Im saddened. AND Im gladdened. Am experiencing two contradictory emotions simultaneously. I feel sad, very sad at the shutting down of one of the city’s oldest Chinese restaurants, Kamling. It’s red tasseled lanterned room is full of nostalgic, happy memories. Of the many dinners which Shashi Kapoor and his family had there, of sharing the Chimney soup with the dashing Karan Kapoor, of endless meals of comforting Chinese food. The family Tham has replaced it’s old world, Kamling with the young and vibrant Foo Town serving Asian tapas, sushi and sashimi too.
Who better to review it with than the dapper,avid golfer, gourmet Japanese consul general Michio Harada? Not only has he traveled the world but cooks brilliantly, shops for the freshest fish at the Sassoon docks and loves entertaining in his sprawling Carmichael road home. Harada san has been in India past seven months and is already well-loved here. We had a super time over dinner (discussing golf, Japanese and Indian restaurants in Mumbai) but the food did not match the fare at Foo in Phoenix High street.
So we went back for a second check, my gourmet spies (who’d dined with me in Foo, Phoenix High street too) sat in the outdoor section and gave the food a thumbs up.
Located in the buzzing Churchgate area, the old world Kamling has reincarnated as Foo Town. Kudos to Sumessh Menon for creating an ambiance that straddles the past and the present, A custom fishscale stone flooring with red mosaic inserts welcomes you into the warm and inviting interiors of Foo with its burgundy finish arched windows that echo the design of Foo at Phoenix Mills. Commercial music fills the cheery space.
Small plates. Big plates. Dimsum, soups, salads, sushi, sashimi, a couple of Kamling favourites and a few with Nikkei influences too. Two meals here serve up two different experiences. At our meal with the Japanese Consul general, only a few dishes stood out. Thin carpaccio like avocado salad, Po Po…Pomelo pork salad vibrant with citrus and the spicy Thai lotus root. We enjoyed the comforting old world Kamling Hakka Chicken Ask for their popular Foo Asian Burrata and quinoa salad, vegetarians have plenty of choice, crisp
Vegetable Tempura to ‘Foo Vegan’ Maki sparkled with avocado and Thai chillies. End with the Yuzu Orange Cream Caramel. Sake, creative cocktails, fully stocked bar too,
Stodgy sushi, small portions of stale sashimi were the biggest disappointments. Overcooked lamb, ditto for the Kamling whole pomfret. Oversauced sweet potato and many a dish lacked the vibrance of dishes at Foo, Phoenix mills. The sesame cheesecake dessert fell flat too. Inconsistency marked the food over our two meals.
There’s been a reincarnation in Churchgate. “Kamling” has been reborn as “Foo town”. “Foo” translates to “ fortune” “goodluck” in Chinese And fortunately (for us and the owners) it is moderately priced, has friendly service, great ambiance too.. All the ingredients which go to make up a great restaurant experience. However, the most important element…food …was not upto par at one meal and great at the next. Consistency is most crucial and hopefully the experienced restaurateurs, Ryan and Keenan Tham (of Koko and Foo fame) will ensure it and Foo town will have us Foo-dies asking for more.
82, Nagin Mahal, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate
open 12.00pm – 1.00am
ph +91 9920133499
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
Av meal for two Rs 3000