I was little apprehensive about going to Neuma, ‘the Karan Johar place’ which had negative reviews on Zomato thanks to their hostess. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be welcomed warmly by the staff who guided me to a table. I was curious about how the Garden Chalet has been reconverted from Indigo to Neuma. They have named each area with different names and the opening garden area with white gravel is called Garden Café – an ideal setting on a rainy day to see it pour outside while you sit under the covers and sip your tea/coffee/cocktail.
Go through the Sun Porch to the Rose Bar on one side and the Blanc on the other The Rose Bar has red roses at windowsill and a pink glow at the bar. Go up to the Bawa Terrace via the wooden stairs. Enter the Nautica with white and blue décor and ship models on the wall. Each room is filled with nostalgia thanks too the artefacts that the architect Ashiesh Shah has sourced from all over.
Their Bar Manager Gunjan Pal tells you about the history behind their signature cocktail Fish House Milk Punch. “The Milk Punch was first created at Philadelphia when the club allowed women to enter for the first time. This was their welcome drink. We have used the base of that recipe to create our own concoction,” he says. The taster of the punch left a smooth taste on the palate.
The exhaustive menu has salads, small plates, flat breads with toppings, pasta, risotto and the mains! The best part, probably, is the fact that there’s a special Vegan menu and the vegetarians have enough options as well.
The cuisine here is, primarily, fusion inspired by Mediterranean. Chef Abhinav Sharma informs that the brief was ‘fuller plates’. “Our aim was to create something innovative, but ensure that all plates are fuller than elsewhere…” And to that one has to agree. Even their small plates are loaded, and the mains are big enough for two, though it’s meant to be a plated portion for one.
Lamb shank with saffron risotto
Vegetarians should surely try the Avocado Mousse served with green peas falafel. The texture of mousse is just right, and the chef’s touch of lime juice enhances the taste. The Baked Brie Cheese that’s wrapped in thin layer of filo pastry is a tasty choice as well. The brie is later topped with parmesan and finished with a drizzle of honey. Their Potato Boulangere is uniquely complimented by home-smoked chives and tomato ketchup. Layers of baked potatoes are kept under pressure for more than 12 hours before they are cut into cakes and fried.
Avocado Mousse with green peas falafel
Also, must try are the home-baked breads that are served with Truffle Butter and Olive Tapenade. The truffle taste is subtle enough to give you the truffle and yet not be overpowering. Subtlety is the underlining factor for most dishes. You will find that in the Tamarind Quinoa, that’s served with Grilled Scallops that are soaked in a coconut moilee and garnished with curry leaves, as well. Cooked in tamarind paste, the quinoa proves to be the ideal companion for these scallops as the tamarind adds the zest but doesn’t overpower. The Chargrilled Prawns are served on a bed of lettuce along with Sago crackers for the crisp bite.
The Harissa Cauliflower — cauliflower marinated in harissa sauce, grilled, and served along with couscous tabouleh on a bed of yoghurt and tahini sauce. Even a hard core non-veg eater can be floored by the variation of this dish. The Lamb Shank is served on a bed of saffron risotto. The meat is tender and the accompanying risotto again subtle, with the red cabbage pickle giving the sour relish. The Grilled Salmon served with black rice, lime leaf and coconut glaze with edamame is a perfect choice for the fish lovers.
Pappardelle aglio olio
Neuma makes their pasta in-house. Their Pappardelle Aglio Olio is a good choice for vegetarians. The pasta is thin and delectable.
Do leave an appetite for desserts. It’s a tough choice between Vodka Vanilla Panacotta with raspberry sorbet and Sticky Toffee Pudding. If you have the appetite and you are a group or a couple, then order both and share. The pudding swims in a pool of delicious custard that has toffee and date pieces in it. Panacotta and sorbet are served on a bed of raspberry compote — a tasty and heady mix. Both these desserts are a blast of flavours. The Chocolate Cheese Cake can be avoided.
The Rose Bar at Neuma has an exhaustive cocktail and wine list. The bar manager, the staff, the chef all are courteous and helpful.
Do ask for the chef or Sam before ordering. They will guide you as per your appetite and taste.
Average price for two: Rs 4,500 (including alcohol; excluding taxes)