The Asian food scenario in Mumbai is exploding with new flavours, trendy places making space for themselves amidst high end malls, industrial areas and bringing in a new wave with a change of palette, luxurious settings and delicious food. The newest entrant to hit the city is FOO, an Asian Tapas Restaurant that will enamour you with their chic choice of interiors and a splendid selection of food across Asia. Experimentation is something that we are truly witnessing in the food scenario in the city and this place, by the Tham Brothers, is definitely one to look out for.
FOO, located at High Street Pheonix, Lower Parel, is an upscale, modern yet surprisingly well priced restaurant that speaks volumes about the progressive Asian food scenario in Mumbai. With letters worded in bright red, this place exudes a vibrant, vivacious charm, right from the entrance. The glass doors lead to a gigantic open space that is mixed with different colours, polished textures and uneven flooring that keep the space interesting and unique. A bright pink cherry blossom tree will whisk you away and the sake barrels with a buzzing bar next to it create a lively, upbeat atmosphere. The seating is distributed depending on the number of people you are dining with and a long table is laid out towards the end, catering to larger groups. The high raised ceiling makes the place spacious, something we really crave for in Mumbai and the coloured walls, high rise chairs and quirky armchairs in the middle of the conventional dining set up, make for an irregularly interesting viewing.
The menu created by Eric Sifu, starts off stating that the name of the restaurant originates from the Chinese word ‘Foo’ which essentially means ‘good luck’ and is a character that can be seen on the entrance of many Chinese homes worldwide. The menu ranges from soups, salads, a wide assortment of sushi and dimsums followed by small plates, steamed FOO baskets, big plates and desserts. The bar menu created by Dimi Lazinksa is extensive and inclusive of close to 30 different varieties of sake, 8 negronis and cocktails and mocktails with different types of bases. The cocktails are Asia specific and are concoctions that are created keeping in mind the theme and essence of the restaurant with in-house mixers and special Asian ingredients.
We requested a table by the window and started our meal. The first appetiser that we really wanted to sample was the Wasabi Edamame Truffle Dumplings and the Charcoal Har Gao Dimsums. Though Wasabi is an ingredient that can truly pack a punch and sometimes become unsavoury and pungent for most taste buds, it rarely fails to impress in a beautifully cooked dumpling. The Edamame Truffle Dumplings were soft, succulent and bursting with flavours that came from a fine mixture of the smooth edamame and a rich filling of truffle. The Charcoal Har Gao Dimsums came with a black outer cover and creates a sense of curiosity as one bites into the unusually coloured dimsum. The endless flow of Tapas come in portions of 3 or 4 for a single portion ordered and deliver the essence of the dish beautifully. From the sushi menu, we ordered the Peruvian Lobster Sushi Roll which is equally delectable and melts in the mouth, but could be one that gave the lobster a bit more attention. Every dish on the menu is made with the finest quality ingredients and served in the traditional manner with a contemporary take on a few select dishes to cater to the varying taste buds. The Pink Peppercorn Prawns come with a crispy covering that adds a crunch as you bite into the softer inner prawn which is full of robust flavours and coated in lots of red chillies, adding a great deal of spice to the dish. The menu offers a wide array of dishes for the main course and picking from the seemingly sumptuous variety can be quite a task. We zeroed down on the famous Japanese Blue Fried Rice accompanied by the Hot Bean Water Chestnut Curry. The Japanese blue rice is a seductive combination of butter and chopped carrots fried along with rice. The whole experience comes to an end once the main course is done, but not quite! No matter how full you are, there is always room for dessert, right? And especially when the desserts look this appetising, there is absolutely no resisting a sweet treat after overloading oneself with yummy savoury items.
For the dessert, we went for the Black Marble Sesame Cheesecake, which comes in a vibrant black colour complimenting the vibe of the place. A dollop of ice cream placed on the side tempts you to dig your spoon into the layered cheesecake, scoop up some ice cream in your spoon and take a wholesome bite. And we guarantee, this dessert does not disappoint. The sparkling top layer, a soft gooey middle layer and a crunch at the bottom is what cheesecake dreams are made of.
It was quite a soiree as we finished platefuls of food that would otherwise seem impossible to finish amongst two people. And yet, when the quality of food is supreme, the presentation and service thoughtful, warm and welcoming, this can seem like an easy task. I would definitely recommend FOO to anyone who desires a sumptuous Asian meal. The Tapas style of dining is something that can be unique, exciting and possibly new for people in the city who have been used to a conventional dining routine and a solid flow of 3 to 5 courses in progression. With a scrumptious Asian Tapas menu, this is an outlet worth your time and money!