?Gossip, the new bistro on ECR, checks all the right boxes, with braised peppery beef and crab meat cake.
SO MANY recent eating and drinking establishments are named for the vaguest of ideas — many with single word signage and typical suffixes that spell little more than just the latest fad. So when I was told that the newest restaurant in town was called Gossip Bistro and Dessert Bar, I was given to dismissing it as just another ruse. But this concept restaurant seems to have got it just right. Situated just before the toll gate on the ECR, this new eatery makes any distance covered getting there worth your while.
Ramya Venkatraman and Hari Prasad Ganesan are first time restaurateurs, but the detail with which they have crafted the menu, and the look to go with it, is truly remarkable. The bistro look is nicely achieved, with their customised pressure-gauge lighting fixtures and classic-pop arcade memorabilia. The food though is really what gives an establishment its lifeline, and having teamed up here with Chef Anand, Venkatraman and Ganesan seem to have given Gossip a real boost. An old hand that many in the city will remember most fondly as the heart and soul of Cornucopia Restaurant, Chef Anand’s fix on fusion tastes finds new flavours here. Tempura prawns crisply batter-fried and tossed in a wasabi sauce tingled, while spicy mutton kofta kebab seemed seemed at home on my plate even before the other had gone down. Braised peppery beef came with roasted coconut chips — a crackle of Kerala on the tongue, while Boston BBQ wings were crisped smothered in a thick smoky hot ’n’ sweet glaze. The list of soups and salads (with names like Madras Matador and Stir Fried Warm Seafood Salad) were difficult to decline but having eaten more than my fill of appetisers I decided one main was as much as I could manage. As a main, a crab meat cake with mango sauce could seem curious, but as it arrived, with a large sumptuous patty the colour of the setting sun, I was sold. The spicy chilli in the crab cake was just hot enough to warrant the sweet mango curd, peanut flavoured rice and sautéed vegetables that accompanied it.
To finish, the Chef recommended the Vanilla Bean and Betel Leaf Pannacotta with paan sauce and the fresh fruit and nut baklava, which came as a fruit salad served with mascarpone cream in a baklava pastry cup. Both these desserts boggled my mind for their pairings. Gossip is a welcome addition to our landscape and I’m happy to learn that a baking menu is in the works.
Meal for two at Rs 800.
— Niren Saldanha