Restaurant Review: 212 All Good, Lower Parel

212allgood3mainSiblings though they are, 212 All Day and 212 All Good, couldn’t be more different. The older of the two, 212 All Day in Kurla peddles standard American, carb-rich comfort fare. On the other hand, 212 All Good wears a halo of health. Everything that is fundamental to the menu at the former is eschewed by the latter.

Bellona Hospitality, the company helming the two brands, has steered clear of the ‘healthy’ tag in their communication related to their new restaurant. Instead they’ve appended ‘All Good’ to the restaurant’s name to convey that “only what’s good for the gut” has made the cut. They’ve helpfully provided a glossary of these virtuous ingredients that include black rice, beet brine, buckwheat, amaranth, nettle, goji berries and yam on the final pages of the menu. Their biggest feat perhaps is that despite being modish, their menu doesn’t feel pretentious.

The restaurant has capitalised on two reigning food trends. Not only does it serve healthy produce, all of it is sourced locally. The menu gives thanks to Vrindavan Farms, Samskara Organics, Conscious Foods, Terra Farms, Earth Loaf and The Spotted Cow Fromagerie among other Indian food companies. The staff is well-versed with their offerings and trained to remind you of their culinary consciousness at every step of the meal.

They told us, for instance, that instead of a bread basket, each table is offered raw tomato, sea salt and olive oil as an appetite-stoking alternative. Lay waste to the tomato as the kitchen and bar have their work cut out for them. Their larder is free of anything canned, bottled, boxed or refined and they make everything from scratch, including the dipping sauces. The beverage menu features housemade sodas, spiced colas and tonics.

Typically we have no appetite for bottled colas, but 212 All Good’s dark rum coloured house cola (Rs150) is more than just fizz and sugar. The aromatic beverage, which is sweetened with raw caramel jaggery and infused with dhaniya seeds, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and lime zest, has a pronounced liquorice flavour owing to star anise. The combination of these ingredients results in a drink that’s complex and invigorating.

The bar menu has a gin and tonic bias, with a selection of five G&Ts that flaunt infused gins, tonics and bitters made in house. They’ve used a garden for inspiration and ingredients for their botanical concoctions. Potent though it sounds, the black pepper and Bhavnagri chilli gin (Rs400) had a mildly spicy finish and the distinct tang from the grapefruit infused in the bitters. Our minor complaint with the savoury beverage was that it had more of the other elements and not enough gin.

Multiple cuisines have are represented on the vast menu that notably doesn’t sacrifice taste for health. Gluten shirkers can guiltlessly indulge in sandwiches and burgers as the bread is made with a blend of sorghum millet, potato and tapioca flour and is a cross between cake and rusk in texture. A good way to sample the bread is in the form of their all-day toasts or open sweet and savoury sandwiches.

The whipped ricotta and mountain honey toast (Rs295) veered into dessert territory. A cloudy tuft of ricotta sweetened with honey was smeared over lightly toasted bread and garnished with orange wedges and crispy quinoa. Encouraged by the fresh, palate cleansing snack, we ordered the chicken salad toast (Rs295), an intriguing combination of tofu mayonnaise, shredded chicken and pickled tendli. The chicken filling reminded us of the creamy chicken jungli sandwiches that frequently featured in our school and college dabbas.

Every nutrionist’s favourite carb, the sweet potato was dressed up as a crostini (Rs355) with grilled discs embellished with feta, walnut and beet cubes. It’s a good way to present the tuber and a fun way to incorporate it in your diet. The brown rice and nettle risotto (Rs525) was creamy, mildly sour and monotonous after a few bites.

The goji berry chicken curry (Rs625), a home-style preparation of tender chicken cooked in a peppery brown sauce with tart berries, is served with savoury black rice and a delicious broccoli and sweet potato sabzi. The dish packed warmth and a wallop of spice. A more subtle but no less tasty entree was the sous vide miso snapper (Rs625) poised on bamboo rice with a halo of buttered edamame beans. The al dente rice was unseasoned allowing the sweet miso-soaked fish to shine.

The pumpkin pie (Rs255) was a miss on a menu replete with healthy hits. The pedestrian slice had the texture of baked cheesecake with an unpleasantly wheat-y biscuit crumb. The sweet pumpkin was made cloying with the addition of Alpenliebe-like salted caramel jaggery that further marred the dish.

It’s worth seeking out this restaurant with a big conscience that occupies a somewhat under-the-radar location in Phoenix Mills. It’s placed directly under Croma, where an outpost of Costa Coffee used to be. Bellona Hospitality has kept the design functional and fuss-free, the lighting warm and the focus on the menu, which we’re convinced is indeed good for you.

Get: Goji berry chicken curry (Rs625); whipped ricotta and mountain honey toast (Rs295); chicken salad toast (Rs295); house cola (Rs150).

Skip: Pumpkin pie (Rs255).

It is our policy to wait at least a week after an establishment has opened before we review it.

Prices exclude taxes. 

212 All Good, Ground Floor, Grand Galleria, below Croma, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel. Open daily, from 8am to midnight. Get directions here

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