It’s always tempting to retreat when it rains. But the notion of a hearty, warm dinner and a rich glass of red with the rain setting the background score is enough to lure me out from under the duvet. Let’s face it: One of the best reasons to live in Mumbai is the rains. So despite the gloomy weather and pounding rain I reach Oakroom.
The restaurant is nestled in a quiet lane in Juhu inside a hotel with serviced apartments. The only thing better than getting a table inside this minimally done up restaurant, is getting one outside. I snag a plum spot just beside the long glass doors which is perfect to take in the rains. The vibe is laid-back and service is invariably warm and sunny, even if the weather isn’t.
The soft lighting with just a candle on each table adds a dash of romance and even mystery to the setting. Oakroom is warmly lit. Of late I have been visiting restaurants so dimly lit that having someone verbally read out the menu is almost a necessity. The decibel count translates to easy listening.
The food at Oakroom is familiar yet interesting. The menu is divided into Indian and continental. We roll off with the honey mustard fish tikka (Rs 650). The slight tinge of honey perfectly offsets the fish ignited with mustard and the flavours throw a party in the mouth. A nest of fresh onions in the center adds a pleasing crunch. The mustard tempered prawns (Rs 800) are dense and delectable with a wicked wasabi kick.
If there’s one thing I would like Oakroom to work on are the cocktails. Oak Illusion which is Midori (melon liquer), Malibu and Cointreau with vodka and pineapple juice was agreeable but not spectacular. Another cocktail of Caramelized pineapple caprioska was a yawn, not to mention a waste of calories. The drink comes with baggage: a hailstorm of caramalised pineapple chunks and zero flavour of mint and lime.
The menu is easy to navigate but if you need something specific do look out for Manager Susmeet Desai who mingles among customers with the easy charm of a good host. For the mains we settle for the continental selection. The Roast Chicken (Rs 950), cooked just as you ask for it, oozes juice when cut. Yet the meat plays second fiddle to its terrific accessory: a nice big portion of porcini risotto.
Another dish of Red wine braised Lamb (Rs 1250) is made hearty with a perfectly cooked side of spaghetti. The pan seared Basa (Rs 795) crackles with crispy skin and is accessorised with a mound of rosemary rice and sautéed vegetables. The quantities are generous and meant for sharing.
The crisp shell of the dark and white chocolate crème brulee (Rs 250) shatters satisfyingly under my spoon to reveal a rich layer of smooth chocolate. It’s the best way to end a meal here at Oakroom.
Address: 29/1, Oakwood Premier, JR Mhatre Road, Iris Park, Juhu, Mumbai (Near Chandan Cinema and close to Villa 69)