Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Oriental Hub, Vashi - For Want of a Copy Editor this Restaurant is Lost

There are new restaurants opening up in Navi Mumbai every month and the food scene here is quite exciting. I have been invited to a few previews now and then and have, over time, found a peculiar trend. Plenty of attention is paid to the decor, the cutlery and crockery, uniforms of the servers, the wine list, the dishes on the menu - everything that one would expect. Known as I am as a Grammar Nazi, I unfailingly read menus, flyers, and any other readable things within reach. And I find that the menus and other printed paraphernalia is invariably full of errors. Not just the random typo but serious errors.

Today we went to The Oriental Hub just opposite Inorbit Mall at Vashi. Another one of the many new eateries that have opened in the area, it looked promising enough from the outside. The interiors are spacious and well lit (I really dislike dimly lit restaurants because I like to see and often photograph what I'm eating).

Once we had settled into our seats we were promptly handed the menu cards. Now at most 'fine dine' places one expects a nice looking menu card. If nothing else at least a properly bound menu with neatly printed lists of the items available, sorted into the relevant categories. What we got were cheap plastic folders with photo copied sheets inserted into transparent plastic pockets. I was honestly quite startled. With most dishes priced between INR 300 and 500, this was not a low budget dining hall by any long shot.

While I was still recovering from this shabby menu card the hubby showed me a card placed on the table - It was about Chinese New Year and was attempting to say something intelligent. I will leave it to you to figure it out.

Yes, at first glance we all had a good laugh but it left me feeling irritated and disgruntled nevertheless. I went back to looking at the menu and in the next few minutes my irritation turned to anger and disgust. There were so many mistakes on that menu it became a game among the four of us at the table to find the next ridiculous entry. The menu covered Chinese, Thai and Malaysian dishes and, for some strange reason the Indian options were restricted just to kebabs - no main course, no breads/rice, no sides, no desserts.

Each entry on the menu was accompanied by a description of the dish, sometimes detailed and sometimes so short it wasn't even complete. There were innumerable errors and some of the descriptions made little sense, reading like those seemingly nonsensical results you get from Google Translate.

Take this description of Orange Darsaan - The description reads more like a terse recipe and there's no mention of orange anywhere. There's mango ice cream, though.

Even better (?) is the next dessert - the Tub Tim Grawp (?). Another cryptic sounding recipe, it makes me wonder what a guest will be served if the kitchen staff is following those instructions, and what a guest should expect after reading that.

The Sizzling Brownie entry also seems to be accompanied by a recipe meant for the kitchen instead of a tempting description of the dessert that would make your mouth water in anticipation.

And then there's the Date Pancake that doesn't even deserve a complete description. And don't miss the Treasure Bag - there are milk maids to be found inside!

The bloopers were all over the menu. Like these fairy hunans I saw lurking with the Shriraja sauce.

This ridiculous menu made me wonder why a business would spend several lakhs on renting space, doing up the interiors, hiring consultants to help finalise cuisines and menus, hiring staff, investing in equipment, and all the other associated paraphernalia but would not spend a relatively minuscule amount of money to get the content for menu cards and other things checked. Even a school going child with access to Google would be able to straighten out this ludicrous menu card.

That little promotional card set on every table - how much would it have cost this restaurant to hire a proper PR agency and get a correctly written promotional piece done? How much would it have cost The Oriental Hub to get get proper menu cards made?

About the food - We tried four starters - wasabi prawns, squid in plum sauce, chicken prawn baos, and a lamb starter whose name I don't remember. Apart from the baos being slightly underdone, everything else was quite nice. For mains we had Mei Goreng, and Lamb Rendang with steamed rice. My friends said the Mei Goreng was as removed from an authentic Mei Goreng as possible. If one didn't think of the dish as Mei Goreng it was quite nice, but that was not the point. The sauce of the lamb rendang was delicious but I found the lamb severely overcooked and my jaws ached from chewing endlessly. We cautiously ordered a single portion of dessert - the Lime and Lemon Creambrule. It was an untidily made dessert that had no trace of lime or lemon in it. The hubby said it was a simple egg custard with no cream anywhere. We did mention this to the restaurant manager who noted our dissatisfaction and we were not charged for the dessert.

We paid approximately INR 4,000 for a meal for four. At that price I do not expect a cheap plastic folder with crookedly photocopied sheets, not to mention the rubbish they have printed on it.


Pari Vasisht said...

Kudos to you for writing such an honest review without any sugary makeup, very few people are able to do that these days. I hope the owners and the PR of the restaurant reads this and works on their flaws. I am personally saddened to read my favourite Thai dessert written as Grawp.

Elson said...

Takes a lot of courage to write a post like this. I have often come across this sort of shabbiness. Painful is an understatement

Anonymous said...

Awesome for your sharing. I really love your story as it inspired me a lot since I alwasy want to open my own restaurant. Keep dreamming!
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