Restaurant Review: Shivaji Park marks one of the most frequented and talked-about neighbourhoods of Dadar West. Despite its popularity and crowds, the locality boasted only very few fine dining restaurants – until a few months ago. The Kohinoor Square complex has developed into a culinary haven, now housing several famous brands along with other unique establishments. And one of the newest and buzziest post-monsoon openings there was Coast & Bloom. We recently had the opportunity to dine here and discover its novelties for ourselves.
At the helm of Coast & Bloom is Mitra Walke, whose family is also behind the popular eating joints Chaitanya and Nav-Chaitanya. These two establishments have been around since the 90s, and the Walke family’s newest offering is a step up in more ways than one. Enter through the doors and you’ll be whisked away to a space that feels far, far away from the hustle-bustle of Shivaji Park and Dadar. The effect is immediate: you realise this is an aesthetic and gastronomic escape. The 110-seater restaurant is adorned with suspended fabric installation, wooden-beamed and soft-textured ceilings, hand-stitched jute chandeliers, and stone-textured walls. We are told that these have been handmade by coastal artisans, highlighting heritage even in the midst of such sophistication. As we shall discover, this balance is also reflected in the menu.
The food is an ode to the riches of the sea, “from the shores of Konkan to California and from Malabar to Amalfi”. Yes, it is a haven for seafood lovers, but it is so much more. Mitra Walke explains how his idea was to retain the essence of home-style cooking and robust flavours while taking advantage of the best global techniques and ingredients. Regional Indian favourites and exotic international creations are thus given equal importance here. The menu has been conceptualised by Chef Prasad Parab, who harnessed more than 20 decades of experience to Coast & Bloom. Over the years, he had dabbled in and mastered dishes from French, Mexican, American and Modern Italian cuisines to Thai, Mediterranean, and Regional Indian cuisines.
We first ordered the vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup enriched with lentils, coconut milk, coriander and spices. It was a soothing and wholesome start to our meal. We felt instantly rejuvenated and ready to tackle the feast ahead. We also liked the Coastal Banga broth. Be warned, this comes packed with heat. The particular consistency and spiciness of the dish reminded us more of a Malvani chicken curry than a soup. But it was delicious either way.
Turn to the pages of the menu after soups and salad, and you’ll realise the sheer vastness of coastal delights on offer. One side covers both vegetarian and chicken options. The next is reserved for “seaside savouries,” ranging from Xacuti fish rolls and Tandoori fish to Oysters Rockefeller and Louisiana crab cakes. While curating the menu, Mitra clarified that the approximate division was 60% seafood, 25-30% vegetarian fare and the remaining, chicken/ meat. This is a reflection of the dietary pattern of many sections of the population in coastal states, he tells us.
We were intrigued by the mention of the Crab Kakkori: a tender and mildly spiced seekh kebab made of crab meat. This ‘crab kebab’ turned out to be the best dish we tasted that evening. We haven’t stopped talking about it since! As we dug into the succulent and juicy meat, we mentally tipped our hats to the chef’s prowess in keeping the meat intact on skewers in the first place. The kakkori spices were wonderfully balanced and the trio of sides – a cheesy butter dip, masala pyaaz and mashed kiwi introduced us to scrumptious new flavour combinations. Make note, this is a treat worth returning for.
We also highly recommend the Trio Of Prawns, especially if you’re a table of 3-4. Simply put, this is a prawn lover’s dream on a (huge) plate. It includes three different prawn starters – each highlighting not just distinctive flavours but also specific cooking techniques. The first is a classic: Japanese-style tempura-coated prawns. They are crisp and light, providing a welcome break from strong flavours. Next up, the Aglio Olio Peperoncino consists of cooked prawns infused with garlic and olive placed on bruschetta-style bread slices. Recall that we called this a dreamy order. So don’t expect just two or three pieces on the bread – picture slices loaded with prawns to the point of overflowing. The third appetiser – Kondapur Coconut crisp, is shaped like an inverted cone, with the tail protruding from the apex. This was a unique and lip-smacking delicacy we hadn’t tried before.
If you’re looking for a veg starter, we recommend the Spanakopitas. These delicately crisp Greek parcels enclose a stuffing of red spinach and feta, with a melt-in-the-mouth consistency. Although the emphasis is on seafood, the restaurant has ensured that vegetarians don’t just have decent, but delectable options to choose from.
Coast & Bloom now has a full bar and a range of fascinating cocktails on the menu. During our visit, we also tried some refreshing mocktails. For a desi treat, we recommend the delights of Ratamba (a concoction of kokum syrup and cranberry juice, with a dash of rock salt). For a different kind of tropical vibe, go with Panda Panda (featuring pandan syrup, cranberry juice, gooseberry syrup and soda).
A thoughtful balance of choices is reflected in the main course section of the menu. There are traditional staples from most coastal states of the country, several Asian favourites, and a tempting selection of European and Continental delicacies. A separate menu of signature dishes has additional options celebrating a particular type of seafood such as white pomfret, lobster, Norwegian salmon and others.
If you’re in the mood for discovering regional Indian delicacies, go for mains such as the Kolambi Khichdi or the Motla – both an ode to the richness of Konkan cuisine. If you want to play it safe, you cannot go wrong with the Malabar fish curry here. The slight tanginess of the curry was just right, as was the fluffy softness of the appams it was served with. The white pomfret was cooked to perfection and complemented the overall flavours particularly well.
Coast & Bloom impressed us with not only the variety of dishes on offer but also the skill and thoughtfulness with which each was crafted. The coast is truly a treasure trove of possibilities, and the restaurant showcases the best of its jewels – without forgetting its roots.
Where: Second Floor, Kohinoor Square, Dadar – W, N C. Kelkar Marg, Shivaji Park, Mumbai.