Jan 30, 2021
The menu at the newly opened Tori in Bandra is both well-curated and thoughtful, championing locally sourced produce, lesser-known ingredients and an overarching food philosophy. Which makes sense, given that the kitchen is helmed by the highly accomplished, chef Thomas Pangsak Catley. Catley has previously headed the kitchens at Nobu, London, Park Lane, renowned Peruvian eatery, Pachamama and also, worked at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. His own experiences, culture and travels come through in this menu, which combines an unusual mix of ingredients.
Whether it’s the whiskey-cured drunken salmon maki roll or the tangy tuna ceviche, sprinkled with roasted quinoa, and stacked with sliced mango in lime juice and coconut milk – the food menu at Tori is creative and extensive, in equal measure.
For a city that’s still reeling from the after-effects of a year full of lockdowns, the ambience at Tori is unexpectedly lively. The layout is such that the spacious al fresco merges seamlessly with the indoor seating section. This, coupled with the dim lighting, high walls, an oversized koi fish chandelier and interesting wall graffiti, makes Tori’s ambience casual, but classy.
What stands out about the food at Tori is that almost every option on the menu features a fresh twist. For our appetisers, we called for the soft parmesan churros, served in a generous amount of truffle tofu sauce, a plate of the prawn tempura tanuki maki, topped with crackling, roasted quinoa and the miso-roasted sweet potato salad with mozzarella, feta cheese and aji chipotle. As diverse as our first round of orders was, each dish seemed to complement the other. The truffle tofu from the churros was a great contrast to the sweetness from the cheesy miso salad, while the crunchy quinoa and fresh prawn sushi roll left a tangy, satisfying after taste.
Next up, from the large plates, we tried the grilled pomfret with toasted rice, subtle hints of lemongrass and a lemon-pepper ponzu; and Tori’s signature handmade wok noodles with chicken.
While the place was alive with chatter, music and flavourful aromas, the service was a little lacking with the staff seeming overwhelmed with the huge turnout of diners’ present. However, we will say this – we were well looked after, and their recommendations were all on point.
Walking in, the warm, laid back interiors immediately put us at ease. From the ornate, eye-grabbing red door at the entrance, to the chilled-out background jazz music, the décor at Tori is one of its best features. Coming to the food, we love how imaginative the menu is. The use of seasonal produce alongside exotic ingredients boosts the flavour of each dish on the menu. The sea food, in particular, was something we took notice of. From the freshness of the sushi to the tenderness of the flavour-infused grilled pomfret, chef Tom has got the combination of textures and ingredients just right.
The restaurant was a little crowded and the staff, disoriented. We felt that the service could have been better, but will overlook it for the moment, because everyone is granted teething issues.
We will definitely come back to Tori for the food and the ambience. We are excited to see how the menu evolves with time and to find out what more chef Catley has in store for us.