Whats Tapas All About
Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or hot. In Spain dinner is served between 9 and 11 p.m. (sometimes as late as midnight), leaving significant time between work and dinner. Therefore, Spaniards often go “bar hopping” and eat tapas in the time between finishing work and having dinner. These meals are often light bite sized meals which they munch on and have conversations.
Management At Soho
Tapas bars are becoming increasingly popular all over the world these days and have started gaining popularity in Mumbai too. With a good number of tapas bars opening across the city. 2016 is a big year for foodies in Mumbai with a good number of high expectation restaurants opening across town. Among these joints was Soho Tapas bar. A Tapas Bar serving multiple European cuisine with modern and indian elements opened up by Mir Agha & Abhijeet Shetty. The kitchen is donned by Chef Harinder Singh.
Chef Harinder has worked with some really experienced chefs and that clearly shows in his food. He very well knows what the importance of various elements are in a dish and the role they play in creating a well plated dish. He specializes in European cuisine and is currently focused on getting various new Spanish dishes in the menu with modern Indian elements. Hats off to his dedication and expertise and wish him all the best for his new experiments on adding better and bigger dishes in the menu. I think MasterChef Australia is his favourite Show on TV 🙂
Soho dawns a very minimalistic ambience with a décor that’s focused on white. I find White minimalistic Décor to be very classy. The place is segregated into open and indoor dining spaces. The indoors are completely white with golden lamps on the ceiling of each table to give a dim lighting on the wooden furniture. When the lights go dim during dinner the lights from the bar section and their logo stand out which adds to the décor here. The DJ quietly tucked away in a corner playing some good tracks. We were watching the final that day and celebrating Windies win with DJ bravos Champion. For Proper food photography lighting wasn’t that good and you may need to use your flash sometimes.
The major positive of this restaurant is its food. There are 2 menus here the dedicated tapas menu and another one for main course. The tapas section consists of light eats with complete focus on flavours, presentation and elements. Food portions are less here but that’s the amount you will get in Tapas anyways. Chef believes in using original recipes and modifying them to the Indian palette. That’s evident in all his dishes here. He uses original ingredients and no gases even for the molecular touch that he gives to his dishes and that’s another positive aspect of his cooking.
This section features the light eats. It’s quite extensive with dishes ranging from Spanish to American it has it all. The menu here focuses on quality and each dish in the menu has a different element in it.
Quinoa & Risotto Arancini Balls
Jalapeno cheese poppers move aside as the big daddy is here. Quinoa & Risotto Arancini balls are a must have dish if you’re here. Consisting of Panko crusted balls stuffed with parmesan & risotto served with a salsa made of pesto and bell peppers. A Sheer delight in each bite. These balls were deep fried yet not oily. The crunch of the panko with the soft texture of the cheese mixed with the vivacious salsa makes this dish a “Dish of the Day”. Chef focuses on each element and the sauces or dips that are in each dish are absolutely finger smacking.
Clay oven baked malai Mushroom
A dish purely made for the true Indian. The one who doesn’t like other cuisines and wants something Indian on his plate. These are the Malai Mushrooms. The best part of this was the Tomato Jalapeno relish to add that Spice and sour flavour to the malai mushrooms. The mushrooms were also baked just right in the oven so that they retain their moisture inside.
A Bruschetta consisting of tomato and mozzarella toppings with a balsamic drizzle failed to tingle my taste buds because of the fact that the bread was bit too toasty for me. It negated all the taste from the toppings.
Stuffed Bhavnagari Chilli
Bhavnagar Chillies can give a scare to the average spice eater and he may completely ignore the dish altogether. However the Stuffed Bhavnagar chillies here are very balanced. The finely chopped mushroom and cheese mix inside the chilli reduces any spice levels the chilli can have and tastes best when mixed with the yoghurt dip. The chilli is deep fried but I was not surprised that it wasn’t much oily. Another go to dish for the veggies in the house
Soho Loaded Nachos
If you like a lot of Food on your plate then the loaded nachos are the dish you need to go for. Crispy Nachos mixed with refried Mexican beans, quesso, guacamole & sour cream topped with onions and tomatoes and white cheese sauce inside. I think no bar would ever be complete without a loaded plate of nachos and SoHo continues with that tradition
Make In India Personified the Afghani chicken tikka. The chicken tikkas were so soft and succulent and had a mint yoghurt dip to complement it. A Must have Indian Starter
Soho Style Curry Crumb Chicken
Another must have dish here. Breadcrumbs and curry leaves crumbled & fried with thin long pieces of chicken served with Romesco sauce. Another one of chef’s creative innovations. Romesco Sauce is a sauce made of nuts mixed with red peppers. A sauce that’s usually used in Spanish cuisine. The crumb fried chicken when dipped in the sauce turns out to be gold. The sauce gives the dish a complete uplift
Koliwada Dusted Fish Finger
We all love fish fingers. No matter how full you are you would always have some space for fish fingers. Chef has given a Indian twist to the fish fingers by dusting the batter with koliwada spices just to give it a hint of Indian flavour while retaining the original fish finger, the dust adds that Indian flavour and its served with a fruity tartare sauce. Another sauce where chef has innovated to make it different. The tartare sauce has micro fruit chunks. They are so small that you won’t even recognize that somethings mixed in the sauce. That very slight hint of sweetness and acidic properties of the fruits give the tartare sauce a fresh new flavour that you can enjoy with the fish
Spaniards are known for cooking some mean seafood and this one is no different. Chef says that the prawns used in this dish are specially bought fresh at noon and cooked in the evening to get that right flavour and to ensure the prawns don’t start smelling as they can be a nuisance if they are not fresh. The fish stew that’s used in this dish gives the flavour to the prawns topped with some citrus soy air to give it that molecular touch. No gases are used in the air. The chef here surely knows how to cook his seafood like the Spaniards. Every element of the dish was perfect (Prawns, Fish stew, Foam).
