Restaurant review: Shivaji Park marks one of the most visited and talked about neighborhoods in Dadar West. Despite its popularity and crowds, the locale boasted very few fine dining restaurants – until a few months ago. The Kohinoor Square complex has evolved into a culinary haven that now houses several well-known brands along with other unique establishments. And one of the newest and liveliest post-monsoon openings was Coast & Bloom. We recently had the opportunity to dine here and discover its novelties for ourselves.
Coast & Bloom is headed by Mitra Walke, whose family is also behind the popular eateries Chaitanya and Nav-Chaitanya. These two establishments have been around since the ’90s, and the Walke family’s newest offering is a step up in more ways than one. Step through the doors and you’ll be whisked away to a space that feels far, far away from the hustle and bustle of Shivaji Park and Dadar. The effect is immediate: you realize that this is an aesthetic and gastronomic escape. The 110-seat restaurant is adorned with suspended fabric installation, wood-beamed and soft-textured ceilings, hand-stitched jute chandeliers and stone-textured walls. We’re told these have been handcrafted by coastal artisans, highlighting heritage even in the midst of such sophistication. As we shall discover, this balance is also reflected in the menu.
The food is an ode to the riches of the sea, “from the Konkan shores to California and from Malabar to Amalfi”. Yes, it’s a seafood lover’s paradise, but it’s so much more. Mitra Walke explains how his idea was to preserve the essence of home cooking and robust flavors while taking advantage of the best global techniques and ingredients. Regional Indian favorites and exotic international creations are therefore given equal importance here. The menu has been conceptualized by Chef Prasad Parab, who leveraged more than 20 decades of experience for Coast & Bloom. Over the years, he had thrown himself into and mastered dishes from French, Mexican, American and modern Italian cuisines to Thai, Mediterranean and regional Indian cuisines.
We ordered the vegetarian first Mulligatawny soup enriched with lentils, coconut milk, coriander and spices. It was a soothing and healthy start to our meal. We felt instantly rejuvenated and ready to tackle the party ahead. We liked it too Coastal Banga broth. Be warned, this comes packed with heat. The special texture and spiciness of the dish reminded us more of a Malvani chicken curry than a soup. But it was delicious anyway.
Turn to the pages of the menu for soups and salads and you’ll realize the sheer volume of coastal delights on offer. One side covers both vegetarian and chicken options. The next is reserved for “savouries by the sea”, straight from Xacuti fish rolls and Tandoori fish for Oysters Rockefeller and Louisiana Crab Cakes. As I put together the menu, Mitra clarified that the approximate breakdown was 60% seafood, 25-30% vegetarian food and the rest chicken/meat. This is a reflection of the dietary pattern of many parts of the population in the coastal states, he says.
We were intrigued by the mention of Crab Kakkori: a tender and mildly spicy seekh kebab made from crab meat. This ‘crab kebab’ turned out to be the best dish we tasted that night. We haven’t stopped talking about it since! As we dug into the juicy and succulent meat, we mentally tipped our hats to the chef’s skill in keeping the meat intact on the skewers in the first place. The kakkori spices were wonderfully balanced and the trio of sides – a cheesy butter dip, masala pyaaz and mashed kiwi introduced us to delicious new flavor combinations. Note that this is a treat worth coming back for.
We also highly recommend Trio of prawns, especially if you are a table of 3-4. In short, this is a shrimp lover’s dream on a (big) plate. It includes three different shrimp appetizers – each highlighting not only distinctive flavors but also specific cooking techniques. The first is a classic: Japanese-style tempura-coated shrimp. They are crisp and light, providing a welcome break from strong flavors. Next, Aglio Olio Peperoncino consists of cooked prawns with garlic and olives placed on bruschetta-style bread slices. Remember we called this a dreaming order. So don’t expect just two or three pieces on the bread – picture slices filled with prawns to overflowing. The third appetizer – Kondapur Coconut crisp, is shaped like an inverted cone with the tail protruding from the tip. This was a unique and lip-smacking delicacy we had not tried before.
If you are looking for a vegetable starter, we recommend Spanakopitas. These delicately crispy Greek wraps enclose a filling of red spinach and feta, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Although the emphasis is on seafood, the restaurant has ensured that vegetarians have not just decent but delicious options to choose from.
Coast & Bloom now has a full bar and a range of fascinating cocktails on the menu. During our visit we also tried some refreshing mocktails. For a desi treat, we recommend the delights of Ratamba (a concoction of kokum syrup and cranberry juice, with a pinch of rock salt). For a different kind of tropical vibe, go along Panda Panda (with pandan syrup, cranberry juice, gooseberry syrup and soda).
A thoughtful balance of choices is reflected in the main course section of the menu. There are traditional staples from most coastal states in the country, several Asian favorites and a tempting selection of European and continental delicacies. A separate menu of signature dishes has additional options that celebrate a particular type of seafood such as white pomfret, lobster, Norwegian salmon and others.
If you’re in the mood to discover regional Indian delicacies, go for main courses such as Kolambi Khichdi or Motla – both an ode to the richness of Konkani cuisine. If you want to play it safe, you can’t go wrong with Malabar fish curry here. The slight tartness of the curry was just right and so was the airy softness of the appams it was served with. The white pomfret was cooked to perfection and complemented the overall flavors particularly well.
Coast & Bloom impressed us with not only the variety of dishes on offer, but also the skill and care with which each was made. The coast is truly a treasure trove of possibilities and the restaurant showcases the best of its jewels – without forgetting its roots.
Where: Second Floor, Kohinoor Square, Dadar – W, N C. Kelkar Marg, Shivaji Park, Mumbai.