The news of a festive set menu at the Taj restaurants in Mumbai priced at Rs 1,500 only (inclusive of taxes), an invitation to review it and I was game to go, test it for myself! The offering which didn’t seem like an otherwise bank-breaking splurge was a unique collaboration across the 5 Taj hotels in Mumbai keeping in mind the whole, vibrant festive week which was upon us. This was valid across all the Taj properties across Mumbai. While this left me in a multitude of thoughts on this concept of affordable luxury, this fresh appreciation for affordable dining by the Taj also seemed very impressive.
The exclusive luncheon festive menu across Taj restaurants in the city has been functional on all week days only from September 5 – 9 and September 12 – 16. The idea behind this set menu was capitalizing on the festive fervour to dish out an offering which enables people to enjoy the treat at a reasonable rate and familiarize them to the Taj dining experiences. I decided to try out the Souk at the Taj Mahal Palace and the Masala Bay at the Taj Lands End as their festive set menu seemed very promising to me.
A scenic backdrop of the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India took my breath away as I stepped inside the Souk restaurant at the Taj Mahal Palace situated on the 19th floor. A large copper wall tooled with Moorish verses adorned the stunning space which was embedded with elite class interiors throughout. My table facing the window offered me a bird’s eye-view of the city. With the reputation of being the most iconic hotel in the city and one of the top 10 in the world, I shouldn’t have expected anything less!
The word ‘Souk’ means a marketplace or part of an Arab city. The wow-inducing rooftop restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Simon Shakour who spearheads the operations for the Souk took me through the festive menu which comprised of one soup, a choice between two mains and a dessert. The menu didn’t have me spoilt for choice but the portions did correct my impressionism that it was enough to suffice small to moderate eaters.
I started off with the Shorba Dijaj, a traditional Lebanese soup made with appetising chicken broth and vermicelli which hit the right spot. For the mains, the Spanakos Menemen was a creamy mixture of spinach potato and feta cheese served in potato pancake which was the highlight of the meal. This was also the surprise element of the meal. Little did I know that the humble potatoes when packed with some flavour could transcend into a meal fit for a king.
Next arrived the Samak Meshwi, which was a charcoal grilled fillet of bekti fish. As I began to dig into it, the remarkable marination in Turkish spices came across as perfect. For desserts, there was a rose petal ice cream and the signature baklava. As I binged on the smooth, rich, handful of edible rose petals that awakened my taste-buds , I understood what it is like to savour a royal, Middle-Eastern meal.
The climax of the meal was baklava, a traditional, scrumptious Lebanese phyllo and mixed nut pastries which I thought goes with a cup of joe like a dream! Basking into the pungent flavours of the Middle-East did help me feel the festive fervour and familiarized me to the Souk Restaurant which is worth raving about. Impressed by the ingenuity, authenticity and even luxury, I felt that the mélange of flavours made me feel nothing short of celestial, something that sums up a perfect festive feast!
Address: The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Apollo Bunder, Opposite Gateway of India,
Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
Phone: 022 6665 3366
Price: Rs 1,500 (only for the festive set menu)