When India finally let its hair down after the financial liberalization of the ’90s, local chefs had to radically reconsider their chutneys. Palates became younger, adventurous and erudite. The first bloke to do Indian nouvelle really well was Rahul Akerkar at Mumbai’s now iconic Indigo, foodindigo.com. Then Vineet Bhatia flew back from England, two Michelin stars in his carry-on, and set up Ziya at the local Oberoi, oberoihotels.com. But Aurus , based in north Mumbai’s chicster enclave Juhu, is currently having the most fun with food.
On the night we showed up, chef Vicky Ratnani sent out textured organic-broccoli soup with a starburst of flavors basil, pepper and something oaky. The king prawns arrived with red-pepper hummus and vanished rapidly off the plate. Baby vegetables and Brie potli were little purses of pleasure, tied with scallion and stuffed with a vegetable fricassee. Stuffed button mushroom was entirely forgettable, a menu aberration, but the Arabian Sea crab and baby-lobster ragout was a dazzling, inventive liaison, its Kashmiri red chilies as fierce as the accompanying fennel was sober.