Food Review - TORI at Union Park, Khar

BY WHIM Official Food Critic

ONE LINE TAGLINE – Tastefully seductive, zingy flavours.

The roll-out of the re-opening of restaurants was a much-awaited waiting time. Finally, when the restrictions have been relaxed, it was a wise bet to feast and taste on something that served us the ultimate dining experience. An experience that marries culture with flavour to bring an authentic taste that leaves warm memories.

And that’s exactly what our visit to TORI (Union Park, Khar) did to us. The food surely was comfort food, redefined with zingy flavours and tastefully seductive. On a midweek afternoon, TORI has a weekend energy about it. It’s filled with lively groups of friends where hearty dishes of Asian, Japanese delicacies swivel on the tables by the minute. Our bad luck when we were informed that the lunch menu has limitations unlike the one available for dinner. We surely missed out on trying out some Peruvian cuisine for a change.

Nonetheless, everything about the place was worth it. We chose to sit in the outdoor section which showered a welcoming homeliness with some curative painted walls. The inside seating has a big Koi fish installation suspended from the ceiling and accents of vibrant Latin American textiles.

A word of caution for most diners who expect a power-packed, tummy-filling affair out here. TORI serves tapas styled servings which have clean, lean and mesmerizing flavours. There would be some of you who may not find it value-for-money but surely the tingling taste overpowers the price quotient here.

What we had:

Watermelon Carpaccio – - It is a beautifully refreshing and summery starter that is so light. A vegetarian take on the classic Italian appetizer, the watermelon is slow-roasted for eight hours and ends up looking like a fine piece of tuna. Once the flavours are condensed, it comes together with a bit of soy-balsamic, truffle tofu cream, pine nuts, and lemon oil — the likeness to a tuna carpaccio is spectacular, and it’s the bestseller, you can tell. A showstopper of a dish and a must try for sure.

The Dirty Truffle (sushi roll) - A decadent treat to satisfy the vegetarian soul. I'm no sushi expert, but I do love a nice hunk of raw fish on some vinegary rice now and then. Maybe slap on some seaweed. The vegetarian version was a true-relish with the crackling crunchy effect when compared to the tuna version which we also tried.

Hamachi Carpaccio - Another absolutely stunning (fish) creation. The chef has ensured that the dish has a wonderful meaty depth and yet infuses both character and body to the flavors in this dish. The drool-worthy drizzle is mind-blowing and the creamy smooth Hamachi simply glides to perfection.

Spicy Tuna (sushi roll) – Somehow, like I have earlier mentioned, the vegetarian version was bliss. This lacked the spiciness, the crunch and must-finish-them-all-from-my-plate after-thought.

A point to add here is that the sushi is served minus any sauces. The Chef believes that the sushi flavours have to be relished for their sanctity rather than needing any additional dips.

Miso Soup – Hailing from japan, the Miso soup is a common companion to sushi and rice dishes. In Japanese. We started our meal with this refreshing soup which set the mood right.


Crispy Mock Duck Bao – Although not available on the lunch menu, the Chef made an exception and boy, were we overpowered with the miraculous overhaul of the jackfruit dish. Rich, oozy, spicy and caramelized sauce created havoc on the flavours. This dish could almost pass off as a non-vegetarian delicacy. Another must-try.

Chargrilled Tofu Teriyaki (Poke ball) – A healthy bowl seriously crispy and packed with flavour, this teriyaki tofu recipe is bound to convert ever tofu hater into a tofu lover. You would love the buttery, creamy tofu and the highlight is the miraculous sauces that transform the taste and flavour quotient to a penultimate height of ecstasy. Since the tofu is chargrilled, you may notice that it lacks the effervescent softness we have been used to.

Chargrilled Chicken Teriyaki (Poke ball) – A similar version of the veg variety but this one replaces it with chicken. Somehow we found the chicken chunks a bit under-cooked and tough to chew on.


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Matcha Cheesecake – A miraculous invention, which minus the competition trends lays more emphasis on the matcha flavours than on the creamy cheesecake. Loved this variation since chocolate creations have been done to death. Opt for this only if you are ready to banish your cheesecake memories with something that is loaded with a different taste.

Tres leches – An ultimate delight, flavourful and oozing with love and a satiation quencher for the sweet tooth craver.


Drinks & Cocktails:

Kakigori – Served in a small Japanese bowl, this is supposedly on the lines of having a ‘gola’ with the spirits simmered at the bottom. Although this cocktail was packed with unusual concoctions, it turned out to be a disappointment. Barely have you had two sips, and the flavours are engulfed into a watery liquid thanks to an overload of ice. This is one cocktail which needs tweaking for sure. Possibly a total revamp of the recipe and reduction of the curative ice cubes could help. Do make this a winner!

Maracuya – A cool, light, and refreshing cocktail which sends out reminiscences of sipping some bubbly champagne. Maracuya features Peru's beloved pisco, fragrant maracuya (aka passion fruit) and a host of other additions. This scintillating creation is created as a pre-batch which includes a garrulous task of separate fermentation of each addition. The add-on drama created with this is the floating passion fruit seeds which crackle on a bite. Worth it.

Hibiscuss Fizz – A soothing mocktail which has a tinge of spice to spike the flow while you gulp it. Worth a try!

And finally to round it up, we were totally impressed with the superfluous service provided by Prashant (who remembered us from our previous visits to another fine dining outlet). Also a mention to Ashutosh who offered some more invigorating food-for-thought.

Since we missed out on some of night-menu options and the outlet plans to make some new additions / changes to the lunch menu, we are surely bouncing back to ravish the new melodies they have to offer!

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