This pan-Asian restaurant in Versova that opened shop on January 13 hosted a media preview prior to that. Shirin Mehrotra and Krutika Mody attended the event and had a *happy* time exploring their exotic bar menu.
After opening the first branch in the sprawling 20,000 sq. ft. area in Pune, the three partners (Kunal Deshmukh, Sahil Saigal and Shiraz Patel) decided to openTrikaya in Mumbai. Inspired by Lord Buddha, the name Trikaya literally means three bodies and is an important Buddhist teaching.
The restaurant is not hard to locate with its white sail-like shades outside. This area has six big tables with soft lighting. The Juhu-Versova Link Road is not a very busy road hence you are saved from the traffic snarls and the honking. However, the owners need to add smaller tables for couples if they want to attract diners. The interiors of the air-conditioned section too are inspired by Buddhism. A huge tree-like pillar stands in the centre and spreads at the top to blend with the ceiling. According to the owners, the inspiration comes from the Bodhi Tree.
While most part of the restaurant has neutral colours, the bar area is colourful. The extensive bar menu designed by Valentine Barboza boasts of serving only premium brands. The cocktails are prepared with fresh fruits instead of syrups and flavours. For the first round we ordered a passionera (vodka blended with passion fruit, cloudy apple and lime juice) and a watermelon and chilli Collins (vodka mixed with diced watermelon, lime juice, soda and infused with chilli).
Our picture perfect drinks arrived and for a while we kept contemplating whether to drink them or just look at them. The passionera was a little too sour but once stirred had a nice sweet-sour taste. The watermelon and chilli Collins was refreshing.
The perfectly balanced and vast food menu made my vegetarian friend happy since it had as many veg dishes as the non-veg ones. We were served chicken yakitori, basa in 5 willow sauce, red pumpkin green peas drops and goat cheese, and mushroom spring rolls for starters. The presentation of each dish was impressive.
Being a fan of seafood, I focused more on the basa as the chicken couldnt catch my fancy. The cigar-like mushroom spring rolls are ideal as finger food and is a perfect accompaniment to your drinks. The floor manager offered to surprise me for the second round of drinks and he surely did. On his request, the bartender conjured up an espresso martini which was literally an eye-opener after a long day at work.
The main course menu included herbed mushrooms, Cambodian Khmer vegetable curry, green Thai prawns curry and chicken and mushrooms with Korean Kim-chee with burn garlic jasmine rice. The Thai curry was a good blend of herbs and coconut and had chunky prawns in it and with garlic jasmine rice for company, it made for a perfect meal. The Cambodian Khmer vegetable curry was delicious, the herbed mushrooms, not as much.
We also had the privilege of meeting Chef Nilesh Limaye who was happy to talk to us about food and also allowed us to visit his extremely organised kitchen. Learning of my love for seafood, Chef Nilesh made a special oyster-tequilla shot for me which was in one word, outstanding.
The dinner ended on a sweet note with a red velvet cake and cinnamon kulfi for dessert. Yes, they make their own desserts! We were hoping we could try some classic pan-Asian desserts like a trio of Asian sweets but they werent in the preview menu that night. The cake was served with rambutan a Malaysian fruit. The fleshy hair growing on rambutans skin makes it look like a wilder version of its cousin, litchi. Despite the decoration (edible glitter) on the cake, the cake itself couldnt tempt us. The kulfi on the other hand was impressive and proved to be the perfect dessert after a heavy meal.
As a new entrant in the fine-dine genre, Trikaya looks promising and inviting.