Don't let the name mislead you. India Jones sounds like an Indo-Western fusion restaurant, but is actually not. Despite being regular visitors to the Trident (and its various avatars), it is one place which slipped our consciousness and attention, till we called upon Mr Jones for the sake of this review. We are glad we did!
By: Salman Z. Bukhari
Posted on: March 10, 2011
Walk into India Jones at Trident in Nariman Point, Mumbai, and from the word go, it is ‘oriental’. The staff in smart Chinese collar jackets will usher you promptly to your seat and vanish into the woodwork appearing at just the right time when you need them to. The décor is simple, warm and elegant in deep browns and hints of yellows and the tables are interestingly situated under soft lights which fall on you, making the rest of the restaurant just vanish into the background. It makes for an intimate and very private setting, ideal for an important deal, be it business or romance.
The story of the restaurant unfolds though a fictitious legend - a gambler, foodie and traveller India Jones (Bharat Joyent born on 15th August in India) and how his passion for freedom and adventure took him across Asia, his pursuits led him to various recipes, which then found their way into this fine dining restaurant tucked away in the Trident. We almost believed this to be a true story but sadly it was folklore that led us seamlessly into the very extensive menu with dishes spanning from China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand to Korea, Indonesia, Singapore and Burma. The vast geographic imprint of the selection could be intimidating, but then again India Jones, the rouge, would love to spoil you with choices of his favourite dishes whose recipes he often won in his gambling soirees.
Our helpful maître d' recommended the Prawn Trilogy platter (a tad unimaginative name) which is a selection of different preparations of the same seafood. Each one with distinct flavour and succulent, our taste buds were bowled over times three.
Having travelled extensively across Asia and tried local cuisines, we had to do a ‘Tom Yum Gung’ acid test. This simple Thai soup is easy to make and even easier to get wrong. Most of my experiences have been the latter, even at the most renowned places. One spoonful of the broth and we were assured that Mr. Jones and his team know what they are doing. The bowl transported us back to the streets of Thailand. Fresh, hard hitting and with the right notes of ginger and lemon grass, we were in for a delectable journey.
What is admirable is that without a moment of hesitation the guests are given a tour of the kitchen. Booming with activity with multi-nationality chefs who, despite the frantic pace of activity, greet and show you what they are doing. Only a restaurant confident enough would encourage this. India Jones also boasts of a live selection of seafood, which the guests can select and have prepared in their choice of sauces. We handpicked a Grouper and had it in soy and ginger with Japanese sticky rice and steaming hot spongy Chinese buns. Simple, delicately flavoured, the integrity of the fish was retained, it was soul food. For those who like a bit of DIY, there is the Beijing duck, allowing the diner to create their own wraps with duck slices, sauces, condiments in soft Chinese pancakes. It will be an understatement to say that this was the highlight of the evening and must be tried.
Drama and entertainment lovers can find themselves the best seats in the house on the Teppanyaki counter with the Teppan Chef, Wikan Namvesis juggling and tossing ingredients on the sizzling hot plate. Although we did not try the Teppan, it was enjoyable to break the conversation for a brief moment to watch the young patrons squeal in delight with the mastery of their culinary ringmaster.
Vegetarians who enjoy their Nasi Goreng and Miso Soup will find a large selection to whet their appetites. There is also an interesting mix of Indian and international wines and desserts, also in low fat version for the calorie conscious. End the evening with green tea and attain nirvana.
For quick luncheons, try the set meals for one with multiple courses. The dishes are handpicked by the chefs, making it hassle-free for the undecided.
India Jones has a quiet understated elegance. The restaurant is unpretentious, promising to be a different experience on each visit considering the staggering 118 plus dishes from many different countries. Each one we tried sent us to a distant land. We can just imagine the new exciting destinations to be explored when we drop in to meet our new friend Mr. Jones, who most certainly makes a great travelling companion.
Coordinates: India Jones, Trident, Nairman Point, Mumbai, India
For reservations, call + 91-22-6632 6330
Open all days for lunch and dinner.
Timings: Lunch -12.30 pm to 2.45 pm
Dinner - 7.30 pm to 11.45 pm
All cards accepted