Phoenix Market City is possibly Mumbai's largest mall by size. Stuck in the boring side of Kurla (something I'm sure it intends to change), it isn't exactly easy to get to - and by the looks of it not that many are getting there ("sparsely attended" comes to mind). It does, however, one of the route options on my long commute back from Thane, so I decided to head inside for dinner yesterday.
My destination was Cafe Pico. Started by the folks from the rather nice cafe at Le Mill, the place promises food "born of a million little journeys" around the world. The menu lives up to the promise, mixing French, Italian and Mediterranean with the odd touch of the Caribbean, one or two Africans and even the odd foray into the east. Its peppered with dishes you normally do not see in India; strangolapretti, pissaladiere, goujon, duxelle, tagliata all appear at various points and sound nice, juicy names worth exploring, especially if the execution is good. Peering shortsightedly at the menu, I narrowed down on Korean pancakes and polpettone (try saying that quickly).
The bread and two middle-eastern dips were the first to arrive. One was nice, the other inconspicuous. The pancakes were next; I ordered it because the Korean pancake was one of the stops on my Seoul foodwalk - they call it panjeon and it is very popular with young and old. Pico's version, arranged rather more politely, was quite competent (maybe a tad low on the scallion) and quite recognisably Seoul but without the raucous shoju-drunk crowds milling around, it did seem somewhat less of a big deal.
The polpettone was up next, three slices of meatloaf Italian style with tomato sauce and a side of roasted crushed potatoes. Without being flashy or brash, this dish captured my heart. Meat, tomatoes, potatoes, all combined to simple, but comfortingly tasty. This is not the kind of food that will make anyone a celebrity chef, but I will die happy if someone feeds me this kind of stuff every day.
So here's my dilemma - can one base the whole-hearted recommendation of a cafe on one single dish?
Disclaimer: I know the owners and Sunanda has helped with the decor. However, to make me feel like a real journalist I visited anonymously and paid for my own meal.