It’s truly funny how food bloggers jump around and click pictures when the food arrives. The most funniest expressions and postures can be seen while they..actually we, try to capture a delectable click. This was clearly the scene when eight food bloggers met at Polpo Cafe & Bar in Bandra. Polpo Cafe & Bar, an all day cafe, is the new venture by Shantranj Napoli. As you enter the first thing to hit you is the al fresco seating with white and black tiles, miniature plant green wall and curved bamboo roof. It’s pretty, cozy and surprisingly the tiled seating is not uncomfortable as I thought it would be.
The inside has a separate dining section – Shatranj and the other is Polpo cafe. The cafe is casual with low tables, a well stocked bar, open kitchen tempting with aromas and a chef’s table right near the open kitchen where we were seated.
We started off with what Polpo is famous for…the Sangrias! Blonde, Classic and Blushing were called for. All nice and refreshing with crunchy slivers of apple. The only issue was the way the apples were cut..slivers did create a lot of embarrassing moments while sipping the Sangria. A fellow blogger called for Limoncello which was served warm with hints of ginger…unusual but nice. Along with the drinks we munched on warm bread and spiced bread sticks with butter.
So while we were happily sipping on our Sangrias, clicking away and laughing the appetizers were served. And here they are…
Fonduta di Funghi – fresh mushroom caps filled with fondue, served with spicy tomato sauce. Looked pretty, tasted well okay. Not bad but not memorable.
Pollo Della Chef which was mustard marinated chicken grilled and served with garlic mayo. Chicken was cooked well but the I couldn’t taste the mustard. And also the mayo over powered the chicken flavor.
Next up was the Zucchine Fritte and this was spectacular! Thinly sliced zucchini batter fried and perfectly crisp, sprinkled with a bit of spice and served with tartare sauce. A great bar snack!!
Another stand out dish was the Asparagi al Prosciutto. Cooked to perfection asparagus which had a bit of a bite to them, then wrapped in prosciutto, topped with cheese and grilled! Yum in a bite!
On the other hand Caprese salad didn’t stand out for me. I do prefer the authentic version.
I did have another favorite appetizer – Girandole di Salmone Affumicato (smoked salmon pinwheels, served with rocket salad). Nice smoky flavored salmon with a light cream cheese filling and the capers on the side just lifted the flavors immensely. *love*
Another chicken appetizer was served..Pollo con Salsa Piccante which was basically chicken tossed in salsa and chili flakes. Chicken was moist, well seasoned and had a spice hit. But not anything unique.
Done with the appetizers we were ready for our mains while a second round of drinks was served. *Happy us!* The mains were served and the weapons, I mean our cameras and smart phones, were in action again!!
There is a long list of what we ate..so here it is…
Risotto alla Genovese – basil-pesto risotto with sundried tomatoes, topped with pine nuts. The rice was well cooked with the pesto coming through and the pine nuts added a bit of crunch. I must tell you I do have a soft spot for pine nuts and it was delicious.
Then came the gnocchi dishes..the veg one – Gnocchi al Gorgonzola (gnocchi tossed in a creamy Gorgonzola) and the non veg – Gnocchi alla Ciociaria (gnocchi cooked with chili flakes, bacon, Italian sausage, porcini & tomato-cream). Both good, creamy and the gnocchi well cooked but I did prefer the vegetarian version. The Gorgonzola added a nice zing to the creamy sauce and the gnocchi melt in the mouth.
I don’t a picture of the veg one..it was too far to click and I just wanted to eat! :p
The pesto chicken pizza was light with a crisp thin crust. But I felt that it was tad bit under seasoned and even though Polpo is known for its pizzas this didn’t stand out for me. May be I need to try the other pizzas they have to offer.
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich – thinly sliced steak, onions, bell peppers, melted cheese & horseradish mayo on multigrain bread. The issue we faced here was that we were so engrossed in the clicking that the sandwich got cold and hence a bit chewy. But the meat was flavorful and well seasoned and the caramelized onions, bell peppers and mayo went really well together. And the fries on the side were nice and crunchy and so was the coleslaw. But the chewiness of the meat was a turn off.
Petti di Pollo alla Griglia (grilled chicken breast, served with mashed potatoes, vegetables & mushroom sauce). The chicken was moist and juicy and the sauce accompanied it well. I loved the herb tossed veggies, they were amazing and had a bite to them. But the mashed potatoes were ho-hum. The potatoes were completely over shadowed by the rest of the dish.
Fish Veracruz (baked fish with capers, jalapenos, bell peppers, olives & tomato salsa, served with Mexican rice). I was looking forward to this dish bit it was a disappointment. The basa was cooked well. It was flaky and moist. Everything was fine with the dish other than the tomato salsa. It was too tangy and clearly over powered the delicate flavor of the fish. The sauce needs to be rectified and it will be all good.
There were two other mains, Chicken with penne and Lamb Birria (roasted lamb with rich chili sauce, served with mexican rice & pico de gallo). I didn’t get a chance to taste the penne but fellow blogger seemed satisfied but the lamb is something that should be avoided. It was terribly chewy. I didn’t eat more than a bite. That’s something they need to look into.
There were a few misses here and there mainly due to the imbalance in flavors on the plate. They need to get the flavors mentioned in the menu on the plate and also make sure that the main component is not overpowered by everything else.
Stuffed with the mains we decided how we’d like to end the meal and the desserts were called for. We got a little greedy here I feel.
The desserts which hit the spot were – Bailey’s surprise, Tiramisu and Pizookie. Bailey’s surprise was a chocolate filled with dense chocolate mousse and when we dug deep…*surprise* there was baileys in the center Tiramisu had the perfect hit from the coffee and liqueur and smooth light cream. Pizookie was basically a large freshly baked cookie topped with ice cream, nuts and chocolate sauce. New and different and surely a treat for chocolate lovers.
The desserts that didn’t do much for me were the overly sweet red velvet cake and the so-so soggy crusted cheesecake.
All in all I feel that Polpo cafe did well when it came to the vegetarian food we tasted, the drinks and desserts but fell in the meat main course. The chewy lamb and steak made me crave for the pesto risotto and Gorgonzola gnocchi. A must visit for the desserts, drinks and the appetizers though!
And while we thought that our really long lunch (we got done at 5 pm) came to an end there was more. Sambuca shots! It had Sambuca and mint. Yum and not so crazy strong..may be that’s why we could take it so easily after a heavy meal. All in all it was an amazing afternoon, meeting interesting food bloggers, laughing and enjoying good food. Bliss!
Here are the twitter handles of the bloggers..
Know more about Polpo cafe and bar here!!