Rohan Talwar and Ranbir Batra's Ellipsis opened quietly in April this year. Then a few months later, they made a big noise, inviting Mumbai's socialites and starlets to a big, fat 'official' launch party, hosted by designer Arjun Khanna. Guests tried Ellipsis' modern American food, sipped their signature cocktails (they're also the only restaurant in the city to sell Pinot Grigio and Prosecco on tap, and have exclusive serving rights on more than 20 spirits and 6 beers) and partied the night away at the eatery in Colaba.
Ellipsis is spread over 4,400sqft and two floors, and is located in a stylish heritage building right across from Mumbai's National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). The insides, created by the New York-based designer Thomas Schoos resemble a comfortable, rustic dining room with lots of leather and vintage paintings setting the mood.
Since we wanted to know more about the food, we got down to business and spoke to Talwar about his gastro-style Modern American-concept restaurant. Below are edited excerpts:
How did you choose the name for the restaurant?
How did you choose the name for the restaurant?
The word ellipsis signifies three dots at the end of a sentence, which denotes that there is something more to come… This is the ethos of what we represent. While the team worked on the concept, the idea revolved around leaving the diner always receiving a level above what he expected, whether it was in the meal experience, the quality of service, the cocktails or the ambience. That's how the name popped up as the perfect description of everything we intended. As its namesake alludes, Ellipsis is the first of future restaurant concepts to be produced by IB Hospitality [which owns Ellipsis] who promises there is 'more to come'.
Can you define Modern American cuisine?
Modern American cuisine offers a progressive approach to traditional comfort foods found in American cuisine. Each dish offers a playful take on the traditional. For example, a celebrated dish of the south, chicken & waffles is served with foie gras butter, while our traditional American pizzas are served as flatbreads and our ravioli is garnished with a truffle air. We place strong emphasis on high quality and fresh ingredients that are sourced locally where possible. The menu gives a nod to the American trend of farm-to-table concept that is widely celebrated.
What's Ellipsis' signature dish?
Ellipsis has several signature dishes. Our dishes cater to the many different palates. Additionally we acknowledge variety of meal preferences including vegetarian fish eaters and meat lovers. I would recommend the Homemade Ravioli, made with pumpkin, apple, truffle air and chantrelle mushrooms or the gnocchi with roasted garlic and mushroom duxelle for vegetarians. Meat eaters will enjoy our Chicken and waffles - fried chicken, sour dough waffles, foie gras butter, bacon gastrique served with housemade sriracha or our New Zealand lamb rack with pistachio, date, chorizo, radicchio.
(L-R) The Chicken and Waffles; Heirloom tomatoes with roasted garlic, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar
Since you lay emphasis on the farm-to-table concept, where do you source your ingredients from?
The team feels strongly about supporting our local vendors and as such, frequents the market multiple times weekly to pick what's ripe and to standard. Items from the sea make their way to the kitchen via air charter to Mumbai in order to maintain their freshness. Similarly our Heirloom tomatoes and other products that are either not available locally - or have a better quality and supply- are flown in from different parts of the world to our tables in the freshest form.
You'll mention that each dish has been designed so that it can be shared - any particular reason for that?
This allows guests to interact with each other through the meal and sample a variety off the menu. Also, Indians are well accustomed to the sharing concept and to welcome this new style of western cuisine we thought providing guests at touch of comfort might be the best way to introduce our product to market.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced at the restaurant so far?
The consistency and quality of produce; this is one of our main defining factors. If an item is not up to standard, we do not serve it. This is why our menu is printed daily.
What feedback are you getting so far?
Our guests have given us extremely positive feedback. The range of dishes allows the Indian palate to experiment, while still catering to those who prefer not to venture too far from the familiar. Guests have taken time to get accustomed to our menu style - it is a single page, which is printed daily with menu items changing depending on what is fresh and seasonal. Guests appreciate our endeavour to deliver the freshest ingredients and find that they are eager to return to try new dishes. We have recently started our cocktail hour and as such, have seen diners come in early for a drink.
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