Review: The Pier, Mumbai

When you enter The Pier you wish life was like an Eighties television set, so you could whack it on the side and get the image to appear sharper. Situated across the sea at Colaba, the restaurant (once known as Tetsuma) features a long bar running across one side and booth-style tables with giant blue leather sofas plastered across the other. But other than a lone brass diving helmet by the entrance there is little else that adds character. The air in the windowless space sits thick, making the atmosphere seem fuzzy. Owner Sameer Chhabria admits that changes in decor are in order. A willingness to ponder on flaws is no doubt a good sign. But let's get to the meat of why we are here.

The menu that’s positioned as modern European includes ingredients like scallops, pork belly, quinoa, lobster, oysters and calamari. At the risk of coming across all Julie Andrews, these really are a few of our favourite things. But what seems amiss is a dab of innovation or quirk that the word ‘modern’ seems to indicate.  

We have two go-s at the mushroom cappuccino; the first is a watery, under-seasoned version but the second thankfully is thick, creamy and foamed up like a bathtub in a honeymoon suite. While the quinoa salad is the best we’ve eaten in the city, the braised pork belly with apple cinnamon jus has so much fat, it almost borders on vulgar. Sure, Good pork belly needs fat, like hummus needs garlic, like Chuck needs Blair (like we need a holiday.) But with the amount of fat on that dish (a good inch, we reckoned) you might well need to order a defibrillator for dessert.

The beef tartar is rather good. The meat is at that glorious point of almost total collapse and the sauce is so sticky and shiny you could use it to tan up the cast of Jersey Shore.The lack of creativity in the way the food menu is devised is adequately countered by the alcohol menu (thrice the size of the former). Using liqueurs infused in-house there are strange and wonderful shots that come in vivid colours and even more vivid flavours - tiramisu, coffee, bubblegum and even the localised paan to name a few.

Desserts comprise the usual suspects: pannacotta, tiramisu, crème brulee et al, leaving us craving epicurean ingenuity. It's all very nearly, but not quite, and when the food menu is relatively small, that's a problem. It’s not something that can’t be sorted in time. But for now, you want to whack the menu on the side too, so it all might come into satisfactory focus. 

GQ Recommends: The American white quinoa tabouli salad, the Lobster Bisque and the Beef tartar with slow poached egg yolk

Service: Warm and friendly

Innovation: low

Snooty factor: Medium to high

Celeb-o-meter: Local corporate honchos and socialites

Classic Potential: Medium – with the right tweaks

Vibe: Ideal setting for a power lunch or a late night dinner and drinks with friends

Price: Rs 3500  for two (excluding alcohol)

Address: 41/42 Minoo Desai Marg, Behind Radio Club, Colaba

-Megha Shah

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