Inclusivity in the food scene has been a topic often touched-upon but not always implemented. Enter Ishaara-a modern Indian restaurant run by a service -staff that is among the best in the business. And rightly, the fact that they are speech and hearing impaired is almost incidental to the culinary experience. A brainchild of Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah of Stratix Hospitality in partnership with Impresario Handmade Restaurants- our rendezvous with this stunner of a restaurant has been one of the best we’ve had in the city.
Design-wise, an abstract take on plush tropical trees illuminates the restaurant, coupled with the minimal intervention of metal and concrete on the bar and counters. The furniture is made up of teak wood and natural veneers, which is highlighted by grand Venetian terrazzo flooring. The menu is illustrated with simple instructions to be able to seamlessly communicate an order to the servers through sign language. Every server also has a sign name printed on the back of their t-shirts. They not only encourage the diners to communicate with them, but also with each other.
Going to the food, we highly-recommend the exquisitely-done Sweet Potato Brulee chaat which is brûléed until it develops a crispy sugar coating. The Punjabi Samosa Chole and Pani Puri are other flavour-bomb of chaats-tongue-tickling and divine. Not to be missed is the succulence that makes for Ishaara’s kebab offerings. Be it the Paneer Dori Kebab unwrapped slowly like a surprise that is as soft is cotton and as sumptuous as it can get or the Tandoor Brocolli that comes served with a cold crème fraiche dip giving the delish kebab a brilliant modern spin.
The Dori Kebab Mutton a warm pâté-like dish with a hint of kevda is arguably the gold-standard in kebabs which is as smooth as the silk thread it encases. It is flavoured delicately with vetiver, saffron et al. Cooked in tandoor where a smoky creation makes it to your table , the silk thread playing its part of tearing the kebab into irresistible bite-sized pieces.
For the mains, we tried the Dal Haveli and Sufiyani Chicken Biryani-both cooked with perfection and are definitely blockbuster dishes. Desserts here are an unmissable affair that screams culinary excellence in every bite. Try the decadent Flourless Chocolate Brownie here and you won’t enjoy another one, anywhere else like you devoured this one. The Motichoor ice-cream is another hit.
Ishaara effortlessly serves nuances of regional cuisine with some interesting modern twists. In an arena, where a plethora of restaurants emerge every day, it is rare to stumble upon on a meal that is perfect from the start to the end. And here, this was it… But the heart of this mastery has to be attributed to Ishaara’s staff which is sensitive as well as sharp and makes your dining experience such a stellar one with their warm presence and attention to every detail, striving to make your gastronomic experience the best one. They have demonstrated their capability and you can sense that in the pride with which the founders talk of their staff. All this positivity and love transcends into the food making Issar’s Ishaara an unmatched gastronomic experience, one that very few restaurants might be able to achieve – it’s the one that leaves you smiling ear-to-ear.
Note: The critic was invited by the restaurant but all the opinions expressed herewith are her own
3rd Floor, No 462, Palladium Mall, High Street Phoenix,
Tulsi Pipe Rd, Lower Parel, Mumbai