Souk at The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai
I am amazed by the dazzling diversity of international food available in Bombay these days and not just at the five star restaurants. Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Thai and Middle Eastern seem to be the most sought after by Bombayites from Churchgate to Vashi. It's quite exciting to see Bombay develop into a terrific city for foodies and words like katsu, carpaccio, tabouli and satay become common parlance.
As luck would have it, I dined twice at Souk located at the Taj in South Bombay on my quick visit this time. Souk is a Middle Eastern restaurant serving mezze and other traditional dishes from Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Greece, and Morocco. The ambience is not particularly Middle Eastern (and I was sad that they didn't energize the atmosphere with Turkish music) but the top floor of the hotel offers stunning views of the Gateway of India and the Bombay Harbour. On my first visit for a business dinner, I was very lucky to be seated at the Chef Table in the exclusive Casablanca Room overlooking a small balcony with roses and other fragrant potted plants as well as a close-up view of the Gateway of India. The chef paid special attention to our table and surprised us with a delicious tasting menu including mezzes, humus and babaganoush, falafel, chickpeas soup, Moroccan vegetarian tagine, bakhlava and rose petal icecream. On my second visit, I had a simple dinner with Nisha and Vikram for Vikram's bithday. We ordered a few mezzes and shared a light couscous and vegetable stew dish. We were even treated to a creamy birthday cake. The highlight of my second visit was ordering a hookah in double apple flavour and savouring it with mint tea while catching up with my dear friends.