For the discerning, Shamiana at Taj was once the only place in South Bombay to have a cup of coffee and enjoy the views of the Arabian Sea. The original coffee shop (from 1973) had long since morphed into a restaurant smacked with that traditional touch of Taj hospitality. Beyond that, there wasn’t anything to draw patrons to Shamiana on a regular basis. Worse, Shamiana was constantly upstaged by restaurants within its lobby such as Golden Dragon and Wasabi by Morimoto.

For the discerning, Shamiana at Taj was once the only place in South Bombay to have a cup of coffee and enjoy the views of the Arabian Sea. The original coffee shop (from 1973) had long since morphed into a restaurant smacked with that traditional touch of Taj hospitality. Beyond that, there wasn’t anything to draw patrons to Shamiana on a regular basis. Worse, Shamiana was constantly upstaged by restaurants within its lobby such as Golden Dragon and Wasabi by Morimoto.

The management decided to work on a casual concept for Shamiana and rebranded it along the lines of Social and 145 at Kala Ghoda. The menu is suitably impressive and the prices don’t pinch the pocket to the extent that one might expect while dining at Taj. The location has moved from the poolside to the right side in the main atrium of the hotel. All in all, this is the mother of all revamps as far as Shamiana is concerned. In fact, given the wide canopy-seating and almost new menu, one might wonder why the place is called Shamiana at all! But that’s a story for another day.

Coming to the food, the staff was pleased to emphasise the point that the new Shamiana is for the young audience who simply wants to come in and enjoy a good meal. None of the dishes are priced in four digits with the highest-priced dish costing Rs 985 (Grilled Pomfret Fillet, Grilled Shell-On King Prawns and Risotto Gamberi). Of the lot, we tried the Pomfret Fillet and it was delicious and not-too-spicy.

The menu also comprises some of the best dishes from other properties rolled into an ‘Autograph Collection’ that includes such hits as Fish Exotica (785) from Taj Exotica Maldives, Cobb Salad (785) from Pierre Hotel, New York and Fish and Chips (785) from St James Court in London as well as dishes from Taj Cape Town and Taj Samudra, Colombo. If you find yourself wondering what to order from the menu, do give these dishes a look.

Local dishes such as Kheema Pav (Rs 485), Pav Bhaji (Rs 385), Prawn Patio (Rs 985) and Aloo Puneri (Rs 385) also get a nod at this fine-dine mixed with bistro concept restaurant. There are other favourites like Rajma Masala (Rs 585), burgers, pizzas and the oldies favourite Double Baked Camembert Cheese Souffle (Rs 485) to choose from too.

One area where the new Shamiana absolutely blew us away was the desserts. We’re still salivating over their V.S.O.P. Chocolate Mousse (Rs 585) and We Didn’t Break Our Lemon Tart (Rs 585). These are absolute must-haves if you visit Shamiana, just take our word for it.

The relaunched Shamiana with its new casual chic approach is enough to breathe new life into this once-popular joint. The only downsides are a limited range of options for vegetarians and a limited lunch buffet. With word-of-mouth publicity, it is still possible that an entirely new generation will identify with Shamiana just the way its best patrons still do.

Don’t Miss: Fish Exotica, Double Baked Camembert Cheese Souffle, Chicken Bunny Chow, V.S.O.P. Chocolate Mousse, We Didn’t Break Our Lemon Tart

Location: Lobby, The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Colaba

Price for two: Approx Rs 3000 minus taxes.

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