A Marathon Meal With Old Friends At The Tasting Room

I’ve eaten many meals at The Tasting Room in Lower Parel Mumbai but this meal is special. This isn’t a meal it’s a catching up lunch, with one of my oldest, dearest friends who is as excited about food as I am, actually much more than I am. He’s currently studying molecular gastronomy in New York but since he’s back we decided to catch up and bond over our mutual love for all things tasty. We’re later joined by another old pal and as we usually do our meal went on for a good three hours reminiscing and laughing and generally being silly. But the tiny taster is always alert and in any situation ready to share her dining experience and this leisure lunch was no different. Before I go any further I must warn you that this will be one of those posts where a LOT of food was consumed. I’m happy to report none from the gluttonous gang fell sick from overeating!

As I’m seated at my table waiting for these fine young gentlemen to show up I can’t help but notice the subtle changes in the restaurant decor from the last time I visited. The most interesting thing I heard was that you can buy anything you like in the restaurant. From the tables, chairs, lamps anything that catches your fancy, you will be able to buy it from them. It’s a concept I had heard that a restaurant in Bangalore city use to do 15 years ago and I know Mocha at Churchgate had the same policy. I think it’s great! A lil food a lil shopping will make any girl happy.

We start our meal with what they called tasting plates. So this isn’t a full meal sort of like a sampler. I would imagine the best way to describe it would be almost like tapas. However these plates are usually served from 4-6 pm. Needless to say we ordered them ALL.
Bread Basket
First up was quick cooked squid with olive oil, chilly, garlic and coriander. This was a simple rustic dish with basic flavours that really appealed to me. I enjoyed the fact that this was fresh squid and not the regular frozen packet squid rings or calamari.
Squid
Goat cheese samosa – very unlike the traditional samosas you would expect these little ones stuffed with goat’s cheese and wrapped in a thin layer of puff pastry with a drizzle of honey is a light snack. Not a wow dish but enjoyable all the same.
Goat Cheese Samosa
Crisp smoked scarmoza and polenta stick with parmesan fondue. The hero of the dish is the parmesan fondue. On its own the polenta sticks are very ok but once its dipped in the thick fondue it’s delightful. I would definitely eat this again.
Polenta Sticks With Parmesan Fondue
Zucchini fries with mint chutney were lovely crunchy fritters. Sort of tempura like only less fried batter and more zucchini which I am extremely grateful for. I hate the excessive fried stuff I feel like I’m eating badly made wafers. The mint chutney adds a nice spicy hint to the fries; I’d recommend this as well.
Zucchini Fries With Mint Chutney
White truffle risotto with pureed cauliflower and peppercorn had a mild but distinct cauliflower flavour running through it. The only drawback I felt was that the risotto was almost mashed. Border line lumpy. The rice was cooked well I just wish the grains weren’t stuck together to form a lump of risotto, the creaminess was missing but the flavours were bang on and you could taste all the elements on the plate.
White Truffle Risotto With Pureed Cauliflower
Slow poached lamb balls in Asian stock. I’m partial to Asian flavours so this curry like broth was a big hit for me. I think it would be lovely with rice or some bread to mop up that broth.
Slow Poached Lamb Balls In Asian Stock
Two way stuffed mushrooms which was stuffed with mushroom duxelle and cream cheese was seated on a plum sauce. I didn’t care whether the plum sauce was there or not because I adored these little mushroom pops. An additional dipping sauce would have been a nice touch but it didn’t really need it.
Two Way Stuffed Mushroom
The feta and watermelon salad has now become a staple on most menus. I don’t know why we ordered this because it wasn’t something new to try and you can’t go wrong with it. This one lived up to its refreshing reputation and was enjoyable although we wasted most of it.
Feta And Watermelon Salad
The ajilo prawns were served on soup spoons and came with a little broth. I’ve eaten the same dish elsewhere and the prawns came dunked in the broth so it felt like eating soup. This was just the right amount of broth with it unless of course you were going to eat rice or bread with it. Sadly we got engrossed in conversation and the prawns were on the table for a while before we took a bite so cold prawns didn’t have the effect we were looking for but we could tell it was a superb dish. Sigh.. Note to self. Eat first talk later!
Prawns Ajilo
The 8 hour braised lamb shanks with creamy polenta isn’t what my first choice would be but a meat lover would devour it. The mashed polenta was gritty but complimented the lamb and a change from potatoes. The red wine jus was superb though.
8 Hour Braised Lamb Shanks With Creamy Polenta
The pan seared trout with bacon pepper and herb almonds was more up my alley. When I’m dining out my first preference for a main will be a well cooked fish. The combination of meat and fish is still new to me and I love it. The bacon bits were a perfect touch and the fish was soft and excellently cooked. The bed of mash potatoes completed the dish and even though we all shared and didn’t finish anything we ordered, the fish was definitely worth it.
Pan Seared Trout With Bacon Pepper And Herb Almonds
I wasn’t bothered with dessert at all but the boys opted for a red velvet cake with berry compote a sour cherry sorbet which was too strong for me and a raspberry one which I quite enjoyed. 
Raspberry And Sour Cherry Sorbets

Red Velvet Cake With Berry Compote
They urged me to try the Crème Brule of the day with fresh fruit but I had no interest in it because it was flavoured with dark chocolate. I’m so thankful that I did try it because this was the most delicious Brule I have ever eaten. I thought there would be this strong dark chocolate taste throughout but no. The flavours were subtle and the Brule itself was perfectly made. The tulle and fresh fruits on top just added to the Brule experience. They definitely saved the best for the last and I’m coming back for that Crème Brule very soon !
Creme Brule