Fashionable Diet: Mumbai’s AKA all day diner is a European delight

DEC 4, 2015 | By Aditi Gaitonde
We turn into a quiet gully, away from one of the busiest streets in Worli, Mumbai, and slowly come to a halt next to a giant backlit signboard surrounded by potted plants. AKA, the city’s newest European eatery, is co-owned by Alok Agrawal, Jayesh Khatri and Aditya Agrawal (AKA, get it?), the minds behind fashion brand LFI (Love from India). We were there on opening night to see if Mumbai’s newest fashion meets food restaurant is a true showstopper.
First impression
From the outside AKA looks sprawling and as we enter we realise it is rather large for Mumbai restaurant standards, where we are used to cramped spaces. The all glass facade opens up the interiors, making it look airy and spacious, while strategically placed mirrors inside play a similar trick. Past the alfresco dining area and the high tables is LFI’s quaint store for a quick little pre meal retail exercise. Inside, warm yellow lighting and the brightly coloured interiors are instant mood uplifters.
The interiors
Ayaz Basrai of The Busride Studio is responsible for the interiors and like always, he doesn’t disappoint. As you enter, the long bar with its grey concrete facets and light box portions, demands attention. The dining space is divided into three sections, alfresco high stools outside, the level inside and another section on a slightly elevated area. A giant light box-like wall running the length of the restaurant exudes an inviting yellow glow, complementing the pale ochre flooring.
Wooden tables are paired with chairs upholstered with vibrant faceted (a recurring theme, we see) print in white, blue, orange and black. Not all chairs are printed though; some are left furnished with solid block colours of turquoise blue and tangerine orange, breaking the hypnotic pattern.
Look up to see an iron mesh well below the actual ceiling, with square suspended lights peeking through. The lampshades were printed with a different facet (it’s the word of the day) in several shades of grey.
We loved that it seemed bright and sunny inside even at 8.30 pm. We like to see the food we’re eating and the well-lit place made sure every prettily presented dish was appreciated. Clearly geometry is the underlying theme of restaurant and Ayaz is topping the class.
The food and serviceThe menu is largely European with occasional exceptions of crowd pleasers like falafel, hummus, NY hot dogs, etc. We started off with Asparagus Cappuccino (Rs 325) that was green, bold and deliciously light, and topped with white asparagus foam. The warmth and strength of the exotic vegetable was perfect for AKA’s AC blasted atmosphere.
We then tried the Oven Roasted Chicken Salad (Rs 490) that was prepared with mixed garden greens, marinated tomatoes and drizzled with an acidic lemon dressing that tied them all together into tangy yet refreshing dish.
Appetisers were next on the list and the sound of Crab “Farci” piqued our interest. Few minutes later, our friendly wait staff brought us two carbs stuffed with sweet meat and two kinds of cheese – Parmesan and Cheddar, surrounded by a scene of rolled up zucchini slices, carrots and potato mash. The gently seasoned crustacean was delightfully fluffy but we were pleasantly surprised by the accompanying potato mash that was given equal amount of attention.
We decided to give the pizza, burger and sandwich a skip and instead went for the European main course. The Porcini Mushroom Ravioli (Rs 645) with walnut butter was laid on a thick tomato concasse. The mushroom filling with its naturally nutty undertones complemented the woody walnut butter splendidly while the tangy seasoned concasse lent a whole new flavour to the dish.
For our meaty main course, we chose Garlic and Chilly Rubbed Chicken Breast (Rs 675) where the meat was perfectly cooked and moist. Although tasty, it wasn’t out of the ordinary, especially when the preceding dishes set such a high benchmark. From their Signature list of offerings, we picked the Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass (Rs 2,200) that came on a bed of crab and prawn risotto. A definite highlight, the fish had the slightest crunch while the snowy white meat simply melted in our mouths.
A separate dessert and hot beverage menu came our way. We tested the Ecuadorean Chocolate truffle (Rs 395) with a thick cream cheese glaze and caramel sauce. The smooth bitter chocolate combined with salty caramel was offset by the textured yet soft crumbling base. A rich close to an extravagant meal….
ED’s verdict
The service gets brownie points for their friendly approach. We liked that they even informed us about our delayed dish, a courtesy most restaurants forget to offer. From the stylish, cheerful ambience and soft playing music that you don’t have to shout over to talk to your companion to the medium sized portions of delectable European fare, AKA is definitely doing a lot of things right.
Address: Ground Floor, Lotus Cinema Building, Hornby Vellard Estate, M Sangi Marg, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai 400018. Tel: (022) 24901992