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Restaurant Review: Mr. Baozi - Asian Gastro-pub

  It was the interesting name, 'Mr. Baozi', which propelled us to visit Juhu's new gastro-pub. It was also the fact that it has the same owners as my favourite and the hugely popular, The Bar Stock Exchange. On that cool January night, sitting alfresco was the perfect thing to do. With the perfect company. Internationally acknowledged, globetrotting gourmets Ann Scott and Saket Sethi.

Ann Scott (ranked as London's 1000 influential individuals and arguably the UK's numero uno luxury hotel and spa PR) not only loves Asia and India but also spends a lot of time here. With offices in Mumbai and Barcelona, architect Saket Sethi's work is in worldwide demand and he also makes time to host the popular TV show, Luxe Interiors Season 2. Our palate opinion of Mr Baozi follows.

Walk into the plant-filled alfresco area with its lounge seating; bar-style elevated seating and also pergola covered seating with pinewood tables and planters. Saket draws our attention to the detailed laterite civil work wood lattices and rope work for privacy. There is an indoor space with many design elements and a familiar aesthetic of fashionable gloom.

Molecular and other cocktails with Asian ingredients is the focus of this Asian gastro-pub. The long menu winds through sushi, sashimi, dim sum, satays, soups, salads and you-name-it, of course, Bao's. Though smaller than usual in size, the dim sum had thin skins and were flavoursome, be it the chilli mushroom or prawn and chives. The Baos came four to a portion, overflowing with spicy flavours tuned to the Indian palate.

Disappointments galore. Avoidable sashimi (limited choice and not the freshest) and sushi (neither the rice nor the filling were authentic). The Cantonese fish managed the feat of dry meat under wet, squishy skin. Pho was blunt and overbearing. The King prawn had a weirdly and unpleasantly astringent kick. Soggy, lacklustre and spicy pot rice. Chatpatta flavours tuned to the Indian palate in the other dishes. To add to our woes, the service, including our wine order, was confused and mixed up.

Disappointing. Long, confusing and overambitious menu. Bending over backwards to please the Indian palate, many a dish tips over into Chin-dian flavours. Off-key service, too. Bit hard to comprehend that the spot-on, popular, The Bar Stock Exchange and Mr Baozi have the same owners. I'm crossing my fingers that they breathe their magic into Mr Baozi, too. Till then it's Bye Bye Baozi.



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