Food Review: The Pier, Colaba, Mumbai

The tasteful plates at The Pier do wonders for the palate, but the jarring ambience is a big let-down

Ayesha Sen June 18, 2022
  • Menu
  • Pricing
  • Ambience

The Pier-Dining Area

Imagine a pier in San Francisco. You’d have to climb old-fashioned wooden stairs to reach a pretty open air café, perched on a platform that juts out into the cool waters. Menus aren’t printed and designed – they’re just written with chalk on a standing blackboard, under “Today’s Catch.”

In Europe, south of France, you’d be picking on oysters and sipping the finest champagne under striped umbrellas – more luxurious, but similar to the American waterfront setting. Only in Mumbai then, can a restaurant have a name so misleading. For when we entered The Pier, it was the exact opposite of anything we could imagine.

There’s blue upholstery to represent water, candles and knick-knacks that look straight out of a sailor’s cabin and mostly wooden interiors, but the charm is completely lacking. And since it’s open only for dinner, there’s even less hope of letting in some sunlight and enjoying the calm of the sea, just metres away. What a shame.  But let’s put aside the name of this “indoor pier” as a branding exercise gone wrong and focus on what it serves.

Early on a Tuesday night, we were understandably on one of the only two tables occupied, so we had the full attention of the staff. A bread basket – with three kinds of butter – arrived with the menu. It was so good that we polished off every crumb even before we could place our orders. In hindsight, paying Rs 70 for a second basket (the first was complimentary) would’ve been the best thing we could’ve done with our money at The Pier.

The bar is quite long and well-stocked, and that reflected in the drinks menu that seemed unending. Eventually, we went without the drinks because a) A weeknight in such a dull setting hardly warrants an alcohol craving and b) Nothing really caught our attention. There were only the “usuals.”

BBQ Country Hen with Red Wine Jus

BBQ Country Hen with Red Wine Jus

Straight onto food then. The dinner menu is packed concisely into two pages, but we aren’t complaining. From soups to salads, raviolis to roasts and tartars to tira misu, there’s enough to choose from for vegetarians as well as their carnivorous counterparts.

Hearing good things about their Beef Tartare (Rs 450) from diners, we went straight for it and didn’t regret the decision. A cylindrical stack of melt-in-your-mouth beef arrived with a perfectly poached egg yolk on top. It went well with the crunchy greens on the side, but not so much the red wine mousse. We’d suggest avoiding that element together.

Our other starter, the Lobster Bisque (Rs 425), was just as scrumptious. The portion might’ve been small, but we savoured every drop of the creamy soup. Sitting in the middle of the bowl, a crisp, round garlic brioche, topped with lobster salad made for pretty presentation and scored full marks on flavour combination too.

Main course wasn’t as memorable. Our Barbeque Country Hen With Red Wine Jus (Rs 800), had too much red wine in the jus, making the barbeque sauce a little too sweet for our liking. The chicken, however, was beautifully cooked.

The other dish, Pan Seared Rawas With Lemongrass Beurre Blanc (Rs 800), had only a hint of lemongrass, but we loved the sauce. The star element was the heirloom tomato stew that added colour as well as tang to what would’ve been a dull, heavy dish otherwise.

The dessert menu is sparse and unimaginative. There are the regulars like tira misu, cappuccino mousse and scoops of ice cream, so we picked the fanciest sounding of the lot – Vanilla Panna Cotta With Chilled Berry Soup (Rs 325). Our seemingly juvenile method of selection turned out to be a great success, for the panna cotta was among the best we’ve ever tasted. The vanilla flavour – a tricky one to get right – was infused richly, and yet it was a light dessert. Paired with a cold berry soup that lent it some much-required acidity, we had a winner on our hands. Needless to say, our meal ended on quite the high.

Disappointment set in barely a few minutes later, when a mammoth bill arrived, with taxes amounting to almost a quarter of the bill. More than the setting and ambience, the steep hole that The Pier burned in our pockets will deter us from going back. We hear they’ve started Ladies Nights once a week, which may be our only incentive to return.

(Popsplat reviews anonymously and pays for all it’s meals)