Ellipsis - Contemporarising American Chow

A successful case of experimentation leading to divine pleasure, Ellipsis delights food critics and enthusiasts alike. Read our review of this perfection personified Mumbai restaurant

By: Karishma Suri

Posted on: August 13, 2012

A successful case of experimentation leading to divine pleasure, Ellipsis delights food critics and enthusiasts alike. Read our experience of this perfection personified Mumbai restaurant.

Modern is the new classic. With everything being modernised to suit the ever changing Indian population, it comes as no surprise, that popular cuisines too are taking a cue. Bitten by the bug are two passionate food connoisseurs who have reinvented American cuisine much to the glee of culinary gourmands. Replacing Villa 39 and Golden Gate in Mumbai stands a new ‘Modern American’ venture founded by Rohan Talwar and Ranbir Batra. Out with the sloppy burgers and greasy fries, it’s time for sophistication and finesse without the slightest compromise on taste.

Making Mumbai home to his first restaurant, Mr Rohan Talwar, CEO & Founder of IB Hospitality, wouldn’t have it any other way. “Having a rich culture of food and drink, the people of Mumbai already have a diverse and vast repertoire of restaurants and nightspots. We felt that Mumbai is an ideal spot to make our debut into India as people are well-travelled and are looking for a true international experience when they dine. It is not only about offering great food, but ensuring that the ambience, beverages and service are also all on par with what our diners would get anywhere in the world,” he explained.

Set in a 19th century building, Ellipsis, combines contemporary style with the opulence and romance of the past for a stimulating interplay of history and modernism. Tucked away in a quiet Colaba lane, it is quite possible that you may miss the restaurant due to lack of any prominent lighting or even a name that could verify your navigational skills. But once inside, the homely ambience and pleasant staff will amplify your olfactory and visual senses. Two distinctly-conceptualized floors are brought to life by renowned designer Thomas Schoos as he plays with a rustic, yet modern décor. Making a classy statement is the chandelier, tiled tabletops and supple leather seating. Vintage paintings from every style and period over the last 100 years, some even contributed by him, adorn the walls, finishing the complete homely look.

A new twist
Ellipsis offers a menu inspired by a myriad of seasonal ingredients and international techniques. Executive Chef and former Chicagoan, Kelvin Cheung, leads the team with a menu that gives a standing ovation to the trend of farm-to-table. While polished local ingredients are a rarity, the team feels strongly about supporting local produce, and frequents the market multiple times weekly to pick what’s fresh and oozes superiority.

Treading on unfamiliar ground, Ellipsis takes pride in providing an unparalleled dining experience. “We see the response growing steadily with each passing day as diners hear about our cuisine and bar. The menu has an equal range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Guests have taken time to get accustomed to our menu style – it is a single page, which is printed daily with menu items changing provided what is fresh and seasonal. We see that they have appreciated our endeavour to deliver the freshest ingredients and find that they are eager to return to try new dishes.” Mr Talwar said.

Sceptical about ‘Modern American Cuisine’? You can confidently junk your doubts. “Our guests have given us extremely positive feedback on our food. It is American cuisine with a comfort feel. Each dish is a playful take on the traditional. For example, a celebrated dish of the south, chicken and waffles, is served with Foie Gras butter, while our traditional American pizzas are served as flatbreads and our ravioli is garnished with truffle air foam. The range of dishes allow the Indian palate to experiment, while there are still dishes for those who prefer not to venture too far from the familiar,” said Mr Talwar. Brownie points to the staff that has been trained to not only understand and deliver the best in terms of service, but to also understand the food they serve. Consequently, the team is expertly able to guide a customer through their ordering, and educate them on the inspirations behind each dish!

On its way
With finesse and class in the air, it only seemed befitting to start the evening with highly recommended cocktails. The Silent Agenda (a perfect concoction of watermelon bianco, gin, grapefruit and seltzer) has quite the opposite effect of silence on you and will drown any agenda whatsoever. The High Fidelity is true to its name and makes you loyal to no one, but yourself, with a splash of vodka, passion fruit, campari and lemon. Pair these up with a few bar bites and your palate is set to experience sheer exotica. Pick from garlic aioli fries or herb flatbread with pesto, cherry tomato, roasted garlic and arugula (which is a take on the American pizza). Non-vegetarians can dig into jamón which has serrano, foie gras mousse, manchego and tomato bread. The kitchen also starts you off with a tiny portion of soup in a shot glass.

Menu items are broken up into three categories - Garden, Farm and Sea - all of which are self explanatory and quite concise, so there’s not too much of a war when it comes to decision making. From the garden, go with a portion of the tomatoes and be prepared to colour up with a variety of heirlooms, mozzarella, roasted garlic, basil and balsamic. A definite must try is the polenta with spring onions, sorrel, herbs, arugula and crème fraiche which was a perfect zing of flavours (take a moment to enjoy the punch from the onion, perhaps pickled)! Consuming it piping hot as it came, the polenta was smooth and as thin as the air in the mouth. Let it leave for a while and it becomes chewy as its nature is. Don’t test your patience for good taste therefore!

Almost too good to be shared was the gnocchi which they ‘do’ with roasted garlic, corn, peppers, parmesan and mushroom duxelle (watch out, even the strictly non-vegetarian will reach out for a second helping). Quite unusual for gnocchi, it was light, while the corn gave it an American twist. From the farm section, every non-vegetarian will devour the chicken and waffles which is made of fried succulent chicken, sourdough waffle, foie butter and bacon gastrique – oh magnifique! The sea section’s pomfret tossed up with brown butter, caper, panko, parsley and cauliflower seems like a good catch for any day!

A sweet polish
If you have a sweet tooth like me, you will find it impossible to complete this meal without their sumptuous desserts. Want to awaken the tiny pocket in your tummy that you had once saved for special occasions? Well, now is that time. Perfect presentation, molecular gastronomy and from one sweet tooth to another, the rocky road consisting of meringue, chocolate rocks (chocolate mousse frozen using liquid nitrogen) and cookie ice cream will take you down a road that you will forever remember! Ever considered being in the middle of a happy brain freeze? Ellipsis’s snazzy ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip, milk and honey sorbet and chocolate milk will take you there.

With food inspired by American cuisine, but offering a modernist and unique approach to what is considered traditional, Ellipsis sets the bar quite high and reinvents American food to another level. The word ‘ellipsis’ signifies three dots at the end of a sentence, which denotes that there is more to come.

Keeping us wanting more, is it? Definitely holds true here... 

Coordinates: B-1 Amarchand Mansion, 16 Madame Cama Road, Colaba, Mumbai
Ph: +91-22-66213333

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