Mediterra (Bandra, Mumbai)

“Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”

I happened upon a huge sign ushering me into the happy hour (2 for 1) at Mediterra. I see many reviewers paying tribute to the romantic roof top setting. I’m not quite sure what’s romantic about sitting on the top of a small low rise building overlooking the hustle and bustle of Hill Road. Al Fresco dining is a beautiful thing, don’t get me wrong, but some consideration to the location is also needed, as coughing up petrol fumes and taking in the cacophony of rickshaws and scooters is not my idea of romantic serenity. The place, however, is tastefully and cleanly decorated with simple white tiles and mosaic-patterned tables.

I ordered from the “Happy Hour” drinks & tapas Menu, two deep fried dishes (one potato and cheese creation and the filo pastry pepper and cheese rolls) as well as the strawberry and basil mojito. All paneer dishes were unavailable with the waiter blaming this on the separate function that was going on. I’m not quite sure why that should have any bearing on the availability of dishes; sounds like another case of inadequate planning.

In a strange chronology, the deep fried potato and cheese balls arrived before the drinks. Glutinous deep fried stodge is the best approximation of these ovular shaped balls. The oil temperature was clearly too low, resulting in a greasy dish. Ahh! The drinks have arrived. The basil and strawberry Mojito was actually quite pleasant after I got past the first hit of grenadine; the ice however looked like the bar-tender had scraped it off the bottom of the freezer. The filo pastry was again a greasy affair and the wolf size pieces inappropriate for “tapas”; not to mention the nondescript cheese used inside.

The bill arrives and I’m reminded of those prophetic words of Virgil “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” (timeo Danaos et dona ferentes). In a wholly avoidable and embarrassing confusion, the restaurant had charged me full price for the tapas. The bill then came back with some slightly reduced price on both the dishes. I enquired as to where the happy hour offer was. After much frenzied discussion between the waiter and manager, the manager informed me that only drinks were on 2 for 1. That was certainly news to me after discussing this with the waiter before even ordering the food.

I paid double the stated amount, explaining to the manager that it was nothing to do with price and was a matter of principle – a customer should not have to wade through the mindless and deceitful bureaucracy of the restaurant’s promotions. It was only after such an extravagant gesture and after explaining that I review restaurants as a pass-time, did the manager reactively suggest I return back with any dining partner of my choice for a complimentary meal.

**So there you go, if anyone would like to have the privilege of dinning with The Connoisseur at a sub-par Mediterranean restaurant for a complimentary meal, please reply below. If not, I will forego such a shambolic experience.

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