Sofitel Mumbai BKC’s signature restaurant is back, and with its combination of a mouthwatering menu, unique gin bar and innovative spaces, it promises to be better than ever.
The signature restaurant at Sofitel Mumbai BKC, is not new. Jyran has been at the heart of the property’s appeal right from the beginning. But its reopening at the end of February 2021 is nothing short of a rebirth. Much has changed since its doors closed last year in March, as the country went into lockdown.
An integral part of the Sofitel brand, the name Jyran means ‘lost love’ in Persian. An emotion reflected in the many queries about its reopening that have poured in since the lockdown ended, according to the staff.
Master chef Shadab Ahmed Quereshi couldn’t be happier about getting back to business. Hailing from seven generations of chefs, he is the expert responsible for the menu at Jyran. Many of the dishes served here are derived from old family recipes. He bashfully lets one secret slip through. “I bring masalas from my hometown of Lucknow. The suppliers only deal with makers of the iconic tunday kebab and me.”
As starters such as Paya Yakhni Jyran (lamb trotter soup), Murgh-al-Jyran (chicken marinated in curd, red chillies and vinegar), Shahi Galawat Ke Kebab (lamb mince patty served on a flaky paratha), Dum ki Chaap (marinated and slow-cooked lamb chop), Mahi Ajwaini Tikka (bekti fish cooked in caraway seeds and olive oil) and Tandoori Jhinga (tiger prawn marinated in curd, mustard oil and yellow chillies), arrive at the table, the chef’s mastery of northwest frontier cuisine becomes evident. Everything cooked in a clay oven, a rich, smoky flavour complements the juicy meats and seafood. With most of the marination done overnight, the spices are well infused and every bite is delightful.
The main course is a blend of north Indian favourites such as Chooza Makhani (tandoori chicken in rich tomato gravy) and Dal-al-Jyran (special variation of the popular kali dal), as well as Mughlai specialties such as Nahari Al Subho (lamb shank curry). While the chicken is par for the course, the dal is a revelation, its creamy consistency not reflected in the usually-associated heaviness. It’s the lamb that really is the star of the mains, with the meat tender to the point of sliding off the bone. The thick gravy is so delicious, I have to order extra rotis to mop it all up.
Dessert comprises a Badam Halwa (almond pudding) and Angoori Rabdi (cottage cheese balls in flavoured milk), and makes for the perfect aftertaste that lingers long after the elaborate meal is done.
After letting the three-course meal settle in at the al fresco lounge, I turn my attention to the other highlight of the restaurant – the gin bar. One of the few of its kinds in India, Gin Bar by Jyran, stocks as many as 39 varieties of gin, including eight local brands, alongside two gin liqueurs and two non-alcoholic gins. That’s not all, as there are also six in-house blends that have been infused with unique flavours such as saffron, chamomile and mogo mogo tea, among others. The plan, says director of food and beverage Akshay Sood, is to expand this in-house range to include as many as 50 infused gins.
Although presented with a wide variety of interesting choices, I opt for a traditional negroni. The bartender obliges although his eyebrows do move an imperceptible one-sixteenth of an inch at the loss of an opportunity to showcase his innovations. But an apéritif is all I can manage after that meal.
It’s while I nurse the negroni that I appreciate how all the different spaces of the restaurant come together. The elevated private dining area, with curtains that can be used to turn each table into private booths, the indoor seating, the outdoor al fresco lounge with patrons enjoying herbal sheesha and of course, the gin bar, all have ambience that is distinct and yet, complement each other. The ideal visit should span a few hours, as you lounge in the various spaces with your choice of gin cocktails and eventually, commit to a lavish, multi-course meal.
Jyran, at present, is only open for dinner although the management at Sofitel Mumbai BKC promises the timings are likely to open up in the days to come.