The last time we dined at Upper Deck, the sea facing outdoor restaurant was all about romance, with candles, cabanas and a gentle breeze that is not uncommon on a March evening. But that was a year and a half ago. Since then, the cabanas have transformed to meet the demands of time and weather (now permanent tents), the candles have been overpowered by bright electric lamps and the weather has gotten a lot nippier. That’s not all. Sumeet Sood, the executive chef at Vivanta by Taj-Fisherman’s Cove has roped in Mrinalinee VS Swarup as junior sous chef, and together, they have replaced the Mediterranean menu that was trademark at Upper Deck with bistro fare from France and Italy. But does the romance remain? We accept their invitation to a tasting menu and find out.
Said menu turns out to be a total of 12 dishes, but our Bengali hosts insist it’s not more than we can handle. So we confidently wade through French onion soup with a rather large gruyere crouton atop before nibbling strips of fried leek that garnish our leek tarts. The chicken liver pate that follows is rather stiff on the outside, but with a little assistance from a sharp knife, we enjoy it on walnut bread and dipped in apple chutney. Mains begin with zucchini and pumpkin-stuffed pockets of ravioli doused in white sauce. The pasta could have spent a few more minutes on the fire, but that’s forgotten when the duck confit arrives. In an orange-finished sauce, the tender meat and buttery skin have us taking our time. And though we polish every drop of the peppery bacon and mushroom sauce in the coq au vin that comes next, the 18-hour pinot noir-marinated chicken will still have to settle for second place.
Dessert is a walk on the dark side, with grandma’s chocolate fudge cake. Our chefs choose a classic vanilla ice cream combination that you can’t go wrong with. We soon find ourselves on that mandatory walk down the winding path to the Watch Tower. It’s time to say goodbye to Fisherman’s Cove and we’re already missing something. Whether it’s the wine or the view or the tiramisu that we finished just minutes ago, we can’t really tell. But given we’d do it all over again, I’ll safely say the romance still remains.
Meal for two at around Rs 2,800. Details: 67413333
— Ryan Peppin