We recently dined at Mumbai’s first Latin American fine-dining restaurant named Asado. The word Asado comes from a social event – more like a barbeque session – in Argentina. The term is used for a range of BBQ techniques. Now you get an understanding of what exactly this new restaurant is all about!
During my visit, I must admit that I loved the the Mexican Seafood soup the most. But what took so long to set up a LatAm themed restaurant in Mumbai? And does it match up to Mumbaikars’ expectations? The following interview with the owner Trimaan Singh Chandock, Director of Concept Development, should provide some clarity on the background of this special themed restaurant in Bandra.
Asado is believed to be the first Latin American restaurant in Mumbai. What do you think took so long to set up one in the city? Also, what inspired you to take the lead?
We thought of coming up with a Latin American fine dine restaurant about a year ago. Opening a new restaurant needs a lot of work, especially when it is a specialised cuisine. We didn’t have a reference point and nor did we want to follow someone. So working on the menu, the ambience, sourcing raw materials for kitchen and building the right team, all together meant a lot of work.
I have travelled to Brazil, Argentina and Mexico a couple of time and have always been inspired by their food habits. Every time I visited, I have enjoyed their al fresco style street restaurants and their grills. And that’s where I got my inspiration for ASADO.
How would you describe Latin American cuisine?
Latin American cuisine refers to typical food, beverage and cooking styles common to many countries and cultures in highly diverse areas of the country. Some items typical of Latin American cuisine include maize-based dishes (tortillas, tamales, tacos, Flautas, Empanada, Enchilada) and various salsas and other condiments (guacamole, pico de gallo, mole, chimichuri, Habanero chili, aji, Jalapeno). These spices are generally what gives the Latin American cuisines a distinct flavor; yet, each country in Latin America tends to use a different spice and those that share spices tend to use them at different quantities. So a simple sauce of tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, garlic, onions and herbs can taste different by mixing the style and quantity that originally referred to a specific combination of sautéed or braised aromatics, which exists only in the Latin American cuisine. Also there are some special fusions because there is an influence from Spanish, Italian and Japanese communities that are there. This also helps bring in variety to our cusine.
Have there been any alterations made to recipes to suit the Indian palate? If yes, give us an example.
No, the food from our kitchen is absolutely authentic. We believe in authenticity, and that is the reason why we also import almost most of our ingredients like Cheese and Tortillas so that we do justice with the preparation.
What is the kind of research that went into putting together the menu? Did you and your team speak with people or any other process?
Yes, there is a lot of research work that has been done before we finalized our food and drinks menu. We have been to Latin America, different Latin Cuisine speciality restaurants in London, Dubai to find out the best dishes. We also learnt a lot through managing Loco Chino – our Tex Mex QSR in Mumbai. The key elements to our success have been Mr Jaspal Chandock, our MD, our talented chef and the brilliant team at Balu Hospitality.
How has the response been so far? Are Mumbaikars welcoming this new cuisine like you’d hoped it would? Do share some best experiences with us.
So far the response has been are amazing. Just in the first week of opening, and we are trending as the second best restaurant on Zomato. We had the courage to open a Latin American speciality Restaurant because of Mumbai, and touch wood we have been welcomed and appreciated by foodies, bloggers and media in the very first week of opening. Asado did a full house on the first weekend.
Food and drinks: Not-that-great
Music: Super! feet-tapping
Pocket-heavy? Decent. INR 2000 for two