Arola at JW Mariott, Mumbai manages to take you down a journey filled with amazement and delight, literally
By: Karishma Suri
Posted on: April 18, 2014.
During my last two visits to Barcelona, Spain, I would always find myself savouring the delectable Catalan cuisine that has managed to get applause in the recent past. So when Arola waved Hola to Mumbai, I couldn’t wait to try the offerings plated up. Welcoming robust flavours with a hint of tradition and lots of innovation, Arola continues to bask in kind words that are truly merited.
Attempting at making a mark in the Indian hospitality scenario since 2002, JW Marriott Mumbai definitely did it right when it launched Arola - the stunning offshoot of two star Michelin Chef Sergi Arola. His eponymous offering sets the city alight with a nouveau concept of high end dining along with a late night lounge venue. This chic lifestyle destination has created a niche for itself on the city’s gastronomic scene, and with good reason.
An irrepressible culinary trend-setter and a definitive proponent of Spanish heritage, Sergi Arola and his namesake restaurant have been delighting guests in Mumbai with gourmet Spanish cuisine. On a recent visit to experience Arola Musica, I decided to indulge my taste buds a little (having dined at and loved the place before).
Uniting music and gastronomy at this loved destination, "Arola Musica" manages to win hearts as well as satiate all senses in one go. Combining electronic beats with acoustic instruments, authentic Spanish tapas and signature drinks, Arola Musica will set your weekends alive.
Started in the end of February this year, Arola Musica has associated with Electric Zoo Goa and will bring in local and international DJs for fusion nights every Friday and Saturday. The impressive lineup of artists includes DJs from France, Germany, Argentina, UK and even India! Visiting the venue, I found the experience to be quite enthralling and captivating with the talented DJ Raimund Imo from Germany spinning cutting-edge electronic mixes along with Elvis Carvalho, the electric guitarist from Goa, adding a touch of his versatility with a unique blend of style that was dynamic ,energising and fun.
Complementing the modern ambience, the food at this restaurant can definitely brighten up any day. Weaving technology into their élan, the menu is easily accessible through an iPad. A powerfully shot image accompanies every item on the menu so you will know exactly what to expect (while being so tempted that you aren’t even sure anymore), and there is an option to also order directly from the iPad. You will not want to miss the special drinks that have been specially designed for Arola Musica. I had the Gin Sonic (served in a huge goblet with gin, tonic and orange flambé) - perfect for those who like to steer clear of a sweet drink. The acidity of the orange romanced the gin perfectly making it a popular drink. My partner had the Sangria De Musica made from Cointreau, Pernod, vermouth and white wine - which earns a nod of approval because of the subtle hint of fennel that dances on your tongue making it a very smooth and light wine. A perfect twist to sangria, it guarantees men and women alike, a glass full of enjoyment.
All the way from Spain
I know the bread platter (Paan tumaca) at this place has been talked about a lot, but I was especially pleased with the entire experience of rubbing the garlic over the bread along with the olive oil, tomato paste and sea salt - a treat for all your senses! The “Bravas de Arola” - deep fried potatoes filled with a spicy tomato sauce and topped with aioli- is a favourite for almost everyone because it is one dish that is as authentic and yet as delectable as it gets. The filling of mayonnaise is perfect as you can feel it fuse with the perfectly cooked potato and just melt in your mouth. The Esparragos Blanco is creative, healthy and delicious and there's more to this dish than meets the eye. Following a chip and dip concept, you literally pluck out the white asparagus, mix it with the mayonnaise, black olive and almond powder and prepare to be amazed!
You can avoid the Coca de verduras which has sautéed vegetables and bocconcini (a flat bread pizza if you may say) because it lacked taste, and while the bread was crunchy and perfectly moist, the vegetables did nothing to bring together the dish. A must have is the Canelones De Espinacas which is a spinach and pine nut cannelloni in a rich béchamel sauce that will make everyone go silent for a minute as the silky texture takes over all the senses enhanced by the spinach and crisp pinenuts! The pasta sheets were also thin and contributed to the dish just enough to make it perfecto!
Non-vegetarians will be pleased with the Gambas which is Prawns Sautéed with garlic, chili and parsley. Dressed in a clay pot, take a deep breath as your olfactory senses are met with strong aromas of garlic romancing prawns! Appreciating the well cooked prawns (perfectly juicy and tender), it could do with a drizzle of flavouring to spruce up the dish a bit. The Pollo De Corral served on salcifi stem is an exceptional dish which will be wiped clean in a matter of seconds by non-vegetarians. While the stem adds to crispiness to the otherwise exceptionally tender chicken, there is no need to exercise the jaws as the perfectly cooked chicken teases the palate and disappears before you even realise it. The flavouring is brilliant and enhanced by slight sweetness of the red wine with the chicken stalk! My companion could not stop praising the angus steak which is served medium rare – the perfect way to enjoy it! Golden brown on the outside with a healthy pink on the inside, it was described as a ‘literal food trip to heaven”!
The sweet things
Of course, it is impossible to leave Arola without calming your sweet tooth. The Crema Catalana, which looked like a marvellous chemistry creation, did just that. Light as air with bubbles that burst on the tongue, the caramelised eggs, cinnamon and mandarin sorbet is a strong recommendation.
Also, the Soufflé de Chocolate, which is a dark chocolate soufflé with vanilla ice-cream, is literally as sinful as it gets. The soufflé, which will melt in your mouth with an explosion of dark chocolate, makes Arola a dessert spot to hit when your cravings need some love. We also had the Pina Brava which is a sweet take on the Patata Bravas with Pineapple, Spicy Berry Sauce and Coconut Mousse! Though the presentation and concept wins points for innovation, I found myself wishing this could have been done with some berries instead of pineapple!
Great food coupled with brilliant service and a lovely bar makes Arola a must hit spot over the weekend while in Mumbai. Are you ready for Arola Musica? You bet you are.
Coordinates: JW Marriott, Lobby Level, Juhu Tara Rd, Juhu, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400049