Mediterranean fare gets pocket-friendly, at the month-old Luxer on RK Salai
In a city where biryanis and curries rule, it’s not everyday that young men decide to break the norm and open a stand-alone Mediterranean restaurant. Try making a list of the number of said restaurants in the city and you’ll see exactly what we mean. So as soon as we hear about Luxer on RK Salai, we find ourselves already dipping pita bread in hummus at the restaurant opposite Citi Centre. “This is our first venture in hospitality,” smiles proprietor S Adnan, whose family has been into real estate for generations. Needless to say, Luxer (named after the Egyptian city Luxor) is his brainchild and the 24-year-old is still deciding what to do with the rest of the four storey building that it is housed in. “The restaurant already spans two floors, and we are deciding between banquet halls or rooms for the rest of the building,” he shares.
The menu, we find, is quite straightforward. Despite there being just a handpicked list of soups, salads and starters, a section of clever platters makes things even easier. And chef Sunil Gavaskar, who comes with experience from The Park, lets his mains take up most of your time. There’s also an odd page dedicated to pastas, but Adnan is quick to explain that it is a necessity, especially when catering to families, some with very choosy children.
Before long, we’re scooping out from glasses of creamy almond soup and chicken consomme, both served with a side of breads. Then our mezze platter arrives with tabbouleh, more hummus and pita, babaghanoush and their best appetisers like the lamb kibbeh (minced lamb patties) flavoured with baharat (a Middle Eastern spice mix) and the wish bone wings (chicken wings) marinated with French blue cheese and herbs.
Designed to share
It’s only when our pan-seared salmon and lamb shank arrive that we realise the manager was not kidding when he said that the mains here, are a ‘complete meal’ by themselves. Chef Gavaskar serves his salmon with a sweet salad of assorted nuts and dates, a harissa sauce and a burnt garlic-flavoured heap of wild rice. If only it did not arrive well done, the salmon with its brittle, parmesan kissed skin would have been the show stopper for us. As for the tender lamb leg (nearly slides off the bone), soaked in a subtle balsamic reduction with caramelised shallots, boiled veggies and a polenta cake for company, it makes an equally strong case for itself. So strong in fact that the baklava in all its dominating rose flavoured decadence, could take pointers. At under `600 plus tax for the mains and Rs 499 plus tax for the platter, this is pocket-friendly Mediterranean at its best.
Approximately Rs 750 for two.