Summer House Cafe, Lower Parel

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J. J. R. Tolkien

The name as well as the decor is inspired from one of the co-owner’s holiday visit to a summer house in Sweden. The menu of this merely one month old baby in Mumbai’s restaurant scene is carefully curated by the head chef Arvind, an ex-chef from Radisson, London. The primary concept of the restaurant being that of a quiet place to relax and unwind post work, contrastingly, they also have pop ups, stand-up comedy, live musical performances, concerts and dance nights lined up for us folks throughout the week in the late evenings.

 

AMBIENCE:

The high ceiling, exposed pipes, bricked appearance of the walls, dim but adequate lighting, the comfortable seating arrangements, good music, the long and sturdy bar counter tucked away and a raised platform on the other end of the vast and spacious dining hall; all give this restaurant a minimal, rustic and laid back appearance.

 

BEVERAGES:

We sampled 7 varieties of cocktails crafted by the head bartender Mr. Tully. Amongst them all, the gin based Rewind (also comprising lemongrass, lychee juice, red berries and mint) was undoubtedly my TOP PICK; courtesy the hint of zesty, lemony and faintly spicy flavour that this fruity-sweet blend  revealed. The tequila based Blow My Socks Off (also containing fresh grape fruit juice, fresh pineapple, Cointreau, agave syrup and lime) served in a glass rimmed with black salt was not as potent as the name suggested but let out fresh, light and tropical flavours. The vodka based Invented From Scratch (comprising fresh turmeric, Chinese five spice syrup, curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves andginger ale) served in a tall glass was a wonderfully spiced up, lemony and refreshing concoction that exuded warmth as it trickled down my throat. Their Irish Coffee was an irresistible combination of the robust richness of coffee and thick sweetness of  cream infused with Irish syrup. The Vodka based Hystrix (comprising orange juice, sweet lime juice and a dash of lime juice) had a well balanced tang and sweetness. The Pisco Sour (comprising pisco, lime, sugar syrup, egg white and rosemary) was again a classic citrusy-sweet cocktail of the Peruvian origin. Lastly, the whisky based Made In The City (comprising Blueberries, thyme, egg white and lime juice) being the cocktail that came second in a certain competition in 2016 hosted in Delhi, was my least preferred one amongst them all.

 

APPETIZERS:

 

Chilli Fries

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French fries (frozen ones) fried to get a crispy fried exterior and a soft core covered in copious amounts of spicy-sweet combination of cheese and chilli flakes were served to us with a variety of dips; each turning out to be a very good accompaniment indeed! The only issue was that the fries got soggy over a period of time.

 

The Cheesy Nachos & Salsa Platter With Chicken

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The combination of crispy nacho chips, characteristic pungency of onions, tangy and juicy tomatoes, spiciness of the jalepenos, juicy cubes of chicken and grassy sweetness of the spring onion greens drizzled with oodles of creamy cheese and served with a dollop of whipped cream atop and some tangy and spicy tomato salsa by the side was irresistibly delicious!

 

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

 

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These crispy batter-fried delectables enclosed succulent and flavourful chicken within. The faint pungent undertones of garlic and the spiciness of the chilli flakes revealed by the crunchy and crispy battered crust made this otherwise so common a dish stand out as one of it’s kind!

 

Zesty Fish Fingers

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Fresh and juicy fish enveloped in a crispy and crunchy battered crust totally took us by surprise with it’s  faint zesty and lemon-y flavour, courtesy the lemon zest thoughtfully added in the marinade.

 

Chicken Satay

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The chicken coated in a thin and mildly spicy marinade was adequately juicy and tender and could have been a better treat if  not for the rawness of the spicy marinade that I could taste in certain areas.

 

Sausages Wrapped In Bacon

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Tender and succulent chicken sausages thoroughly wrapped in bacon that these were, they turned out to be a faintly sweet, juicy and  absolutely meaty affair!

