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Wine & Dine
June 21, 2018

Rivers To Oceans Is Gearing Up To Make Waves For All The Right Reasons

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

Zorawar Kalra’s latest venture is all about the quest to offer the best seafood dining experience in Mumbai and it does not disappoint

Seafood lovers now have a new destination to flock to and it launches at Palladium in the next four days, just in time for when the monsoon will have hopefully arrived in Mumbai in earnest. Restaurateur Zorawar Kalra and his wife Dildeep, who is director at Massive Foods, are all set to open the doors of their latest venture to the public but not before they invited us over for a dekko at the menu. Needless to say, we had the time of our lives.

Interestingly, the ingredients are sourced from all over the world — scampi from Andhra Pradesh, Hamachi from the Pacific Ocean in Japan, Salmon from the Atlantic Ocean in Norway, southern bluefin tuna from Australia, trout from Himachal Pradesh, Black Cod from the gulf of Alaska and so on. With the focus on cuisine rather than ambience, the Kalras spent months globetrotting, securing partnerships with international and local suppliers to ensure they would have the freshest produce. That’s not to say that the ambience leaves something to be desired because it is tastefully ostentatious while being unpretentious — you won’t see any grandiose decor elements that allude to the food you are about to be served, but what you can be absolutely sure of is that you’re in for a treat.

As our eyes take in the rest of the interiors, the round bar counter easily commands our attention and we are quite astounded to learn that it features  15 varieties of champagnes — possibly the largest curation in the country. Soon, Chef Varun Kinger is walking towards our table to familiarise us with the menu and learn about our preferences and it’s not long before our first dish is served to us — Scampi tartare and puffed amaranth in mandarin dressing — which is essentially lightly tossed prawns and tender coconut accompanied by a zesty dressing, plated with pickled cucumber and red radish. It’s more of a palate cleanser and bodes well for the two foodies who have practically starved themselves all day in anticipation of this meal. The payoff is exquisite as we prepare to sample an elaborate 15-course meal that is divided into five sections – cold bar, hawker’s street, small plates, big plates and dessert, each division being paired with a different champagne.

Next up is the modernist salad nicoise, which comes with seared strips of tuna slathered with anchovy butter, eggs with fresh tomato concasse and olive dust. We’re only getting accustomed to the explosion of flavours in our mouth when we notice the beautifully shaped cutlery that the dishes are being served to us in, our favourites being a sea urchin-inspired bowl, a mother-of-pearl plate and spoon and a platter in the image of a cod. The homemade Corzetti — hand-made flat pasta tossed with butter and morels, served with wild mushroom cream — is another winner that we definitely recommend to those who would like to take a brief pause from the seafood before plunging headlong into it with the next dish. The leek and crab soup that comes with a side of buttery breadsticks and sliced rolls of fried crab truly make us close our eyes in sheer ecstasy and we are so enchanted by it that we sheepishly called for seconds in spite of our stuffed stomachs screaming in protest.

Even so, we managed to make place for dessert because we stick by our belief that there is a second stomach in the human body for all things sweet. Mixing dairy and seafood can be a sticky proposition but Rivers 2 Oceans excels here as well as they present us with their black truffle ice cream — a vanilla ice cream encased in a black truffle and gold leaf shell complete with a delectable dark chocolate sauce. We left after paying our compliments to the Kalras and the chef with a solemn promise that we were going to be back with an entourage the next time to do justice to the a la carte.

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