LA LOCA MARIA
Spanish / Italian
Stop press! A star is born. And this one is so small, that if you blink, you may miss it. But please don’t. I found it just by sheer chance while on my usual drive around “discovery rounds”. We side stepped an empty, morose Italian eatery and Hola! Walked into La Loca Maria…. and a goodlooking young Spanish chef emerged from the kitchen. It was 7pm and the restaurant had just opened.
Go past it’s quaint blue gates and Spanish tile name plate into a brightly lit, small, boxed in room with painted art murals about independent spirited women. I found it later that
Chef Manuel Olviera’s mother, Maria is his inspiration, she opened the first restaurant in her Spanish village. Bustling around was the Pratima Tuljapurkar, the chef’s wife, a realtor who has also done the décor.
We love the vibrant explosion of flavours, fresh local produce in the short succinct menu of Tapas, burgers, pasta and main courses. Must trys: crazily addictive, plump prawns in olive oil with a thrilling chilli, garlicky charge spiked with Spanish pimento. Tender flavorful redwine braised buff sparkled with pineapple chutney and a kiss of chocolate. Also a must try is the brined overnight, slow cooked sous vide
Roast Chicken. Melting soft croquettes intense with mushroom truffle, light and bright excellent sea bass crudo.Fish Burger with wasabi mayo and chevre is good too. Im not a burger fan.
Go for that dreamy, creamy deconstructed tiramisu, coffee icecream topped with Mascarpone spuma.That snowy cloud of Crema catalana, melting in consistency could have been a snowdrift, except it was spiked with orange and cinnamon and the chef torched it on the table.
The small space can be charming but also crammed when busy. Out of the
25 dishes, only 8 are vegetarian. More needed. Beetroot hummus lacked punch, ditto for the Patata Bravas. No alcohol. Parking a pain.
Go on. Make a special trip to Bandra. Go prepared to encounter a boxed in tiny space. But the food is big on bold flavours. Having worked in many a Michelin starred restaurant, Chef Manuel Olveira distils sunny Spain and serves up Mumbai’s best Gambas al ajillio (prawns in chilli garlic olive oil) and the lightiest airiest tiramisu. Whats Tiramisu doing in a Spanish restaurant, or for that matter juicy burgers? Torched panacotta? Is that why the Spanish chef owner named his first restaurant La Loca Maria? It translates to Loca (crazy) Maria ( his mom)? We love the oomph and exuberance which distils into the moderately priced fare. This loca babe is a must-visit. Hola Maria!
La Loca Maria Shop No. 5, Carlton Court, Corner of Turner Road Signal Between Citibank ATM Bandra West.
Open 12:00 pm to 3:30 pm and 7:00 pm to 11:30 pm.
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
Av meal for two Rs 2200