For any foodie looking to explore the exciting culinary landscape of Mumbai, a visit to Bayroute is a must. The beige hand-textured stucco walls and exposed piping give the restaurant an edge, while the MDF panelling for the bar, metal in antique brass finish paired with natural stones like Jaisalmer and Indian marble and fluted glass add a playful touch to the ambience.
The flickering candles and blinking light bulbs balance natural and artificial light. But what we liked the most were the striking hot air balloon-shaped light holders that have a stark resemblance to the amazing spectacle at Cappadocia, Turkey. The establishment's exterior boasts old-world charm that looks elegant and modern at the same time. The colours are quintessential to five countries – Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, and Greece, the atmosphere is lively and inviting.
We recently drove down to one of the outlets of Bayroute in Juhu to try out their 5th-year anniversary menu. The community-style dining space offers an array of dishes in their à la carte menu but the customised menu offers the very best of Middle Eastern cuisine. All five outlets in the city – BKC, Powai, Lower Parel, Juhu, and Cuffe Parade will feature the same menu for five weeks. Expect an array of carefully crafted dishes, each a fusion of traditional Mediterranean flavours with a modern twist. The food menu invited us to a fusion of Morocco, Persia, and Moroccan cuisines, carefully crafted by culinarians, who bring over a decade of succulence to the table.
We started with Harissa Chicken Kebab and Truffle Trida N Cheese. The melt-in-mouth chicken won us over. Marinated and grilled to perfection, the Harissa Chicken Kebab was the highlight of our meal. Unfortunately, we tried the chicken first and then we had no room for anything else, for we didn't want to compromise on the taste we just had. The cherry on the cake was the dates and jaggery molasses cream which accompanied the chicken.
Our veg platter of Truffle Trida N Cheese was delicious too. The Algerian pasta squares, we learn, were soaked in garlic cream and herbs. The golden fried crumbed balls arrived with truffle pepper dip. First bite and we were in for a big surprise with the art of preparing these little balls of magic. The platter comes with five portions which are enough for two people and when paired with the dip, they taste heaven.
Apart from the food, what we also loved was the place's warmth and extremely good service, similar to how a host treats you when you are in the Middle East. If you are planning to go to the Juhu outlet, we recommend spending time at the diner. The interior and the delicious food combined with the wonderful service make Bayroute a perfect spot for a family outing and a lot of conversation.
Our session continued with the heady aroma of saffron coasted through the air. Roz Bukhari from the land of Saudi Arabia arrived on our table. The fragrant rice pilaf scented with saffron, kabsa spice mix topped with roasted cauliflower, potato and root veggies with a plethora of nuts served with Salata Hara – fresh herbs and spicy tomato sauce on the side is probably what we needed to end our night. The spicy tomato sauce tasted like Salsa and the Roz Bukhari, apart from the cooked vegetables, tasted near to the Pulao. It didn't quite stand up to our expectations but if you are looking for a clean and light ending to your meal, Roz Bukhari is a perfect choice. Despite the tantalising fragrance, the masalas and the flavour didn't translate into the taste of the rice. Maybe the taste of Harissa Chicken Kebab overruled the following dishes. We paired our meal with an Aleppo Chilli Guava mocktail and a cocktail of Turkish Malt Whisky and vodka.
For those, who want to experiment with Middle-Eastern cuisine, their delicious Turkish Baked Jacket Potato is a must-try for starters. Layered with light, soft, whipped mashed potatoes, buttery, umami steamed peas, with a hint of acidity from a Russian salad, and smoked cheese topped with herby, flavourful labneh and spicy harissa, this crispy dish is a delight. Their classic mezze platters, with a variety of dips unrivalled in quality, such as hummus, baba ganoush, and tabbouleh are famous among their regulars.
We didn't have space for desserts, but their Egyptian semolina cake with coconut flakes is a melt-in-mouth delicacy. Drenched in sweet-and-sour orange and rose syrup, the classic cake is served in pieces with light lemon cream and rich saffron caviar. Persian Tulumba, made with fried pastries, soaked in sensational cardamom and saffron syrup, and served on a rose petal ganache is a genius dish, while the chocolate cheesecake with fruit coulis and barry compotes is nothing less than a Greek adventure. This dessert is special because you break a white chocolate sphere to get to the cake underneath it. Apart from their illustrious food menu, their bar menu boasts a host of experimental cocktails and mocktails.
Available till November 30
Price: Rs 2,000 + for two