In Which The Mad Hatter Roots For Salt Water Cafe

Here is what happens when a thirty something decides to splurge her meager income on all things food related – a perpetual state of being cash strapped. Yes, food is an expensive passion, and rates right next to extreme sports in occupational hazards. If you don’t watch yourself, you will soon find yourself deprived of a healthy bank balance and a healthy lifestyle. I have, unfortunately, walked that territory in the past and learned the hard way that a true blue food lover need not be a slave to that beast in the belly.
It makes sense then, to find some sort of a balance, between indulgence and your sanity. In my world, that translates into keeping dining out restricted to attractive food bargains at some of the Ivy League restaurants in the city. In the past, I waited, like the city’s many food enthusiasts, for the Restaurant Week that used to be the highlight of our eating out calendar every year. This year, however, they sort of lost the plot, like many good business stories do. So I instantly changed loyalties, and headed straight for what in my amateur opinion is one of the best sites for hunting out some rather fabulous deals. Gourmetitup.com is the online version of my 4 am friend. If ever I am running short of money and destinations for our monthly Dining Date, I can count on this site to spring up some pleasant surprises. And the fact that they have managed a constant inventory of attractive pre-set menu packages speaks volumes in today ephemeral hospitality environment.

So, having been let down by the Big Week, I wept on Gourmetitup’s shoulder and it offered me a sprightly pick-me-up in the form of a 3 course menu at the Salt Water Café at Bandra. Add to this a rather fetching reward of 3 beers or sangrias with my meal, and of course, a choice had been made.

Now, there is a bit of a history to why I chose this particular deal. The husband had been once to Salt Water Café, and for whatever reasons, came back extremely disappointed. My own experience at the place had been entirely different, and I wanted to see if this meal could wipe off a past, bad memory. I had one look at the extensive menu with soups, salads, starters, mains and desserts and had an intuitive calling that this would, indeed, have a happy ending.

So on a Sunday afternoon, when it threatened to rain, but didn’t, and when we were expecting a lot of traffic on the road, but there wasn’t any, we headed to the Salt Water Café for a lunch date. I had already made a booking online, and we were presented a GourmetItUp Menu, which is quite extensive and does not leave you wanting for choice.  
Polenta Crusted Chicken with spiced Chili Dip, and Beer Battered Seafood with Lemon Aioli were our choices for starters, and we were quite satisfied with both. The crunch of Polenta complimented the well cooked chicken, and the Battered Seafood was crisp and flavorful. The lemon Aioli was the star of this dish, and gave an airy and tangy dimension to a deep fried dish.

For the main course, I was torn between the Gnocchi and the Basa, and as usual, my carnivorous side had a better argument, though I cannot recall what it was. Anyhow, the jury voted for Plancha Seared Basa with Hay Smoked Potatoes and Citrus Butter. By now, the husband, his spirits lifted with good food and two beers, was opening his heart and taste buds to Salt Water Café, and wanted House Spiced Tenderloin with Garlic Whipped Potatoes and Whiskey Jus. Among the two main courses, I am partial to mine, but then, I haven’t ever warmed up to very many faces of beef. The Basa was just the right helping size, and there are not many things that a generous dollop of citrus butter cannot elevate to iconic status.

To accompany our third and final glasses of Beer and Sangria respectively, the husband and I, after a brief moment of indecision, settled upon a Crème Brûlée and a Flourless Chocolate Fudge for dessert. The Crème Brûlée was, well, a bit vanilla, and had been prettier in its appearance than it was in its essence. The Flourless Chocolate Fudge, now here was a darling I would like to have again. Just the thing you need for a weekend sugar high.

All in all, the lunch was a success on several counts. No severe damages to finances. A happy husband. A fabulous meal, and a rather delicious conversation: An absolute must for a successful Dining Date. Sanity intact. Now on to the next date.

PS: Unless otherwise mentioned, Mad hatter and Family pay for their meals, review anonymously, and leave without much fuss unless a dead donkey is floating around in the soup. In short, this is not a sponsored review. 

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