 

Pesto Chicken Bruschetta

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Crunchy toasted but not too dry bread loaves topped with plenty of pesto flavoured chicken chunks and some shredded cheese quite easily made these one of the best bruschettas that I have had in the city.

 

Onion Rings

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These crispy and crunchy battered rings with a borderline sweetness imparted by the onions in the centre was simply nailed to perfection and couldn’t have been better!

 

Chilly Chicken Delhi Style

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The spicy chillies from North India used in this preparation imparted a more fiery and hot flavour that instantly hit the nose and effectively created a piping hot and spicy tornado in the mouth!

 

Seafood Basket

 

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This seafood platter comprising zesty fish fingers, springy shrimp popcorn and fresh calamari; all with a crispy batter fried exterior was again interestingly served to us in a crispy thin basket made of wanton sheet.

 

PLATTERS:

 

Veg Mezze Platter

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This platter comprised of crispy, deep fried Falafels with a crunchy exterior enclosing a flavourful mixture of mashed chickpeas and subtle spices; cheesy and moist sticky rice balls; feta samosets with a thin battered crispy crust revealing a soft core of feta cheese and some corn adding a slight crunch element to the filling; creamy and smooth hummus; olives; pulpy and coarse baba Ghanoush having a smoky taste with mild tanginess; tabbouleh; pickled vegetables and lastly pita bread which were sadly a bit too grilled instead of being soft, light and puffed up.

 

Indian Non Vegetarian Platter

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While the juicy, tender and moderately spicy Mustard & green chilli chargrilled chicken tikka revealed appealing faint pungent tones and the BBQ grilled cumin & mint fish tikka had a fresh and peppery spicy flavour with faint smoky notes, the Lamb seekh kebabs lacked a bit of moisture for my liking. The mint chutney, yogurt based dip and kachumber served alongside were good accompaniments.

 

PIZZAS:

 

Sundried & Cherry Tomato, Bocconcini, Fresh Basil

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This thin crust pizza with a crispy baked edge was a delightful treat owing to the fresh, juicy and tangy cherry tomatoes, sharp flavour of the sundried tomatoes, supple and springy bocconcini and the freshness of basil.

 

Pepperoni

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The combination of adequately cooked good quality pepperoni with slightly raised ends and copious amounts of springy, stringy and supple cheese on a thin crust wood fired pizza with a crispy baked edge was again a hit!

 

BBQ Chicken

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While this thin crust pizza again having a crispy baked edge that added a slight crunch to our bite towards the end, let out a very good tangy-sweet flavour of BBQ sauce and the juicy shreds of chicken were in abundance too, the other two pizzas were definitely a better treat as compared to this one!

 

DESSERTS:

 

The Ultimate Banoffee Pie

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This fresh, sweet, light, creamy and soft combination of banana and cream on a pastry base could have been a better treat had they used lesser cream. The abundance of cream effectively masked the characteristic sweet flavour of bananas in this one.

 

Tiramisu

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The fact that this bitter-sweet, soft, delicate, light and creamy dessert with spongy and moist coffee-soaked pastries was crafted without using gelatin really deserves appreciation. However, the abundantly used cream again effectively mellowed down the robust richness of coffee.

 

Carrot Cake With Whipped Cream

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This was the clear winner amongst the desserts, courtesy the freshness and characteristic sweetness of the grated carrots, the nuttiness of almonds and raisins, the moisture imparted by the layer of caramel and banana frosting and not too much of whipped cream used as a garnish atop.

 

SERVICE:

 

Chef Arvind and Mr. Tully were both warm, welcoming, friendly and gracious hosts. The service was very fast to begin with but gradually slowed down as the evening progressed. The attendants, well-groomed and cheerful as they were, also seemed to be confused most of the time and needed constant coaxing by Chef Arvind.

 

VERDICT:

 

Food quality – 4/5

 

Food quantity – 4/5

 

Ambience – 3.5/5

 

Service – 3.5/5

 

VFM – NA (Our meal here was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to sample their menu.)
Summer House Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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