Contributed by Hrishikesh Thakkar
Every restaurant claims to be unique; Quattro Ristorante in Mumbai can actually live up to this claim. There aren’t too many restaurants in the city that offer strictly vegetarian, and even Jain-approved, Mexican and Italian cuisine. What’s more is that their menu is not pithy; it is as elaborate and expansive as a wealthy Mexican’s sombrero. And they serve alcohol as well!
While escorting us to our table, Mr Khote, the manager of the restaurant, informed us that Quattro’s clientele unsurprisingly comprises of patrons from Gujarati, Marwari and Jain communities. That it is already popular amongst these diners is easy to see – on a Wednesday night, the place was packed. And noisy.
The decor is dim-lit but not dark. The ambience strives to be subtly elegant, though this is drowned in the ambient cacophony as the place fills up. Gazing at the tiny cascading waterfall in a covered glass slit on our table, we started our meal with the Broccoli and Cheese Soup (295). Cheesy and creamy, the presence of broccoli was evident in the presentation; not quite much in the taste. The three varieties of breads served with the soup are prepared at Quattro’s bakery in Ghatkopar, Rolling Pin.
A SPREAD-OUT MENU
The menu accommodates quintessential Mexican fare, cleverly replacing meat-heavy dishes with vegetarian alternatives in a very natural fashion. The antipasti then came rolling in like a MexItalian culinary freight train! One after the other, they were enticing with their ornate presentation and attention to detail. The Orange and Poached Pear Insalata (295) opened up our taste buds with its sweet and zesty orange dressing. The slices of poached pear however, looked and tasted, as if they had sacrificed their flavour during the blanching process.
The Ensalada Castano (295) is supposedly a warm salad. But given the air conditioning unit right above our heads, it lost the temperature. Nonetheless, the avocado dollops and water chestnuts tickled our palates along with the jalapeno pieces and bean gravy served alongside.
What really works up the appetite is the minimalistic yet artsy presentation of each dish. The Nachos Grande (395) and Bruschettas (315) were exactly as one envisaged. The former is saucy and creamy and goes perfectly with the strawberry salsa. The crusty bread complements the toppings of the latter perfectly.
To wash down these dishes, we chose the Ginger and Watermelon Mojito, which had a strong flavor of ginger that complimented the melon’s taste. Quattro also offers a spiced beer in an interesting looking glass, which is enclosed with the top of an inverted beer bottle. First filled with a spicy mix of tabasco sauce and mustard it is then filled with one’s preferred beer brand. The salt-chilly powder spread on the rims adds to the drama and makes it unnecessarily spicy. On the other end, the Kiwi Margherita was everything it should have been and more! Granita-ish in texture, its presentation was equally enticing, served as it is in a cactus stemmed glass.
SERVICE TRULY AIMING TO PLEASE
The service is prompt; in fact too prompt. The freight train continued to stop at our table with such speedy regularity that we had to gobble up the food already on our plates. A heart-warming sight is the extremely generous portion size of each dish. The Enchiladas Grande (435) was quite heavy – not just in looks, but also as its rests in your belly later. Swimming in a green chilly gravy, it explodes in your mouth like a bomb; a tasty Mexican bomb.
The Burrito (455), filled to the brim with Mexican rice and grilled peppers, is served with the works – sour cream, more Mexicano rice, black bean gravy and pico de gaio. These accompaniments are also served with the enchiladas, probably to tone down the spice index, which is courtesy the Cholula sauce that Quattro uses liberally in several of its dishes.
Waiting at the finishing line was the Tres Leches (150); strangely the only Spanish dish on the menu. Drizzled with condensed milk, the moist cake wedge is very coconut-ty. Again, this dish too was a treat to the eyes as well as the palate.
By the time we finished our dinner, it felt like a gastronomic Mexican standoff gone right! The only difference – no humans were harmed, and delicious food was enjoyed instead! Clearly a cut above its counterparts in the vicinity, Quattro has tweaked two popular cuisines to suit the discerning tastes of the well travelled vegetarian Indian. By the looks of it, they’ve nailed it!