With the number of 'desi' diners in Mumbai, modeled on the lines of 'asli' diners from the US of A, how does one break through the clutter and emerge with the perfect recipe for success?
Trust Tony Singh, the man with the Midas touch and responsible for successes like Pop Tate's Urban Tadka, Masala Mantar to come up with an all new concept which wows you on every parameter and delivers an all round fantastic experience - be it culinary, ambiance, service or price!
In my opinion, the biggest risk with setting a restaurant like Some Like it Hot is the risk of becoming a me-too to successes like Pop Tate's and other diners in the same genre.
But Some Like It Hot, smartly steers clear and comes up with a concept which is brand new, in the face, instantly likeable and memorable.
Modeled on the lines of international diners - red patent leather seating, diffused lighting, wacky and eternal black and white photographs on the wall of Hollywood greats, makes for a great ambiance. The seating is comfortable, with tables cleverly designed to provide some privacy while giving a feeling of openness at the same time. A huge screen in front which is a must these days, make up the interiors on one side. The other side is has a long bar with tables and a huge wood oven at the very end.
The most awesome 'return' factor for us was the retro music, right out of 80's - Uptown Girl meets Safety Dance meets Karma Chameleon meets What's Love Got To Do With It, Time after Time and more!! The selection just makes your day or night if you are a sucker for some flashback to the 80's.
Coming to the food, the menu is neat, explanatory and has enough variety to please all. We were a group of 4 adults and 2 kids who were immensely satisfied with the items we ordered.
Starting with the cheese garlic bread which had loads of melted cheese spilling off the just right buttery garlic toasts we moved on to Chicken Hot and Spicy, an Oriental starter with succulent pieces of chicken accompanied with grilled capsicum pieces.
The nachos with cheese and salsa sauce was a winner and had us asking for more helpings of the tasty salsa sauce immediately.
Another starter we enjoyed was the chicken Morgan which had flat pieces of chicken grilled to perfection and had some really great flavors quite distinct from the Oriental chicken we tried earlier.
Best thing about this place is that they have happy hours - 1 on 1 free - as early as 3 PM - yes that's right, 3PM in the afternoon. As we were having a late sunday lunch, this worked perfectly fine for us and the huge, chilled pitcher of beer was repeated on the house due to the happy hours!
The main course too was fabulous. We decided to order a wood smoked thin crust chicken tikka pizza for the kids - which was yummier than expected, amazingly crisp loaded with juicy chicken tikka exploding with flavor and taste! The kids had a ball as the 10 incher and more than enough for both of them.
The adults decided to try the sizzlers and we were real glad that we opted for them. The chicken oriental sizzler served with a generous helping of their trademark pepper, garlic sauce was outstanding. Chicken, vegetables, instead of french fries and noodles instead of rice, was the right combination for the delicious meal easily enough to satisfy the appetite of 2 adults. Not to forget the hash brownie and grilled onions, dripping with the house sauce were the highlight of the sizzler. Mmmm, yummy!
The second sizzler - fish in pepper sauce had huge pieces of tender boneless basa fish, accompanied with generous helping of mashed potato and flavored rice. Though on the spicier side, we loved the amazing flavors as the mild mashed potatoes were a perfect foil for the spicy fish! Awesome!
Before I get to the desserts, must mention the Service, which is quick, attentive and excellent ! Do keep in mind that the starters arrive on the table within 10 minutes of ordering which is a huge achievement and must be due to great processes working like clockwork at the back-end. And this was in spite of the restaurant being nearly full. A commendable achievement. All the staff is friendly, helpful, ever smiling (importantly), attentive and eager to please.
As we had quite a lot of customized ordering in terms of flavors and ingredients, we were interacting with Manager Sonu Singh who is an absolute delight as he has an outstanding understanding of the nuances associated with flavors and condiments. Sonu was very helpful and kept a watchful eye on every table, unobtrusive, inquiring every few minutes if everything was in order. He has always been around for guests at all times, recommending the new variations in terms of the drinks and starters.
Besides Sonu, John Quadros and Luke Serrao the other managers at Some Like It Hot and Masala Mantar next door always go out of their way to keep guests satisfied to ensure a repeat audience. Whether it is customized orders, requirements in terms of flavors and spices, super fast orders if you are in a hurry and friendly service, they are always ready to oblige.
Moving on to their desserts counter, which is in demand at all times, occupies pride of place at the entrance which is common for both the restaurants. Gooey sticky brownies, which were over by the time we finished lunch :( So we opted for the Mango cheesecake, crème brulee and B-52.
We loved the mango cheesecake, which was perfect for the season, just the right amount of sweetness and the awesome flavor of rich alphonso mangoes. The creme brulee - glazed, chocolaty, coffee flavored with a thin crisp layer of browned sugar on top was a treat and polished off in no time. But above all the star dessert, their piece-de-resistance was B-52. An awesome goblet of Kahlua, Amaretto and Bailey's Irish cream covered with loads of chocolate filing. The flavors of the Kahlua and Irish cream combined with rich chocolate is so addictive that I guarantee you will want to go for the second helping too.
Coming to the pricing, it's on the reasonable side. Around Rs. 200 for starters, Rs. 275 for sizzlers and around Rs. 500 for a pitcher of beer. A good meal with desserts and drinks for 2 would cost in the range of around Rs. 1500 at the maximum.
A winning recipe, this one which entices you to try it out again and again. Go for it!