Blogging about one of the most delightful lunch experiences I’ve had in the city…
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been a long time since I last blogged about eating out in Mumbai. I guess I’ve been feeling a little bit uninspired on that front. Now don’t get me wrong, there have been many nice meals. Many delicious dishes that tasted great & satisfied me quite a bit. But nothing special enough to write home about, you know?
An Introduction to The Quarter
The Quarter opened late last year at Mumbai’s iconic Royal Opera House in Charni Road. It’s an area of Mumbai that I was completely unfamiliar with, so I was pretty eager to check it out.
Quick online searches talk mostly about LIVE at The Quarter, the 1950s style jazz bar that opens at 6PM & hosts live performances every evening. However, The Quarter is unique in a way that it has four distinct ‘sections’ – other than LIVE, there’s also DINE – their alfresco dining area, CAFE – a bright & airy all day cafe & DRINK – the intimate, grand but understated all day bar situated above the cafe.
We went to the Quarter on a weekday, mid afternoon & were seated at the drink level. They have a reasonably large menu, & are better known for their small plates (small plates = quarter plates, get it?). We were there to check out The Quarter Plate festival, more on that later.
Since we were going for lunch with a few things planned after, we opted for all non alcoholic drinks (though they do have an extensive & very diverse spirit menu).
All drinks at the quarter are served with steel or bamboo straws, it’s always nice to see restaurants & cafés choose more sustainable options.
The Virgin Mojito was a refreshing citrus drink with freshly pounded basil. I enjoyed my ginger beer because it reminded me of the EGB Ginger Beer I got mildly addicted to on my last visit to Sri Lanka. The Quarter’s version was slightly less sweet, which I do see as a pro.
For our second round, we got a hibiscus sangria & a dry lavender soda. It’s not easy to find lavender based drinks in the city, & this was just sublime! I can’t describe it too well because I don’t have much basis for comparison, except that it was good. It’s one drink I’d definitely recommend if you find yourself at The Quarter.
The Quarter has many options in their small plate menu, for vegetarians & meat eaters & pescatarians too! We opted for two veg & two seafood dishes.
We tried the Sabudana Bombas, (literally Sabudana bombs, a spanish inspired dish with a desi twist) which was stuffed with raw banana, on a tomato based gravy on the recommendation of our server. I quite enjoyed it, even though sabudana isn’t my favorite. This was definitely quite unique & I did enjoy it.
We also ordered the black hummus – which gets it’s name & slightly darker hue from black beans & sesame. Hummus rarely disappoints – this one was no exception.
Light & perfect – It was served with some taboulleh & deep fried pockets.
Even though The Quarter has some very tempting red meat options, for our second round of quarter plates, we opted for seafood.
We got some seared tiger prawns with basil pesto and chaat masala, and salmon on ricotta gnocchi with herb butter.
Both of them were absolutely amazing but I have to give a special mention to the salmon, which was absolute sublime. It was cooked just right, the asparagus & gnocchi complimented it perfectly – add buttery sauce & some micro greens on top & the whole dish was sublime. Easily the best prepared salmon I’ve ever eaten & I order salmon whenever I see it on the menu anywhere.
And finally, we shared a dessert – warm bread pudding with roasted bananas & bourbon ice cream. A perfect dessert to end a perfect meal.
I absolutely loved my meal experience at The Quarter.
I really enjoyed the small plates concept (similar to Spanish tapas) because as someone who loves food but has a smaller appetite, I usually can’t explore much of a restaurant’s menu (unless it’s a special tasting menu, which is rare). Here, I could easily do two plates without feeling in the least bit stuffed. Smaller plates are great for sharing & you can try a lot of different things in the same meal. It also keeps prices lower than full portions, which is great when you’re not sure if you’ll like the dish (though I doubt it would happen, in this case).
Every single dish I had was amazing, even the Sabudana, which I didn’t think I would like. The flavours are well balanced – English / French / Spanish dishes many of which had uniquely desi twists. Even if I try hard to be critical, I can’t fault anything – the ambience, food & even pricing was all pretty great. Despite being at The Royal Opera House it has a chilled out vibe, which means you can still go in casual clothes & dine in a relaxed way. It’s not exactly visible from the road (you enter through the Opera House gate) which gives makes it feel like something of hidden treasure. Great for dates, or just casual catch ups!
The Quarter Plate Festival
The Quarter is hosting The Quarter Plate Festival until the 8th of August (coming Wednesday) which offers discounted prices on their small plates. If you have time this weekend or the first part of next week, there’s no better time to check out the place. If you can’t make it now, go later. But go! I enthusiastically recommend it, I can’t even remember the last time I had such a memorable, superlative dining experienced (can you tell I’m still sort of on a great lunch high, even though a day & a half has passed?) Oh & happy weekend, hope you have a good one! x
The Quarter, Royal Opera House, Charni Road, Mumbai (website)