In a NUtshell:
A visually beautiful restaurant in mumbai race course (accessible to all) that served some very good food, great for romantic dinners as well as catch up with friends, hosts were warm people who were confused on product knowledge.
Address & other details: Neel
Meal for 2: ₹2000
Cuisine type : vegetarian and non vegetarian
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YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description- in case u r in a hurry:
We saw Neel restaurant while driving past Powai one day, looked up and realized they are the same group as indigo and indigo deli. On reading more we got to know that they have one at race course and one at powai. While indigo is continental food, Neel is indian.
The restaurant is located in mumbai race course campus, entrance near gate no. 5. The building seems to be built in the colonial times or it has been made to look like that.
There is a glass wall covered area, a full covered dining hall and an open area with a roof shed. All three places were equally attractive and difficult to choose among
There was a feel of old world hospitality.
The menu card had items from different parts of india in both vegetarian and non vegetarian , unlike most so called Indian restaurants who serve only North Indian . There was a set menu option as well as an a la carte. There was a separate ‘ Neel signature menu’.
There were quite a few unusual names on the menu card also. I saw bhopali biryani and asked what was it about. The server said ‘it is layered’. I said ‘like Hyderabadi’? He gave a non confident look and nodded and then said ‘it has liver pieces in it too’. That sounded different and interesting.
On the menu there was a Murshidabadi biryani. I asked what was it about. He said it is Hyderabadi style. I said why is it called Murshidabadi. He had no answer. Google map only showed Murshidabad in West Bengal. I could not locate any Murshidabad near hyderabad.
Quite confused I asked the manager. He said ‘no it is Lucknowi ‘. The chef (not sure if he is the chef de cuisine) also walked in and said it is Lucknowi. Strange!!!!
Then I googled to check if there was any Murshidabad in UP. Yes, near Bareilly there is a small village called Murshidabad. But no references of any biryani from there. Further google search revealed that shiraj restaurant of kolkata has a Murshidabadi biryani which is a low fat version of traditional biryani, launched few years back!!! Or was it coz the chef is from Murshidabad and he named his interpretation of a dish as Murshidabadi?
Would be nice to get a management response on this. What is the point of giving an exotic name to a dish and serve the same thing , if it is same.
Apart from these funny conversations the service was impeccable. People took great care.
Food ranged from ‘very good’ to ‘brilliant’.
Detailed description- in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
We started with Bohri boti – Bohri style kababs made from marinated meat chunk. Unbeatable. Jaw dropping good. Our tastebuds started jumping with joy. Super soft, yet texture of meat could be felt, intense flavours of meat and spices, smokey effect ….. just too good. Rate it 4.75/5
We moved on to bhopali biryani. The biryani came sealed with a top cover made of maida. The biryani had boneless meat pieces as well as with bones, in addition to liver pieces. This was the layered biryani where curried meat was placed in between layers of rice and then dum cooked.
The rice was aromatic, soft, long grains of rice which were not independent- they were sticking to each other. In general it is easy to cook a lot of biryani together but individual portions are difficult. A lot of effort showed in this biryani vs. The effortless (not too much happening) yet amazing biryanis of Aafreen , arsalan, idris , shadab etc. Rate the rice 4.25/5
The meat in the biryani was very soft and flavourful. Loved the liver pieces as well. Rate it 4/5
Overall rating of bhopali biryani averages out to 4.1/5
We also tried Murshidabadi sookha gosht. The oniony gravy was excellent. It had a slight sweetness from onion and great flavours of masalas. Rate the gravy 4.5/5
The meat was soft but suboptimally soft – meat from a larger animal. Flavours of meat were good. Rate the meat 3.5/5
Overall rating of the dish averages out to 4/5
We also ordered kokum soda. This was a very nice drink with just the right amount of kokum syrup. Rate it 4.25/5
For dessert we ordered modak. Turned out to be the worst modak I had in mumbai so far. Super thick and hard outer cover, non juicy and dry rawa, coconut and jaggery filling. Flavours of ghee missing. Rate it 1/5
Overall rating of food at Neel averages out to 3.6/5
Wud revisit , inspite of lower rating, to try out other dishes as there are some great dishes as well. Wud surely consider this place for a get together or to take our non Indian guests.