Restaurant Review: Three Chicks and a Bear, Lower Parel
The Messmans of Colaba have built a mini empire retailing breads and brownies under brand Theobroma over a decade. After the concerted expansion of the comfort food chain in recent years – Theobroma now has 12 outlets in the city – the family has gotten into the business of burgers with Three Chicks and a Bear, which was launched in Lower Parel last month.
The burger shop’s animal mascots represent the Messmans. Kamal and her daughters Kainaz and Tina are the brood of chicks and husband Farokh is denoted by a bespectacled bear in the restaurant logo. As a family of foodies and feeders, the Messmans have a tradition of hosting burger bashes at their home for friends and family. The signature patties from those soirees are now on the menu at Three Chicks and A Bear.
The all-day restaurant is attached to a branch of Theobroma, which is distinguished by its characteristic white furniture, pastel green walls and shelves lined with sweet and savoury bakes. There’s no wall separating the two outlets. Three Chicks and a Bear is a lot more spare than the average Theobroma outlet but distinctly rustic with its distressed brick wall and wooden benches and tables. The two ventures are serviced by a common kitchen. The buns and selection of desserts such as the lemon tart, red velvet cake and fudge brownie that are blitzed into freakshakes are all made by Theobroma.
The beverage is a milkshake on steroids designed to appeal to sugar junkies. Each shake is named after the colour that corresponds to the dessert in the beverage. Yellow (Rs210) is a lemon crumble shake that combines a chunk of lemon tart, milk and ice cream packed into a mason jar rimmed with biscuit crumbs and lemon curd. The sunny beverage was less cloying than it appeared and was pleasantly tart and textured thanks to the liberal sprinkling of biscuits. The Elvis-inspired Beige (Rs210) was an equally over-the-top mashup of banana cake, salted caramel, peanut butter, milk and ice cream. The banana cake dunked in the drink was beyond reproach.
If you can spare any appetite between the monstrous shakes and hefty burgers, the menu offers a selection of tasty junk food as appetisers. Their mac and cheese (Rs220) was rendered hot and crisp as a fritter flecked with corn flakes powdered with a house-made paprika blend. Tender tubes of pasta glued together with molten cheddar spilled out of the meatball sized fritters. Once the restaurant acquires its wine and beer license, we suspect the peanuts (Rs100) massaged with an addictive and sticky blend of brown sugar, chilli and lime will move quickly.
The only nod to health on the menu built on carbs, cheese and meat, is the naked burger, which shuns the bun. You can customise any burger on their menu as a bread-less platter of meat with served with a sauce (you can opt for extra sauces priced at Rs50 per serving) and heaps of crunchy red cabbage and lettuce slaw doused in a mustard vinaigrette. The zesty salad was the highlight of our Thai pork belly (Rs400) and Louisiana fried chicken (Rs380) naked platters. Double-frying had rendered the chicken crisp but woefully parched. The pork belly was served as lifeless, gamey slices of meat somewhat salvaged by a phenomenal Asian barbecue sauce fragrant with star anise.
Skipping the bun here is a grave mistake. Their sesame speckled toffee brown breads are baked until squishy yet sufficiently firm to contain the mess of meat and cheese stuffed between them. In addition to making exemplary buns, the kitchen’s treatment of tenderloin is flawless. Our French blue cheese burger (Rs395) and the Israeli salted tenderloin bun (Rs395) checked all the boxes of a first rate burger. The patty in the blue cheese burger was deep pink, moist and fortified with blue cheese and a black grape compote that were the optimally sharp and sweet respectively. The salted tenderloin burger was just as cohesive with a distinct savoury flavour of home-cured tenderloin slices smeared with sour cream and topped off with sauerkraut and gherkins.
Each burger came with a tangle of crunchy fries. The un-skinned paprika dusted batons though triple fried were remarkably greaseless. We tried six out of a dozen dipping sauces including the curry leaf mayonnaise; harissa tzatziki and the TCAAB sauce, all of which were ruined by an excess of a sweet and yolky mayonnaise. Thankfully the sub-par condiments are used sparingly within the burgers. In both pricing and flavour, their well-executed buns occupy and will likely rule the middle ground between franchise and gourmet burgers.
Get: Mac & cheese (Rs220); Yellow freakshake (Rs210); French blue cheese burger (Rs395); and the Israeli salted tenderloin burger (Rs395).
Skip: Thai pork belly (Rs400) and Louisiana fried chicken (Rs380) naked burgers.
It is our policy to wait at least a week after an establishment has opened before we review it.
Prices include taxes. This review was conducted anonymously.
Three Chicks and A Bear and Theobroma, Lodha Supremus, near Mathuradas Mills Compound, Lower Parel. Open daily, from 11am to midnight. Tel: 82912 72040. Get directions here.