A super-duper sold-out Blockbuster pop-up. A menu which celebrated the rich culinary traditions and heritage of the Levant. A fabulous merger of the Mediterranean and the Middle East skillfully blended with some fragrant, exotic and aromatic spices. ABOVE ALL, a veteran of Mumbai’s culinary landscape - CHEF VIRAF PATEL hosting you to his delectable menu which has some subtle additions from the Parsi culinary cuisine. 

A PERFECT EVENING, a resounding blitzkrieg in the pop-up genre and loads of endearing, flavorful memories. An ideal setting which calls for drum rolls.  CHEF VIRAF PATEL has helped build some of the city’s dining institutions like The Table, Neuma, Café Zoe & Gateway Taproom. He is back once again at Kalaghoda for a pop-up with a six-course gastronomical journey through the 'Levant'. 

WHAT’S HOT IN MUMBAI was party to this exquisite launch and we were totally mesmerized with the dynamic foreplay of flavors that created dancing notes to our taste buds. The rich aromatic fragrance of every dish lingered in the air for extended moments, something which we have experienced in very few fine-dining ensembles. Every dish is a magical masterpiece which takes Centre-stage and evokes that enigmatic, mysterious vision of unravelling the quixotic spice mix. Truly impressive, an absolute delight and A STANDING OVATION to Chef Viraf for this magnanimous, elaborate menu which is a steal for the pricing. More power to YOU and looking forward to some more magical wonders.

An interview with Chef Viraf Patel on the ‘Levant’ pop-up.

Being a Parsi and a Chef based in Bombay, why haven't you set up a Parsi restaurant to promote the cuisine?


I have been asked this question many times. This leads me to think about it in depth and question myself and the cultural implications of my people and their cuisine – what is Parsi food? Where did it come from? But most importantly – what happened along the way in the creation of a cuisine unique to a community and a region?


The Zoroastrians came to India with a rich food culture which they quickly assimilated with the local cuisines. But the availability of produce changed some ingredients too. Raisins soon took the place of Zereskh berries, Pomegranate and Pomegranate Molasses were replaced by the tangy Tamarind, Lime – which was only ever used in a preserved form, came into being used in its fresh state thanks to year-round availability. 


How did the Levantine cuisine take shape in your life as a Chef? 

Growing up, we ate a lot of Hyderabad Inspired ‘Parsi’ fare at home. This had nuances of the Levantine cuisine, mildly flavoured meats, rich buttery lentils, and fire-roasted vegetables dressed with nuts and spices.  

With this pop-up, I’m taking these influences and putting them together. This is my homage to the food of the levant and the migration of an entire community.

Our verdict:

THE LEVANT POP-UP is a winner all the way. Not to mention the scintillating pairing of cocktails, superfluous service, hospitable vibes and THE GATEWAY TAPROOM being the perfect host.

Some of the exotic dishes we tried:

Roasted Carrots - We loved the perfection with which the carrot has been roasted. The softness was perfect yet juicy, the magical element was the smooth, silky bed of hung yoghurt which had some amazing spice / seasoning sprinkling. The whiff of aroma and fragrance lingered much longer on our table after the dish was placed. 

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower - A normally bland vegetable bloomed to be a star element thanks to the exotic seasonings. A perfect treat.

Spinach & Dill Kuku - This had amazing Parsi touches with an international blend. A winner. 

Eggplant & Spiced Shrimp - A deadly combination, perfectly juxtaposed with some sizzling flavors. 

Black bean hummus with spiced lamb - One of the highlights where the pulled lamb shreds created havoc with the creamiest hummus. Another star which zapped us was the softest, pillow bread which evoked fragrance on the merger. 

Braised Duck with Pardeli Pilaf - Truly a piece of art. A phyllo pastry stuffed with fragrant rice and the juiciest duck cubes. 

Rose Water Muhallebi - Not so sweet, yet so delectable. A highlight and perfect setting for a sweet ending. 

Cocktails we would recommend:

Tangerine Aperol Sour - Absolute stunner!

Pomegranate Negroni - We have tried variations of this concoction but this one gives a run to the competition. Bang on!

Chef Viraf Patel has surely impressed us with his prowess, mastery and skillful creations of carving a menu that is on par with Michelin standards. It is such exemplary Indian Chefs like Chef Viraf who give us more gusto and power to promote fine dining which primarily caters to Connoisseurs!

Hope to catch you soon!

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