People of Mumbai, are you pining to travel? Where would you like to go first? Dubai, is it? Before you wither any longer, we have news that will give you major refuge. Till you actually visit the Middle-East in safer conditions, we would be thrilled to suggest a mini-Middle East right in the middle of Mumbai City. Nestled at the hub of entertainment Lower Parel where all the action of Mumbai takes place, replete with great food, ambiance, friends, and a whole lot of food, Diablo is no different. It’s nuzzled where Tamasha once did, a contemporary restaurant and bar that could easily be a first-of-its-kind concept where authenticity meets modern ingredients. The fact that the Middle-East inspires it becomes apparent when you set foot inside the commodious eatery. The place is flanked by more chandeliers than people (blame it on Covid-19) in startling hues of deep green, orange and accompanied by statement decor pieces like illuminated peacocks and a washroom splendid it that resembles ornate palaces.
The music is thumping, with a DJ spinning out catchy tunes right in the middle of the medieval-vibe lounge and ensures you keep your feet busy while you ogle a menu that’s new and interesting. Ultimately, it all comes down to food. Still, for those coming here to savor a mezze platter, you will be filled with a good time nonetheless owing to a mystical ambiance,12 signature handcrafted gothic blends, besides a wide variety of delicacies. However, for those who want to know what the food is like, let’s cut the mystery and say it’s a contrast between some lip-smacking dishes and some not-too-bad ones.
I began my meal with some mezze picks like black hummus that was made out of black chickpeas and not black in color, Muhammara (a spicy puree made of peppers, walnuts, and olives), and a beautiful bread basket comprising lavash, Turkish balloon, zaatar naan, pitta, and naane taftoon. Hummus is a dish that Mumbai has mastered already, so no surprises there, the Muhammara was good and then better due to the freshly baked bread. Next came more filling options like Meygoo Jonoori, Southern-style king prawn tossed in shallots, and parsley. This dish did nothing for me had it not been for the tasty sides like a tiny glass jar of lemon juice, some sour cream garlic, etc.; all-in-all too much effort to enjoy a lackluster offering. The prawn lacked flavor; the Koobideh Kebap was more than made up for and was the best dish of the evening. It looked spectacular, hand-pressed lamb mince skewer laid out on a longish piece of bread accompanied with garlic butter, mint, and tahini. What a delight this kebap dish was! A bomb of flavor exploding in our mouths with no need for the delicious accompaniments and soft as skin.
Needless to say, this dish seriously raised the bar of expectation, and lucky for us, we dived straight into ‘Tavurcun,’ which was simply a thin crust Turkish-style pizza with luscious minced chicken, lemon, and roquette. I also opted for a dish from the chargrill called ‘Jujeh Kebap,’ a chicken dish marinated in saffron and spices served with Zaffran rice, charred pepper (completely skippable), garlic dipping, and Shirazi (a salsa-like salad).
For mains, we were first blown away by a braised lamb ravioli that amalgamated two different cultures seamlessly, followed by an adequate cauliflower penne garnished with enoki mushroom and chili oil. The L’Ham M’Hammar left me puzzled because I wholeheartedly enjoyed the Moroccan-style roast lamb that was succulent and scrumptious. Still, the Zaffran pulao it was teamed with really deducted from my pleasures. Unless it is a norm to serve charred pepper and tomatoes with all dishes (entrees and mains), I urge the fantastic team at Diablo to save some and not serve the same combinations with every dish.
Moving on to the desserts, at the risk of sounding harsh, they were drab as the Middle-East deserts. It was a heartbreaking end to an enjoyable evening that the Turkishmisu could’ve salvaged; after all, how wrong can one go with Baileys, right? But the not cold, not too sweet Baileys mascarpone did not evoke any reaction. About the chocolate chili mousse- this dark chocolate mousse with a chili orange reduction (diabolical themed?) is an acquired taste, one that I wished to wash off with a gargle of black hummus.
Where: Diablo, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Worli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013