Khyber

145 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Mumbai 400001, India • (+91) 22 22673227 • http://www.khyberrestaurant.com
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From the outside, the size of this place is very deceiving, because before entering you would never guess that this modest corner facade practically extends for five city blocks in every direction. But as you follow the host upstairs through one dining room after another after another, each carved away on its own little plateau almost like the caves of Cappadocia in Turkey, you start to wonder if you’ve crossed into some sort of parallel dimension where the rules of geography no longer apply.

And while I liked the décor, the crazy plethora of tables had me a touch worried about quality control, because it’s very rare that restaurants with such massive dinning rooms are also amazing. But impressed I was, right from the get go, with the nan, raita and spicy pickled veggies that come to you gratis in a hammered copper dish.

The curry was also wonderful and full of flavor, the chicken acting like a tender sponge, soaking up every last drop of cumin. And the saag paneer was so much better than I had ever had it before, with the spinach and cheese each stepping forward for its moment in the spotlight, as opposed to blending into a sea of mush, which is so often the case.

Easily the best meal I had while in Mumbai. Granted we were looking for Trishna, which is apparently even better, but impossible to find. So after 30 minutes of chasing false directions given to us by everyone from cabbies to passersby to Google Maps, we finally settled for here, but if this is what settling tastes like, well, I can live with that.

4 teeth

 

Highball & Harvest

4012 Central Florida Pkwy. Orlando, FL32837 • (407) 393-4422highballandharvest.com

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The JW Marriott and the Ritz Carlton are both so massive on their own that when you connect them it creates a structural morass the likes of an MC Escher drawing. And while you might wish you had Google maps to find your way through the Shining-like halls of this behemoth, there’s gold in them, thar hills! The treasure I speak of is Highball & Harvest a contemporary Southern restaurant located somewhere in the belly of the Ritz.

The décor is a little all over the place, but ultimately passes as nice and the service is suspiciously friendly, perhaps I think that because I’m from New York City where most people that jolly are heavily medicated.

But our waiter’s chipper demeanor aside, he was also spot on with the recommendations, the first of which being the Parker House rolls . They are so good I actually recommend NOT ordering them, because the temptation to fill up on bread will be immense. Which means you’ll need to dig deep, mustering up some serious willpower so that you can enjoy the things to come. Things like the crab cakes with fried green tomatoes and remoulade. An ultimate worthy dish to the second power, proving tops in both the crab cake category as well as the fried green tomato.

Another dish I highly recommend is the blackened grouper. Cooked perfectly and placed over a bed of hominy ragu, adouille sausage and pickled okra.

On the mortal end of the spectrum I would place the kale salad the sticky toffee pudding and the donuts. None of them were bad or even mediocre, but they just didn’t wow like their predecessors.

I do, however, feel the need to expound upon the donuts as I applaud the presentation. Dusted cinnamon sugar donut bites served warm in a paper bag next to a tube of Nutella which you use to inject the donuts full of chocolaty wonder. It’s definitely good, but just shy of great.

But I don’t want to end things on a blah note, because I really did love this place. So, I have saved one of my favorite things for last, the cocktail. Called the Doc Holiday it comes in a copper mug filled to the brim with Tito’s vodka (not something I believe was around during Doc’s existence, but I’ll let it slide), ginger beer, grapefruit and blueberry jam. Plus hand-cut ice. Now I’m not exactly sure how hand-cut ice actually influences the flavor of the drink, but they seem to be very proud of it at H&H. And while I kid the things I love, I can’t say enough about this drink. In fact, it’s not just a drink, it’s an experience. As is Highball & Harvest in its entirely. Run. Don’t walk. Assuming you can actually find it.

4 teeth