Gourmet Guide: Luna Rising at the St Regis
The invitation promised guests they would experience the city’s highest restaurant and bar. And there we were, towering over the bright lights of Lower Parel and sprawling urban expanse of Mumbai. A dinner at Luna Nudo Gusta lets you pay homage to the moon with a blanket of twinkling stars for company. And last night, there were as many sparkling stars within as there were in the sky, out to celebrate the launch of the St. Regis Mumbai’s newest restaurant and bar. Over champagne and hors d’ouvres at Luna Nudo — The infusion-themed lounge and bar, guests were in for a visual treat as fashion designer Pria Kataria Puri unveiled her new collection Pura Vida – Her ‘nouvelle couture’ creations in lace, silk and all over metallics added a high dose of old Hollywood glamour to the already shimmering evening as models glided down the runway in gold and Italian silk kaftans, jumpsuits and rompers.
But the show didn’t end there, as we were led upstairs by the ever-graceful team to Luna Gusta — the modern European restaurant — we were reminded of the reason General Manager Anurag Bhatnagar had brought us all together — to celebrate Chef Martin Kindleysides’s culinary prowess. What followed was a creatively curated, three course meal, beginning with a sangria teaser and mushroom shot to pique the palette.
To start, pillow-soft artisanal burrata found a classic companion in Florentine fennel. The fresh, bright flavours opened up the palette and left us asking for more. Up next, a smoky paprika and garden vegetable soup studded with risoni and a garlic foam was a full-bodied foil to the salad.
Next was a truffle-infused charred corn polenta, nothing short of a warm hug to soothe the mind and tastebuds after the intense heat of the paprika. Throughout the meal, we bore witness to a choreographed dance that tamed contrasting flavours — Spice was met with sweet, salt countered with tart.
For the main course, it was a tough choice between pearl couscous with soft feta, Swiss chard and ricotta tortellini or a Chilean seabass with crab butter sauce, but I instead went with a wholesome tarragon-infused chicken breast; the buttery-sweet onion puree and bell pepper jus adding an intensely savoury note to the dish. A few mouthfuls later, I was convinced I had chosen well.
Fully sated and playing the myriad flavours through my mind, I eagerly awaited the bourbon vanilla raspberry panna cotta. While I’m not generally a dessert person, Chef quite literally ‘had me at panna cotta’. It was a revelation. Plated in the shape of a bird’s egg, a dense upper ‘shell’ shielded a wonderfully tart passion fruit gelato atop a perfectly crisp meringue, with a hidden ruby red berry layer in every bite. It was an explosion of textures and flavours, mixing sweet, sour and salt with cream and crunch. I couldn’t think of a better way to end the meal.
As Chef Kindleysides moved through the room greeting guests, as each plate magically emerged onto the table, it was quite clear to everyone as we progressed through the courses that he’d stolen the show.