Why do we celebrate birthdays? Is it because we feel better about growing up? Or perhaps the feeling that a whole year has gone by and we are happy to still be alive? Well I guess it's a different reason for each person. For me it's being happy about the fact that I was able to soak in the love that my near and dear ones shower on me for yet another year.
Associated with birthdays though is also the tradition of giving treats to friends. It was with precisely that context that we ended up at Ristorante Prego at CR2.
How was the food? How did we end up choosing this one as the place to go? Well read on to find out.
Deciding on a place where my group of friends can eat has become a challenging one as we always have to keep in mind that the smallest of our motley crew has only Jain food. This became doubly critical this time around as it was her birthday that we were celebrating.
After a lot of calling around and brain storming places all the way from the burbs to town we finally decided to eat at the place which replaced Ruby Tuesday's at CR2, Ristorante Prego.
Done up in a pretty non distinctive style, the decor is run of the mill with muted browns dominating the landscape. Nothing too interesting to be honest, but nothing offensive either.
There is a nice wall full of wine bottles which looks quite nice to be honest, I wonder whether they know what to recommend with the food though. (This would be something I would lean on Ajit of acommonmandines for)
To start off our meal we ordered the Antipasti Platter. Antipasti is a plate of small cold eats which is meant to be eaten community style, with each person grabbing the item which appeals to them the most.
The Antipasti Platter came with Olives, a tomato and mozzarella salad, marinated artichokes, a cheese apple ball like thingy, peppers wrapped with zucchini and some jalapeno poppers.
The platter wasn't well received in terms of taste by any one on the table however was large in size with enough components for everyone to grab something. The olives turned out to be too salty and the artichokes too hard to eat. Definitely not something I would recommend to someone to try out.
Next up were the Arancini which are risotto balls coated with breadcrumbs and fried till golden brown. They were served with a side of citrus salad and with a tart chunky tomato puree underneath as well as a dipping sauce. In terms of flavor they were cheesy balls of fun however the risotto grains were a tad under cooked in my opinion.
For the birthday girl we ordered Assorted Crostini (Jain) which were nice and flavourful with one being Baby Mozzarella with Tomatoes and the other being Basil with Ratatouille. I would go for the Basil with Ratatouille one if I had to reach out for seconds.
With none of us hitting the proverbial bottle that night we decided to go for a full selection of mocktails to slake our thrist.
We opted to go with the Virgin Pinacolada and Strawberry Martinis, the Italian Smooch (That's the one which kinda looks like ice tea/coke with lemon) and the Oreo Shake.
In terms of flavor of the drinks, I hate pineapple so didn't try the Pinacolada however was told it wasn't half bad, my martini was a bit on the sweeter side and could have dialed that down a bit for sure. The Italian smooch was supposed to be mix of juices and I have no idea how it turned into something which tasted like coke with lemon. The Oreo shake was a nice Oreo shake but we have had so many of them there is really nothing else to discover in an Oreo shake.
With the appetizers done we decided it was time to explore what Ristorante Prego could dish up us for us in terms of the main courses.
My friends decided to throw a curve ball for the first dish we ordered and asked for a Pesto Risotto which was off the menu. While a bit apprehensive the server did say that he would ask the chef if it was possible and chef agreed. The server did mention that it would be a tad on the creamier side and hoped we were okay with that. We certainly were and were pleased when we were presented with a Mixed Vegetable Pesto Risotto. The veggies had a bit of crunch and the pesto was nicely balanced. Once again I had an issue with the way the rice was cooked but no one else seemed to mind at all. Despite my misgivings about the cooking of the rice the dish was yum and one I recommend that the restaurant add to their menu.
Next up were the pizza's from the menu.
We ordered a mixed vegetable one with the other having goats cheese and arugula as toppings. Rather than describe the pizza's Ad nauseam let me make it short by saying that the pizzas seemed to be fired in a nice oven (Not sure if it was wood fired) and had a nice char around the edges. The base itself was thin and a bit floppy, I personally like such styles of pizzas so enjoyed the same, your mileage may vary. The sauce could have had a bit more of a tomato-ey punch however was adequate. The Goats cheese pizza wasn't to every ones taste though personally I enjoyed it, I guess I need to push my friends boundaries more often.
The main course also consisted of a Lasagna which although looked fancy was very average, the pasta sheets gave way too easily and were mushy in terms of texture, the stuffing itself was hum ho, nothing bad yet nothing which would make me reach out and grab another bite of one if I wasn't really hungry,
The last main course we ordered (Yup we eat a lot :P) was the Cannelloni which came stuffed with a spinach and ricotta cheese filling. The sauce which accompanied it was nice and thankfully not overly heavy. Overall a dish which left a smile on my face, as thankfully the pasta wasn't overcooked which is always a fear with Cannelloni.
After all this I was still not satisfied and decided to order some stuffed mushrooms, which came stuffed with sauteed vegetables with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top of the mushroom. Overall the mushrooms didn't really sparkle with the earthy flavor that I generally associate with stuffed mushrooms (On a side note you must must must check out the Popcorn Mushroom at Jam Jar Diner)
Following all this we still had a bit of space for desert and decided to go for the only egg-less ones on the menu, the pana cotta and a dense chocolate cake, both were thoroughly disappointing with the panna cotta being too loose and the cake being too sweet. The deserts are avoidable and you would do a better job by going to near by Spesso for your dessert fix.
The service was adequate with an empty restaurant, however I have no idea how they manage on busier nights, though props must be given for being willing to serve up that pesto risotto to serve a customers request.
Price per head was approximately Rs.950 a head, though if you don't gorge as much as us and avoid the drinks it would be considerably lower.
31, Ground Floor, CR2 Mall, Nariman Point, Mumbai
022 66172008 022 66172009
Bambaiya Veggie reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.