Gaylord in Churchgate is not just a restaurant, but a landmark in itself. Born in Mumbai in 1956, it has been serving generations of its patrons since then. It lives upto its moniker with its delightful food and a prized bakery. It is one of the first restaurants in Mumbai which served multi-cuisine food: European, Indian and Continental. Fiercely popular even with expats, eating here is an experience in itself. The food is delicious as well as affordable here, and that’s the reason why Gaylord is a chill-out hangout, attracting a lot of college crowd. Gaylord Mumbai boasts of an extremely diverse group of diners. It has restaurants worldwide. In fact, I tasted Gaylord’s food for the first time in Hong Kong and was enthralled by such wonderful flavours they serve!
Gaylord and Food Blogger’s Association of India recently invited around 15 Mumbai-based bloggers for the Chef’s Table and I was one of them too. It was a pleasure and honour to share the table with Noel D’Souza himself, who is the General Manager there since 1987!
The restaurant offers comfortable seating and the décor has a vintage European influence. Huge paintings in Gaylord speak of the bygone era and definitely add an old-world charm to the overall setting. I loved the old-fashioned furniture in the garden cafeteria near the bakery, although we were comfortably seated upstairs. Unique surroundings and a welcome atmosphere makes Gaylord even more interesting, as are its food and drinks. The ambience — both inside and out — is charming, and we bloggers had a great time chatting, eating and drinking in this beautiful and cosy setting. The antique atmosphere imbues a vibe just perfect for spending quality time with people you love to hang around with.
I have always heard and read great things about Gaylord food, but didn’t have the opportunity to dine here before. This was my first time in Gaylord Mumbai, so I was really looking forward to the food-tasting part of the evening. The tasting started soon: the litmus test of Gaylord Mumbai, with bloggers doing live tweets of the food they eat here. The food never stopped coming. The staff was very attentive and the food arrived well-paced. I would say, the service was extremely good. I loved the individual attention that Noel paid to us while we were tasting the food. One of the bloggers had to leave early, so the staff even managed to serve her the desserts before she left. Brownie points for that, Gaylord!
Now the food. The starters poured in. Normally, I would always skip potato-based starters, but they insisted that I try one. I tasted the Bharwaan Aloo. Boy! The potatoes stuffed with paneer and herbs were downright delicious!! They were so good that I wouldn’t mind going there and having these often.
The Lahori Fish Tikka was brilliant. Perfectly charred and moist with bold flavours of spices, these fish tikkas definitely passed the litmus test by me as a fish-eating Bengali (Bengalis are known to be one of the highest consumers of fish in India.). The Chicken Kebabs were succulent and full of flavour. On the other hand, the Kesari Paneer, having subtle flavours of saffron, tasted bland. Had they served the Kesari Paneer first, maybe my opinion would have been different. After eating relatively spicy starters, this starter with subtle flavours couldn’t appeal much to my tastebuds.
I was served the Chicken Consomme next and I loved this soup. Perfectly creamy and full of comforting flavours for me, this soup hit the right note! For the vegetarians, there was French Onion Soup.
Moving on to the salads, the Waldorf Salad tasted average. I would rather prefer my Waldorf salad the classic way, with celery in it. Also, the sauce was a bit runny. The Prawn Cocktail was too saucy and the shrimps were a bit rubbery and overcooked. Generally, iceberg lettuce or cabbage accompanies with the mayo-based version of this classic retro starter, but this was not there. A little touch of greens is what I always prefer in my shrimp cocktail. Presentation-wise, I would rather prefer this to be served in a Martini glass.
The main course was mind-blowing. The Kheema Nalli Gosht was my favourite. The minced meat was clinging to a big chunk of fall-off-the-bone mutton with perfectly harmonious spices, and it tasted perfect. I appreciated the good-quality meat they used to cook the dish. The bones? As far as I am concerned, I love mutton cooked with bones: it adds so much depth to the dish! Take away the bones and the dish would lose a big part of its flavour. It’s the details which I loved in this dish.
The Murgh Makhni and Lasooni Palak were flawless. Any successfully running Indian restaurant has to get its Murgh Makhni right at all costs and Gaylord served terrific Murgh Makhni, foodies! Come over and taste their Lasooni Palak: spinach with garlic. Beautifully cooked, this is the vegetarian dish appreciated by almost all the foodies present there.
If you ask me to pick up one dish that is unique here, that would be the Truffle Naan. Fusion at its best, people raved about the Truffle Naan. I was very impressed by the marriage of truffle oil with the naan: something I never tasted before anywhere. Believe me, it was so addictive that other kinds of flatbreads in the bread basket started feeling jealous as no one paid attention to them. A must-try in Gaylord, this is the taste I would never forget.
There were more in the main course. The Pomfret Meuniere was not quite interesting. The Roast Chicken Bacon was very tasty, but the bacon was rubbery. I loved the humble chickpea dish: Chana Pindi, which brought back college memories for me as I popped a spoonful into my mouth.
Although the tasting menu didn’t have three of their popular dishes: Lamb Stroganoff, Chicken a La Keiv and Vegetable Irish Stew, I had plenty of appealing flavours to try. Gaylords have proven themselves over time, no wonder why they have won so many awards!
There are also interesting cocktails to try here. I tried the Margarita and the Aria Sun (Vodka, grenadine and cranberry juice) and these was just perfect for me. Bohemian Breeze (Vodka, pineapple, ginger, beer), Blue Hawaiian (Bacardi, Amaretto, Blue Curacao, lime cordial and pineapple juice) and Diablo (Tequila, Midori and cranberry juice) are among some other options to try out. However, the Pirate’s Punch mocktail (with orange juice, papaya, pineapple and coconut cream) was a bit too sweet.
It was time for me to leave, as I had to travel far. But before I left, the staff at Gaylord instantly brought me a whole plate of awesomeness in the form of desserts. There were lovely Poached Peaches in Spiced Wine and the most perfect Caramel Custard with Vanilla Bean Extract. The Crunchy Chocolate Mousse was just great. I would definitely recommend all the three desserts for you to try!
As soon as I reached downstairs, there was a big surprise for me waiting already! I was handed over a huge basket of baked goodies from the Gaylords bakeshop. There were three kinds of cupcake flavours, banana-walnut cake, different kinds of freshly baked breads, macarons and macaroons, along with packs of other yummy cookies. As I tasted each of these goodies with my family, we admired each morsel of pure goodness. It’s no surprise why people keep coming back to Gaylord. I would definitely go back for delicious Indian food, lip-smacking desserts and of course, for all the baked goods right there in their pretty bakeshop! Gaylord is definitely a gem in its own right and my special place to unwind whenever I am in Churchgate. Do try Gaylord!
Gaylord Restaurant, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate, Mumbai
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