Friday, February 1, 2008

Around the World with Flag's

An initial admission: I love Flag's. I don't know why they use an apostrophe. But, I loved it more than I loved my date the first time I went to Flag's, in Pune, and when they opened a Colaba branch I insisted that Lax threw his birthday party there, and subsequently I visited the restaurant with a date I love more than I love Flag's. With two long lost college friends, I made my fourth Flag's trip to the lovely location of Amarchand Mansion, on Madama Cama Road, a short walk down the road from Regal Cinema to Nariman Point and I was happy to be greeted by Abdus, my favourite steward, with a smiling face. It was martyr's day, so very dry, and so we sat very glumly and surveyed the menu.

What gets me back to Flag's every time? The exhaustive menu. Flag's connotes the cuisines of different countries, and they have a creatively designed menu which match countries on the world map to the dishes on offer. To start with, Tanny had a brandy laced cream of chicken soup (apparently that was not hit by the dry day) while we sipped good quality Virgin Mary and Kiwi Iced Tea.

We surveyed the appetizers and ordered the Iskender Kabab. It was, as you can see, much less a kabab than what is normally accepted. It was a crisp pita bread topped with spiced minced chicken and with a dollop of a herbed yoghurt dressing - a middle eastern offering. I enjoyed the biting into the melange of spices - Indian, but not quite, and the dressing along with the crunchy base.
For the main course, we did a lot of menu searching and came up with a variety of choices. Tanny ordered the Paella - a spanish herbed rice and seafood dish spiced with garlic, tomato, basil, chili and other spices. The Paella seemed a little too soggy but the seafood, including squid and prawns, was fresh. I think Paella doesn't disguise the smell of seafood as well as Indian seafood cooking does, so it wasn't the order of the day, surely.

I admit I was responsible for the Dora Watt chicken that DJ ordered - he wanted something spicy and non vegetarian, and that's what he got - chicken (and slices of boiled egg) and lightly spiced and slightly undercooked rice. And very very spicy. The gravy was reminiscent of a vindaloo - sinus releasing crazy spice. The dish is Ethiopian, for the record. I liked the innovative spice, but the chicken seemed precooked.

My order was the Turkish/Greek Moussaka-slices of eggplant(brinjal) layered with minced meat (there is a veggie option as well). In ordinary circumstances, it would have been great. However, the minced meat tasted a lot like the Iskender Kabab meat, and I was overwhelmed with the feeling of deja vu as the eggplant slices covered with cheese reminded me so much of the eggplant parmasean - a must eat for vegetarians at Flag's. The whole dish tasted more italian than meditteranean, sadly. But I still liked it. I guess sometimes if the food is good, it doesn't really matter where it comes from. Sometimes.

As Tanny had the most disappointing main course, we let him pick the dessert. He opted for the Hazelnut and Fig Mousse, which was small, yet delightful (note the spoons attacking even while I was taking the photograph). The flavours of hazelnut and fig blended effortlessly, the mousse was not overtly sweetened, and there was a tangy berry sauce on the side, but I thought it was a tad overpriced at Rs. 250.

From my previous Flag visits, I can also recommend the spicy and crispy nachos, the divine fondues, the thin crusted and aromatic pizzas, innovative cocktails and yes yes yes, the eggplant parmesean. And there's so much more on the menu that I haven't eaten but will soon, hopefully, and this time, without a sense of deja vu.

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