The Rolling Pin (Lower Parel, Mumbai)

Whilst travelling on Mumbai’s local train network I was reminded of one of the enduring epithets of the city, “too many people, too little space”. There are so many places which I visit that I simply do not have the time, inclination or sufficient recall to review thoroughly. However today, standing on that local train, my mind cast back to that crowded scene from The Rolling Pin, where a factory line of workers in the narrow galley kitchen, make an array of breads and desserts. It might seem a rather tenuous connection, but such is the disjointed and rather haphazard nature of human memory.

The exposed metallic piping and bare ceiling at TRP (because every “cool” restaurant has to have an acronym) were I suppose customary nods to the former textile mills of Parel. The dirty cleaning apparatus – buckets, mops, cloths – strewn around the restaurant was clearly not an intentional architectural flourish, however. The solitary toilet was also filthy; I think you might have found a cleaner one at Parel station.

Above all, I want to love the concept – pure vegetarian patisserie – clearly aimed at our Jain and Gujarati Soboites (South Bombayites as we say) and as such was trying to find any possible justification for the cleanliness issues above. Yet I’m still left searching for any.

There is little salvation in the food either. The Italian Crepe is nothing short of horrific (1/5). To be served a hard ersatz dosa in place of a soft crepe is lamentable. What’s worse is this dosa-like creation has been folded several times so it feels like chewing thick 20mm plyboard (I did try once when I was a little toddler). The filling was tasty- mozzarella and tomato lavishly coated in pesto sauce – although after 30 seconds of using my knife like a band-saw, I had given up trying to reach it.

The Pizza was a marginally better effort (2/5). Although the cheese had a strangely insipid, stringy and falsely pale look about it, the sort of colour that one who had just surfaced from Joseph Fritzl’s underground basement might have. I appreciate mozzarella is a pale cheese, but this certainly wasn’t any normal or half decent mozzarella.

The double cheese veg burger was the best main course (3/5) and at 200 INR certainly would suit many a thrifty Gujarati wallet. The bread bun was excellent and fresh and so too was the choice of salad (tomato, lettuce, onions with mayo dressing). I’ll forgive the American cheese single on the top of the bun for the deep fried breadcrumbed veggie patty was pleasant.

On a previous visit, I had tried a strawberry tart which was a good effort for eggless pastry (3.5/5). The strawberries were fresh, the pastry was crisp, but the crème patisserie was a tad congealed.

I did notice many of the tables around us were exceptionally quick diners with some staying as little as 15 minutes. At this point, I realised the error in my ways. No one actually comes to TRP for the savoury food; in the best case scenario, you might wish to squeeze in a quick slice of cake (preferably not the garishly coloured varieties) or a dainty patisserie, but it’s advisable not to delve any further.

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