Rainforest Resto-Bar (Kurla, Mumbai)

It would be very easy to lambast a themed restaurant like Rainforest cafe and launch a stink-bomb of dismissive adjectives like “tacky”, “gimmicky” or “unsophisticated”. Trying to recreate the jungle in a restaurant in a city mall is clearly an unrealistic goal. Nevertheless, you can’t fault the place for the way in which it has given at least some regard to “ambience”, unlike the new breed of clinically lit restaurants that look more like doctor’s waiting rooms than dining establishments.

The candelight dinner associations (a goose-neck spot light in this case) might be bound with cliches of man and woman sat eye-to-eye exchanging nauseating romantic and flirtatious one liners, however when done well, the Candlelight Dinner still remains one of the greatest tools of the romantic Epicurean. This rendezvous is filled with neither romantic energy or flirtatious one liners. In fact, it’s all so unromantic I’m tempted to bleat those caustic words of a Thomas Hardy novel about the lady opposite being “upon the whole, a sort of fay, or sprite– not a woman!” (Jude The Obscure) .

The food showed promised from the outset. Tandoori stuffed potatoes with paneer were an exceedingly comforting and pleasurable combination. The Hara Bhara Kebabs were equally pleasant, although I was left searching for anything other than ketchup to eat them with.

On to the mains and this is where it all quickly took a turn for the worse. Upon consideration, we had to send back the Bhindi (Okra) which was unbearably hard – imagine gnawing away at wooden bark and you might get close. The Daal Makhani that replaced it was no better, being exceedingly sweet and with little else going for it.

Despite the novel ambience, it’s hard to make amends with main courses like these…

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