Vetro – The Oberoi (Nariman Point, Mumbai)

 “I’m a badass”. In the restaurant world, it’s always the bad ass diner who opts for a soufflé during a busy lunch service. Soufflé making is frought with danger; they are prone to sinking & the upmost precision is needed in cooking time to ensure the texture is correct (pillowy soft but with some resilience). The waiting staff also fill with trepidation at the thought and have their stock lines about lengthy delays at the tip of the tongue. The Soufflé order is the most alpha gesture as it gets. You might as well walk up to the chef, look him straight in the eye and utter the words of the famous cook Delia Smith “let’s be ‘avin you”.

As warned, it takes a bit of time for the Parmesan and Truffle Soufflé to arrive and when it does, it’s not perfect but the chef has shown his mettle. The Soufflé is light and well risen with Parmesan and fine truffles working well together. The bed of spinach was over seasoned for my palette however.

The quality of ingredients is commendable; the apotheosis of this being the tomato sauce, which was beyond heavenly. This came as an accomopaniment to the ciabatta style bread and I thoroughly enjoyed ineloquently dunking hunks of bread into the “rosso” sauce.

The off menu Gnocchi Sorrentina was well made. The Gnocchi were a pretty decent attempt and again with such wondrous pomodoro sauce, the dish could never be a failure. The only minor criticism would be the pesto drizzle, which was solely there for aesthetical purposes rather than anything else.

The beetroot tartare was a standout dish. The beetroot sorbet worked well with the finely diced, slightly pickled beetroot and the bite sized fried polenta cakes were a fun addition.

It is rare I say this in India, where in many cases the service is like watching a humourless version of Fawlty Towers, but the service at Oberoi is flawless. Dishes are explained, little tasters promptly brought between courses (the lemon and thyme sorbet the most notable) and even the chef has time for a detailed conversation.

The place itself might not be at the cutting edge of modernity, but the cream leather sofas, white table cloths and the coloured stained glass windows are timeless features.

What I liked most about Vetro is the attention to the finer details, from the delicate shortbread served with the cup of Earl Grey at the end of the meal to the elegant crockery, nothing has been neglected.

Just as again my faith was wavering in the quality of Italian fare in Mumbai “cometh the hour, cometh the restaurant”. Vetro deserves pole position amongst autenthic Italian restaurants in the city.

Thank you

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