Review: East, Sahara Star, Mumbai

Call it stereotypically girly, but Asian is my favourite cuisine, ever since I was a 3 year old child who had first Punjabi Chinese noodles from a food van at Defence Colony, Delhi.
I know the debate over Chinese authenticity in India never ends, but c’mon, even butter chicken in Mumbai doesn’t taste like the one in Chandigarh, so how can we eat the ‘authentic’ version of a cuisine, which isn’t even ours?
At junctures like these enter restaurants like East, Sahara Star, Andheri which prepare Asian cuisine as it should taste like for the expats and touring Asians, yet add a dash of extra spice here and there, to keep the masala loving Indians happy.

The ambiance is that of a typically dim-lit, golden hued five-star restaurant, beautifully flanked by an al fresco entrance and a live kitchen for company. While the prices are obviously steep since it’s a luxury property, they are competitive, and in the case of some dishes, economical, compared to some stand-alone Oriental chains.

We weren’t served alcohol, so wouldn’t say anything about their selection of wines or pairing with food. But between the vegetarian me and my non-vegetarian partner, we liked their Hot ‘n’ Sour vegetarian soup and Chicken Lemon Coriander soup, respectively. Since there is a live kitchen and a teppanyaki station, we hope to see a lot more action happening at that counter, when we visit next. What bowled us over were their Wok Crisp Mixed Vegetables in Sichuan Sauce and Tempura Fried prawns. For those who love to experiment, the basil chilli ice-cream is definitely worth a try!

Why EAST- The menu is self explanatory, the staff knows what they are serving and the live kitchen lets you see what is being dished up for your plate. You won’t be confused about what to order and you can always ask for your well-informed server’s help. Since the scales tip more towards the authentic side, I am not too sure how many Punjabi Chinese loving people would enjoy it. But it’s worth a visit, for those who like a lighter play of spices on their palate.

Where- Ground level, Hotel Sahara Star, Domestic Airport, Santacruz East, Mumbai
Rating- 3.5
Cost for two- Rs 2500 (excluding alcohol)
Would we go back- When someone from Korea or Japan visits, yes


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