Dynamite Gambas Al Ajillo
Another Seafood dish from Spain came knocking on my table. These consisted of tempura battered shrimp tossed in a spicy sriracha aioli with some lemon rub to add a hint of sour element. These things were spicy and I think would be loved by all spice lovers. The tempuras were also not too oily though they were a bit oilier compared to the other deep fried stuff. The Aioli was the heart of this dish. It breathed new life onto it. Another dish where the chefs brilliance with innovative sauces comes to the fray. I must say I loved every seafood dish I have got till now
The quesadillas here were ok not stellar. Was how quesadillas usually are. The crepe was a tad too tough for me. They were served with Salsa, guacamole and sour cream.
Lamb slow cooked in an oven marinated with Indian spices were with a Poppy seed hummus. Yes you read that right POPPY SEEDS. This wasn’t made from chickpeas. And the result was a finger licking hummus. I had never thought that I would love a poppy seed hummus. The Lamb was so soft that I felt that I am almost having chicken. The smoky hummus goes so well with the meat that you would fall in love with hummus again. One of the things done by the chef is to keep 1 piece a bit rubbery and the other pieces soft. I would recommend it to be evenly done. Rubbery meat has the potential to ruin the entire dish
Serrano Tequila Salmon with Paella & Wasabi Silk
A True MasterChef Spanish dish with so many elements in one dish that complement one another and get the dish on a different level. The Pan fried Salmon, The Saffron Paella cooked in the stock of the fish with Serrano, The Wasabi Silk, Carrot Foam made from carrot juice and no gas and the micro greens. That’s quite a number of elements. The winner is the wasabi silk that is topped on the fish and paella. I couldn’t have enough of it. A Must have Main if you’re here. Full marks to the chef for this dish.
Injected Peri-peri Chicken
The Peri-peri Chicken marinated with Peri-peri and pan grilled to perfection, served with pan tossed exotic veggies a small potato cake and a lovely pink peppercorn sauce which proves the chefs mastery in elements. Mix the chicken with the sauce, veggies and small bite of potato and experience another classy dish. The chicken breast was well done
Lamb Ragout – Cous-Cous Pilaf
Another must have dish here if you love your lamb. The Lamb used in this dish is cooked for 3 hours on a slow flame. Cook food on a slow flame is the best way to cook and the dish capitalizes on that. The Mutton Stock is used in the Jus with some red wine and other elements that result in a high on flavour, thick and smoky flavoured Jus that goes like a curry on your Cous-Cous. The meat is soft and succulent and complements the sauce like Ki & Ka LOL 🙂
Inspirational Veg Lasagne – Kolhapur Style
Now this dish is innovation to a whole new level by Chef Harinder Singh. Hats off to him as it takes a lot of risk taking ability to have such a dish on your menu. The Classic Italian lasagne has layers of pasta, bolognaise, béchamel and some tomato puree. This dish is an Indian Style Lasagne. Here the pasta is replaced with perfectly cooked Appams, Bolognaise replaced with veggies made with Kolhapur masala and is covered up with Béchamel and baked. I was a tad surprised as I bit into the dish the appams gave a crunch, the Indian veggies played a role similar to bolognaise but in a better way because this suits the Indian palette. A Must try veggie dish
Some Stir fried noodles with sweet soy and veggies. This dish is there purely to cater to the Cantonese food lovers.
Another dish that was on the table was the Greek veg Tangy Stew with Cous-Cous but I wasn’t able to eat it because I was just too full.
You should always save space for desserts. We had the Blueberry Cheesecake, the Churros & the Black sesame ice cream with black Schezwan peppercorn melange (Dessert of The Day).
The Blueberry cheesecake had a blueberry compote in the middle of the pastry. The baked cheesecake was one of the good baked cheesecakes I have had. It was finished in flat 10 seconds
The churros were served with Toffee and Chocolate sauce. The toffee caramel sauce was surprisingly good and the churros were having the right balance of crunch. They were neither too hard nor soft. The toffee caramel overpowers the chocolate sauce fast and you end up having all of it.
The Black sesame ice cream with black Schezwan peppercorn melange was a MasterChef styled dessert in my opinion where there were different types of flavours associated with different elements. The Schezwan peppercorn melange in itself is very peppery and has a very strong flavour that hits your tongue but when you have it with that black sesame ice cream you end up having a dessert that’s on a completely different level. Some new flavours here that i wasn’t expecting and the chef has been able to pull off well. Another must have dessert have
Soho has ticked all the right boxes in my taste test and I am sure it will for you too. The Spanish seafood dishes, the desserts, the different Indian food, the innovative techniques used by the chef, the value for money pricing of the dishes in the menu everything makes Soho a must visit restaurant for your food and drinking needs. It has different events on different days and some cool brunches over the weekends.