It's simple. Take '5 all day' (a new Colaba eatery), add five sparkling guests (four global superstar hoteliers, a dynamic young lady) and I have a 10 on 10 experience. Reason? My two passions... comfort food and fine hotels come together. The relaxed, romantic and foodie Italians kick-start my spirits into high allegro. They share plenty in common... they're well-travelled, witty and work with the most legendary, stylish and leading hotels of the world. Dining with Tony Cacace whose family has owned the stylish palazzo Capri Palace in Italy (it has a two Michelin starred restaurant too) for generations is a delight. He cooks pasta and chicken with a deft hand. Sparkling with anecdotes and fun is Antonio Sersale, owner of yet another fabulous family-owned Moorish baroque Le Sirenuse hotel in Positano. He's married to an Italian and cooks a perfect risotto. Even the gentlemen from the two Swiss hotels have Italian connects. The dapper Michael Lehnort of Gstaad Palace, a three generations owned family hotel, famous as the biggest family mansion in the world" serves up starred Italian fare (world famous signature Pasta gildo.) Fabian Albani keeps us rivetted with accounts of the renovated Doldergrand, Zurich, where the historic main building has been restored to its original state of 1899.
Steering the conversation through the evening is the dynamic lady with the eye for the finest, Pooja Wadhwa, who works with leading hotels. And happily all five of my guests enjoy "5 all day."
Comfort food with a spin
There are times when food can get too haute and bothered, when foams and emulsions get a bit too much. Those are the times for this intriguingly named '5 all day' (owned by Roy Edwin of Santa Cruz's popular '5'). That it has set up at the corner which has seen many a restaurant meet its premature end (the last one being 'Oba') is a tough way to begin. But enter the cheerful sunlit space with walls painted the colour of lime and passion fruit and you begin to smile. A bar, two dining sections (including a mezzanine one) and a lounge, are tucked into this small space.
We order across the menu which zig zags into soups, poached eggs, burgers, pastas. There's a delightful burger with chicken smoked to perfection. That gentle smoky flavour wafts into the smoked bloody Mary soup, smoked pumpkin and fenugreek soup, and the unique wedges of smoked spinach and scarmoza brownies (though these could've done with more of the cheese).
Young and talented Chef Mrinmoy Acharyya's gourmet Bengali sensibilities shine through. Be it the Kasundi marinated Kolkata betki, (flown daily from Kolkata) or the Red spinach, bhavnagari chilly and cream cheese ravioli. Eggs poached to perfection and served with Spanish ham, the vegetarian corn and bean burger meet our approval. As do the crisp, golden fried Risotto, Scarmoza Suppli. My Italian guests enjoy the Pasta Alio too. It's the not so fresh prawns which disappoint. As do the over-sauced crepes. But on the whole, served on rectangular white plates, the food has a robust zing to it.
While the coffee creme brulee and mango creme brulee are too wobbly, the Banoffee is luscious with cream and banana. There's valet parking, friendly service, a fully stocked bar, martinis et al. It's open through the day. Comfort food. Comfort pricing. Mumbai 400005 welcomes Santacruz's 5."
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