Mumbai’s Contemporary French Restaurant Gets a Global Flourish

The new menu at Slink & Bardot is a matured and evolved perspective to ‘international’ cuisine.

Sayoni Bhaduri

It’s been two years since Slink & Bardot first opened its doors in Worli, Mumbai and founders Nick Harrison and Chef Alexis Gielbaum have successfully managed to break the stuffy air around French cuisine. The contemporary French restaurant has brought a sense of casualness to the dining experience and Slink & Bardot’s décor and ambience helps the cause—it is intimate yet comfortable, designed to focus on diners and their conversations. Their new menu continues with its mission to make French food approachable and acceptable—the focus is on the food minus garrulous fireworks.

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A key highlight from the menu is the vegetarian dish, The Salsify, served with smoked snow ear mushroom, garlic potatoes and kalamata dust. The root veggie is a staple in the French country kitchen; at Slink & Bardot, Gielbaum served a juniper-glazed expression of the tuber, which is akin to a radish but far more flavoursome. In fact, salsify is also known as oyster plant due to similarity of taste with the mollusk. Gielbaum’s dish made the salsify a hero with intensity and umami of garlic and the mushrooms.

Parisienne Gnocchi & Japanese Consommé

He acknowledges that during his early days at Slink & Bardot, vegetarian dishes were a challenge, but dishes such as The Salsify he has successfully overcome the challenge and it is also a satisfying evolution for him as a chef. Other vegetarian dishes on the new menu include Parisienne Gnocchi & Japanese Consommé, Mushroom Vol-au-Vent, Tomato & Mozzarella Tart, Open Up Lasagna Forestiere and Gluten-Free Pappardelle.

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The star of the new menu has to be the Assamese Black Rice Paella. The use of black rice from Assam may come across as a new-fangled idea of going glocal but it is the flavour profile and treatment of the dish that makes you sit up and take notice. Unlike other popular rice varieties in India, black rice takes longer to cook and has a very unique taste of its own. Gielbaum has successfully managed to enhance and build on it with Spanish chorizo, clams, calamari, prawns and saffron—traditional paella ingredients.

The other worthy dishes on the menu includes the Lobster & Swiss-Chard Roulade—as the name suggests the dish is a definition of simplicity, but it is the supporting characters, again, that bring the dish together. A vanilla and citrus vinaigrette with apple compote and gremolata chips and a sprinkling of citrus salt may seem like too many supporting a single dish but it is the combination of all of these bits that tie the chard leaf wrapped lobster together for an exemplary mouthful.

Lobster & Swiss-Chard Roulade

Simply called The Duck served with bacon tossed Brussels sprouts and coffee jus was another plate of gorgeous food that left an incredible impact. The monotone of deep flavours is managed with a very fine balance where the highs are defined by each ingredient’s characteristics—salty smokiness of the bacon enmeshed with the green sprouts and the coffee jus that adds a new dimension to the duck. The cooked to perfection duck apart, it is the IPA glazed sweet potatoes that is mind blowing.

What’s Not

It is difficult to find flaws in a menu that is as thought out as that of Slink & Bardot. It is a case of the biggest strength being the biggest weakness. Take the Pulled Chicken & Carrot Maki for instance, it was served with gratinated Parmesan and chicken jus. The slivers of carrots wrapped around poached chicken was then liberally garnished with arugula and fried noodles—this addition distracted from the sweetness of the carrot which would’ve worked well with the jus alone and maybe some microgreens. The warm pulled pork rillettes tartines—Slink & Bardot’s take on bruschetta—while was generous porcine topping but the lack of flavour was stark and the pickles and the colourful bits didn’t make much of a difference.

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Keeping up with time, Slink & Bardot have very successfully incorporated global influences—from Spain to Japan—in its menu that continues to be French at its heart. The cocktails continue to be stellar and potent and with their house-made tonics upping the ante in the city.

It’s time to go back for the black rice paella!


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