The review today was conducted by a three year-old boy – this Scouter’s nephew – ghost written by this Scouter and attended by us and two other grown-ups who were used as samplers for taste buds that have barely been around and are mostly used to eating mush.
Look a fly, a big one! Can I have pasta with gummy bears? Is there a real octopus here? Hi!
I usually eat my meals in the company of cartoons. Yesterday, lunch with the family, didn’t seem any different. Maybe because there was no beer and they kept complaining about something called a ‘dry day’. I’m three, but I’ve already been to more restaurants than I can count, sampling pasta in white sauce everywhere I go. Sometimes, I had mushrooms. Yup, I’m adventurous that way.
Yesterday afternoon, we visited Polpo, a new all-day eatery housed inside Shatranj, an old-time Bandra restaurant (my parents used to eat here when they were in school) that re-opened two days ago, also featuring a fine-dine Italian restaurant with old favourites like Pollo Alla Napoli.
First up, how cool is an octopus? And did you know that Polpo is Italian for octopus? This place had got my vote even before we sat down on the low marble top tables, perfect for short people. The space here – 1,200 square feet split into an indoor and outdoor strip – is cute with printed black and white flooring, a wall covered with plants and a long table that usually serves drinks for grown-ups, but yesterday was serving milkshakes with crazy straws. Again, the family was not happy. They had a cow.
Under white-washed arches – words like ‘grotto’ and ‘Cappadocia’ were thrown around – and huge sunny glass doors where I spotted many big flies (yay!), we looked at the menu. This is divided into food I often see at birthday parties – sandwiches, burgers, juice, thick shakes, crepes – and also all-day breakfast and a page of big plate dishes that call themselves mains with names like blackened chicken, grilled prawns and more.
I’m a Crepe by Radiohead
The family decided to order snacky stuff – egg frittata, barbeque chicken crepe and filet fish burger. The manager man was nice enough to bring me pasta in white sauce that was off the menu. It came in a special bowl too. Because I’m special. Or so they told me.
While I dug into my tasty cheese pasta made grown up with carrots and mushrooms and corn (alas no gummy bears!), my fellow-diners waited a long wait for their dishes, and then made all sorts of faces at the food. They smiled as they bit into the barbeque chicken crepe, a plate featuring three cylinders that looked more like kathi rolls that they sometimes buy from a man named Ayub, but they still smiled, saying something about how it was well-flavoured and a yum evening snack. The fish burger with slices of tomato and cucumber made them scrunch their faces, and grope around desperately for salt and repeatedly order something called “spicy mayo” that was supposed to be in there in the first place. It was at this point that my mom had her “go to your room” look on. I was scared for the fish.
The frittata, an egg pie-like circle studded with chicken sausages and peppers got neither a smile nor a frown, so I assumed it was strictly okay – like not as good as the first Madagascar cartoon but not as bad as the third part. The salt shaker, however, was used again.
With the food we drank their special milkshake blended with Cola that I loved. The others sipped tall glasses of iced tea, all the while thinking of sangria. They also thought it would be pertinent for me to tell you that a 30 ml Teachers here costs Rs 250 and an Absolut, Rs 350.
For dessert, we got the Pizookie, mostly because it was fun to say. This, a pizza-cookie, is a freshly baked (allow twenty minutes) giant round biscuit with chocolate chunks on the inside and three scoops of vanilla ice cream on top. The cookie was delicious, soft and sweet, but none of us could have more than once slice. And it’s not good to waste food, so order only if in a big group.
The bill took longer to arrive than the Pizookie, and when it did, the sweet manager man said they couldn’t take my mom’s credit card. The family was not pleased. I on the other hand was ready for my nap, which doesn’t necessarily mean everything I ate made me happy, because I nap around this time every day. While almost passing out, I caught final snatches of conversation – “average food, but great space to chill during the day”, “must return at night for cheap drinks”, “should get rid of the giant flies.” I’m going to have to disagree with that last one. Bugs are cool.
Getting there: Shatranj Napoli, ground floor,12 Union Park, off Carter Road, Bandra (W), call 9820002108, 11 am to 1.30 am, approximately Rs 1,500 for a meal for two without alcohol.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
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