There are two types of fish lovers in the world, ones those love spending their time watching the beautiful creatures swim peacefully and others those, who love to feast on a platter of them as delicacies. But if you are the third type, who loves fish in both ways, then head on straight to Cafe Hydro, an aquarium-themed restaurant opened in the suburb of Borivali (East).
An idea of a seafood restaurant sowed by the mastermind of UTEKAR FISHERIES (that provides complete solutions for Hi-Tech Aquariums), affirms that these guys know their stuff. The café is strategically adjoined to the company’s largest pet shop, offering more experience than you actually came for, atleast that’s how it was for The Desi Divas.
In the busy, or should say, extremely busy street of Borivali, this little gem is not that hard to locate. The restaurant comprises of three different levels, with unique ambiance at each floor. At the ground level you enter in a one of a kind railway compartment theme, with Indian train berth and railway track … yes the real ones, right beneath your feet. There is also a pulley to transport your food to the upper-level berth, sounds fun? This can be a great spot for selfie sessions or teenage birthday bash!
At the level one, the ambiance is by far experiential, giving an illusion of dining right in between the aquarium, with not only the sides but also the ceiling that is nothing but the real aquarium. The top and our
The top and our favourite level is a beautiful relaxed setting, perfect for families and friends to laze around. The overall restaurant seating is creatively different in different corners, from high chairs, to pouf stools, to regular dining tables to railway compartment, making the experience exciting and unwinding at the same time.
We especially loved the cloth cradle on the third floor, where diners can enjoy their meal as well as swing. It was occupied right from the time we entered and we were waiting to grasp it the moment it would be vacated, but that one never came. Guess once seated it must be too cozy to let yourself out of it, hmm we understand those feelings.
Let’s get to the point! Food:
The restaurant offers Asian fare along with options of hefty American burgers. We started with mocktails which included a refreshing Lychee Ginger Mojito and their in-house specialty Orange Kaafir Lime Shikaji that claims twist on the usual Shikanji.
The kaafir lime leaves infused in fresh orange juice took the entire drink to the next level, it was refreshing and looked beautiful. On the other hand, the Lychee Ginger Mojito was spot on to quench us. The combination of fresh ginger, sweet and subtle flavour of lychee juice and a hint of mint and lime, the drink screamed ‘refresh’ on our palate as well as senses. This was our favourite, something that we would reorder over and over without a doubt. TDD’s personal recommendation for Summer 2017.
Starters:For starters we ordered Desi Chilli Poppers (how we like the name of this dish 😉 they were stuffed with the Indian red jalapenos, cheese and American corn served with roasted pepper mayo and chili cilantro aioli. Poppers were super crunchy on the outside, gooey cheesy on the inside. The right balance of heat from the chilies and sweetness from American corn made these poppers perfect dish to start with. The homemade dips added distinct flavor in each bite.
The chicken lovers are not left disappointed, as their Crispy Chicken Fingers served with homemade chili garlic aioli and khimchi, are perfect party bites. Marinated with Asian spices and soaked in buttermilk, deep fried to a golden crisp, they were scrumptious.
The second starter, Corn-N-Cheese Mushrooms was a similar take on the poppers with the only difference of a button mushroom in each one, so we felt we could have tried something more different. But again they were crunchy and tasted good.
Chili Garlic Fish Bullets were next on our table, served with chili garlic aioli and khimchi. These were the house specialty considering they are made of Surimi – a paste made from seafood meat. The crunchy little bullets can be a delight for seafood lovers with a punch of flavor in each bite.
All the above starters can be great to munch on with a bunch of friends over a game of chess or scrabble (yup, the stock them too). We also spotted some juniors savoring the bites.
Main Course:For the maincourse, we relished on Roti Kanai. A beautifully presented dish came with four flaky parathas, much similar to our Malabar Parotta, served on the side of delicately flavored vegetable curry with the coconut milk as its base. The flavours were an amalgamation of sweetness from coconut and hint of lime from kaafir leaves, a soul comfort food for any time of the day. The parathas were crispy layers but slightly greasy.
The second main course Nasi Goreng with chicken was a tad salty and a lot smoky in flavour. We felt there was too much going on in this dish and it was complex. That said, we spotted some fellow diners ordering the same dish and relishing it. The dish was attractive in presentation and came with chicken satay and prawn crackers on the side and fried egg on top.
Desserts:A finale to our roller coaster ride of flavours was the delicate and gorgeous looking Asian Panna Cotta with seasonal fresh fruit laced with melba sauce on top of it. The dish is an Asian Twist on the classic Italian panna cotta, which is TDD’s one of the favourite desserts. Instead of the luxurious taste of typical panna cotta, this one tasted more towards the fruit flavoured Greek yogurt way, leaving a tangy tang behind.
The combination of melba sauce and panna cotta didn’t justify the taste. Although, somewhere we were not able to taste as expected, overall it was a good desert and felt light on our palate.
The service was quick and friendly. The manager Rahul was proactive in suggesting must haves. During our short chat with the Chef, we were pleased to know the thought process that went into the creation of menu.
The pricing is worth for an experience of watching fishes and the ambiance out here. We would highly recommend a visit on weekend and rejuvenate the memories with fishes.
- Lychee Ginger Mojito: Rs. 195/-
- Orange &Kaafir Lime Shikaji: Rs. 195/-
- DesiChilli Poppers: (08 Pcs): Rs. 190/-
- Crispy Chicken Fingers with Chiang Mai Khimchi. (10 Pcs): Rs. 250/-
- Corn-N-Cheese Mushrooms (8 Pcs): Rs. 190/-
- Chili Garlic Fish Bullets (10 Pcs): Rs. 275/-
- Nasi Goreng: Rs. 245/-
- Roti Kanai: Rs. 245/-
- Asian Panna Cotta: Rs.200/-
Overall Ratings: 8/10
Lychee Ginger Mojito, Desi Chili Popper, Roti Kanai
TDD didn’t like
Nasi Goreng, no salads on the menu L
TTD Tip: Make your visit more memorable after the meal, with a look around India’s largest pet shop right next door.