Fable (Juhu, Mumbai)

What could be better for an erudite young food critic than a restaurant with books strewn everywhere? Well, to tell you the truth, I was worried Fable in Juhu would be another of Bombay’s “kitschy” restaurant attempts gone wrong. Thankfully, the literary paraphernalia just about works, but not in the way you might expect. The tiled floors, the soft hues, the distressed wooden tables and the “al fresco” dining area, in fact, make for a rustic atmosphere, rather than the wannabe-hipster type I had imagined.

I do sometimes wish we could go back to those days when restaurants were more formal, less casual and at least, somewhat memorable. Nowadays, the yummy mummy club turns up to brunch spots in their “ath-leisure” gear, Beyonce’s term for gym wear; the iron-pumping gents turn up in faded jeans and Ed Hardy t-shirts. For many of a certain income level, restaurants are just another tick on the weekend routine; there is no desire for occasion, no desire for memory.

Sadly in most modern restaurants the food is always so generic; most contemporary menus are littered with incongruous cuisines and dishes. For example, in Bombay, the pizza has become almost ubiquitous no matter where you are. However back in it’s Native Land, the “Pizzeria” is a distinct category of restaurant, normally to describe a casual place that JUST serves pizza, and little else.

Fable doesn’t do a lot to stand out from the crowd. However, the one dish that comes close to memorable at Fable is the “Zucchini (or Courgette if you are of European descent) Spaghetti”. This was a wonderfully simple combination of lightly cooked spiralised courgettes, parmesan, garlic and olive oil with some sliced almonds for good measure. The Kaffir Lime Leaf mojito came a close second, and was a thoroughly decent suggestion from the PR guru across the table.

The quinoa salad, I simply couldn’t come to enjoy with its sickly maple syrup dressing. The gnocchi were well made, the green pool of spinach sauce they came in, not so. The pizza was an ode to every generic pizza I have tasted, with some strange cheese being used and a heap of very young rocket leaves in the middle. With less mature rocket leaves, you miss out on that characteristic pepperiness of the old leaf and might as well use raw spinach instead. The apple pie to finish was a let down, reheated, soggy and served with a side of that universal “whiter than white” synthetic vanilla ice cream.

The inconsistencies in the victuals are made up for by efficient and exceptionally polite service as well as a decent ambience, but still that’s not enough for Fable to fully escape the pool of modern run-of-the-mill restaurants…

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