pointed my finger at the magician saying, ‘how’d you do that!’ while accidentally tripping the Pinacolado mocktail glass as I did so!

After thoughts

Mela is worth a one time splurge! I’ve heard that their buffets are out of the world, so maybe I’ll try that next time around! Overall the drinks are well prepared and presented, kebabs were succulent (except the hard-cooker tandoori chicken platter), the main course has its own pros and cons. Dal/Khichadi highly recommended!

Ratings

Drinks: 9/10
Ambiance: 10/10
Affordability: 8/10
Food: 7/10
 

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