The menu at Perch is whimsical, refreshing, and above all, simply delicious. But then again, are we surprised?
Picture this. It’s a rather warm afternoon in Mumbai. You want somewhere to work out of, but you wouldn’t mind catching up with a friend post work too. You’d also like some good coffee, and some better nibbles to go with it.
Now open your eyes, and take a seat at Perch. Easily one of the best wine and coffee bars in the city, Perch is the kind of place most cafe cum lounges aspire to be. The vibes are immaculate enough to seamlessly transcend from day to night. You can switch from your morning cuppa to a refreshing evening cocktail and finish off with the smoothest nightcap there is all at one place.
Meanwhile, the food competes for your attention, winning it easily with bold yet comforting flavours. From small plates to sharing portions that are honestly delicious enough to eat yourself, there’s something for every kind of palette on this menu.
With their latest Flavours of Summer menu, it’s no different. For the month of June, this menu features a host of interesting and experimental dishes. The attention to detail here is as impeccable and ever, and the result of it is right there on your plate!
Ever thought you’d be left craving for one more serving of lentils and sprouts? No? Me neither. But the Bowl of Lentil and Sprout with Wasabi Edamame and Kimchi Barley does exactly that. I don’t know how to explain the symphony of flavours, except that it reminds you of home but elevated. The Grilled Broccoli & Raisin salad with Nuoc Cham Dressing, Smoked Paprika Almonds, and Greens is not to be missed either. Although if I had to nit pick, this didn’t exactly deliver a flavour punch like everything else on the table.
What makes a sticky Mumbai afternoon better instantly is anything cold and easy on your throat. And that’s exactly what you get with the Watermelon and Kimchi Gazpacho. While the sourdough crusted liberally with marinated cheddar isn’t exactly the knockout companion you expect, the cold soup itself more than makes up for it.
A staple on the Perch menu and my order every single time are the Pork Sausages & Truffle Mash. Served with lightly pickled apples and celery, this is a bowl of delicious comfort all whilst making you feel gourmet parallely. The Braised Oyster Mushrooms & Truffle Barley seems like a dish that attempts to try too hard, and misses the mark for mostly being boring on an otherwise fun and appetising menu.
When it comes to the mains, the menu seems straight out of a retro fantasy. From a Three Day Roast Chicken to Ravioli with a myriad of fillings and condiments, there’s a lot going on with each dish here. While the Grilled Broccoli and Halloumi with almonds, lentils, roasted pepper and olives is borderline banal, the Crab Crusted salmon with Lemon and spice sauce, asparagus, and sun-dried tomatoes veers towards the other extreme. The salmon is perfectly cooked, and pairs well with the acid, fat, and fresh content around it. It’s the crab crust that truly steals the show, meriting a standalone dish. If given to me in a bowl, I could honestly eat that crab all day. And I don’t even like seafood too much.
Suggested read: TD Conversations: Chef Dharshan Munidasa, Ministry of Crab
Before we get to putting the desserts under the microscope, it’s imperative to appreciate the cocktails that carry the whole menu to another realm. The new concoctions, as mentioned by the bartender, were thrown together at nearly the eleventh hour. Given the nuanced ingredient use and complexities of flavour profiles, one can hardly tell.
While there are several different kinds ranging from complex to fruity, dry to refreshing and spicy, I’m going to highlight the two you definitely can’t afford to pass up on! The Might be Espresso Martini, made with a Blended Whiskey, Café Rum, Beer Vermouth, and Maple is a bold nightcap. The three distinct layers are an immediate giveaway of the thought put into conceptualising this eccentric nightcap, and a sip of the drink doesn’t disappoint.
Another standout was the Tongue & Cheek, made with Tequila, Rhubarb Liqueur, Sparkling Water, and Berry Leather. It’s a dry yet satisfying cocktail, and perfect for those looking to be a little adventurous with their choices. The fruity O’na, on the other hand, is a cocktail I didn’t like owing to my history with bananas. But it’s still a cocktail I’d recommend simply for how smooth it is, a concoction of Vodka, Banana Enzyme, Riesling, and Bitters. It’s worth mentioning that this time around too, a lot of the ingredients used were made in-house, making these cocktails as unique as they are alluring.
You’re only as good as the last thing you ate though, and that’s where Perch’s limited edition summer menu might have faltered. The seasonal Mango Cheesecake is passable at best, with the crust just not having enough structural integrity to create distinct textures.
The Rum Custard Flan with Miso Butter Pecans barely edges over, but is still eggy and just doesn’t have enough of a rum infused bittersweetness.
A few hiccups aside, the Flavours of Summer menu at Perch is still one of the better things to look forward to when in Mumbai.
Suggested read: Best of the best cafés, restaurants, and bars in Mumbai
Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars)
One dish we loved: The Pork Sausages & Truffle Mash
One dish that didn’t work for us: The Mango Cheesecake was regular.