Bayroute – Mideastern delight!
Authentic flavours will always find takers. Especially when the said flavours are just a few steps removed from the Biryani and Kebab loving Indian palate! That’s probably the reason why Bayroute, originating at almost Land’s end in Cuffe Parade, has expanded its footprint to cover most of Mumbai city. Bayroute serves up food with Turkish, Lebanese, Moroccan, Egyptian and Greek influences.
Warm, earthy and extensive!
A definite step-up from the shawarma rolls and hummus fast-food joints that have signified Mid-eastern cuisine to date. This fine-dining place ensures authenticity in every dish that’s on its Urdu style, read right to left menu. And an extensive menu at that -covering cold and hot mezze, pides, manakeesh, kebabs, mains and desserts. Not to mention their cocktails with Mediterranean accents! The decor with earthy tones and warm lighting manages to be chic and inviting simultaneously.
The acid taste test differentiating the men from the boys is the pita. One bite of the wafer thin Pita bread that is less like bread and more like a roti will be enough to convince you that Bayroute has got its act together. And the pickled vegetables seal the authenticity test, firmly and squarely. None of the crassness of virulent beet pickles here. What you get is a platter of pickled vegetables and herbs bursting with freshness and astringency! The pickled lime with its face puckering sourness is to kill for!
The portion sizes are tres generous at Bayroute, so it is best visited in a group. This will allow you to sample multiple items from different parts of the expansive menu. I happened to drop in by myself on my first visit. And a meagre order of a pot of Chamomile tea, hummus and a plate of a kebab about finished me off!
Truffle makes the world go round
While there are a number of hummus variants, the star is undoubtedly the truffle edamame hummus. A delicate green hue and drizzled with pomegranate molasses, this dish looks almost too pretty to eat. Also the edamame provided an interesting flavour amp to the creamy hummus. And the truffle takes this dish from good to the sublime. I am a complete truffle maniac and this use of it was truly inventive.
The hummus and pita bread I have already eulogized about. The other signature dish is the Kebab Istanbul. The quality of meat used in the Kebab Istanbul makes for an unbelievable melt-in-the-mouth texture. Once sampled, you will end up ordering this at every single visit!
Many hits and few misses
Some of the dishes like the Mediterranean nachos and the fried squid are meh dishes which are best avoided. High expectations from the lamb rice dish which comes encased in pastry (forget its name). Thought it would be like our purdah dum biryani but it was not noteworthy at all. Opt for the Chelo kebab instead – a subtler flavour that’s a clear standout.
Baklava and Pistachio mille-feuille
The wafer thin, baked to a crisp (and usually drenched in sugar syrup), Phyllo Pastry seems to play a big part in Mid-eastern desserts. Baklava is the more widely known one and Bayroute does an amazing take on it. Elevated to the next level with Gulkand ice-cream and freeze-dried rose petals.
On the other hand, if you are willing to take the road less travelled, try the Pistachio mille-feuille. Pistachio cream rosettes sandwiched between layers of crispy Phyllo pastry. Topped with glazed berries and freeze-dried fig ice-cream on the side. The husband eyed every spoon taken by others at the table as a personal affront!
Love the way that the Bayroute team has retained the authenticity of all the traditional desserts but added an innovative touch to them. Intend to work my way down the entire desserts list. Including the other phyllo based cheesy variation – Knafeh!
Authenticity and a clear taste profile win the day for Bayroute. Multiple visits are required to work my way systematically through the food and the drinks menu!