All about living in this crazy, wonderful city called Bombay

September 16, 2003

Spanish Nights in Colaba...

Checked out Caliente yet? Its this wonderful new Spanish lounge-bar-cum-gourmet restaurant that seems well set on the way to gastronomical fame in the upper echelons of Southern Mumbai.

Tucked away in a corner of Wodehouse Road in Colaba, Caliente is nestled in the ground floor of a quaint old heritage building. The stylish eatery is divided into three distinct areas called the Bar, the Lounge and the main dining room. With a strong emphasis on elegance and minimalist chic, Caliente has been stylishly remodeled by proprietors Romil Ratra and Vikram Munshi, to include the aesthetic functionality of whitewashed walls, tables set with bamboo mats, votive candles, high ceilings, muted lighting and tone-on-tone colors to bring up the comfort level, even as the professional servers understand the art of making guests feel at home.

Caliente invites guests to dine on a series of tapas, small plates of foods that typically revel in garlic, spicy paprika and other take-no-prisoners seasonings. The tapas are many, supplemented by a list of entrees that include the Pantzaria Skorthalia salad (oven–roasted beets, red onions, olives & macaroni), Ensalada de Pollo Escabechado con Verdures salad (marinated chicken, pickled vegetables and herbs) and saffron infused chicken soup. The inevitable Paella, the rich rice casserole flavored with a choice of seafood, vegetables or chicken, that many consider the quintessential preparation of Spanish cuisine is the definite must-have amongst the main dishes. The lunch menu includes an exhaustive range of sandwiches and pastas.

Books on Spanish cuisine generally agree that the term tapa originally meant a tiny piece of bread, covered with cheese or sausage and arranged like a lid over a pre-meal glass of sherry. Whatever the truth of this, such basic tapas as plates of Paella Croquettes, Lobster stuffed lychees and thoroughly appetizing Chicken Mortadella with smoked pimento go happily with the Spanish red wines.

The wine list is impressive yet approachable. Sangria does rule the ambience, but a foray into their selection of cocktails is highly recommended. And do not, under any circumstances, miss the desert platter, especially the chocolate delicacies.

Is that not that sensual indulgence at its very best?

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