Jyran – The Sofitel (BKC, Mumbai)

The Sofitel, run by the French group Accor, has a similar temperament to its national sports heroes. The French Rugby Team, ever since William Webb Ellis picked up a football and started running with it, has always suffered from a peculiar variability in performance. “Les Bleus” are known on some days for “champagne rugby”, involving intricate, attacking moves from anywhere in the park , and on other days for careless, slap dash play that looks like a bunch of misfit barbarians throwing an oval shape ball around a playground.

This is apt for Sofitel Mumbai. On the high points, you have first rate service in the downstairs bar. A well-spoken bar-manager, Kevin, attends patrons with warmth and amiability and even has time to dole out a few complimentary cheese samples, all without the unnecessary pandering you find elsewhere. At the same time, you have a duty manager who forgets to read positive feedback emails and a vegetarian restaurant (Tuskers) dishing out hum-drum fare.

Jyran fits somewhere in between. It is every bit the “champagne” of design that puts similar restaurants like Peshwari or Masala library to shame. From the extensive use of lighting (rustic chandeliers, individual spot lighting, table lanterns) or the white wide-body chairs with wicker backing to the superlative use of glass around the bar, Jyran exudes finesse and sophistication without unease (a difficult balancing act in India).

The food, in short, is not earth-shattering, but simple and plated with style and attention to detail. An off the menu starter of Tandoori Sabzi (cauliflower, courgettes, peppers and onions) is a good beginning; the vegetables are well cooked and the spices are simple but enough to lift an ordinary plate of veg. My companion sends the side of onions back, believing they have been sitting around for too long in the kitchen. The other appetiser, Paneer Tikka, I have little recollection.

The Bhindi Masala is a flavourful dish, owing to a rather liberal but not overpowering use of Amchoor (mango powder) and the trelice garnish of julienned ginger and tomatoes is a nice touch. The complimentary black daal was appreciated for its richness, given the swirl of ghee and cream on top, leaving me uttering the words of Oliver Twist “Please Sir, I want some more”.

Jyran is never going to be wallet friendly. We comfortably racked up 4k INR a head on a limited number of dishes and a couple of drinks. For those who are more concerned by the food, I think Peshwari would be a better choice, but Jyran has an unparalleled ambience amongst fine-dine Indian restaurants. At the end of the day, that’s what you are paying for here…

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