The Restaurant Around The Corner

An Indian diner modelled along American lines is making waves.

The tables are glass topped and fitted with steel legs; the comfortable chairs are in a muted brown; the floor is spotless and composed of small square ceramic tiles in sky-blue and the walls - painted an unimposing shade of cream, are lined with black n' white posters of celebrities, each of which has a food line printed on them. The one with Julia Roberts reads "Fresh Salads Always Make A Pretty Woman" and the line on the frame-up of svelte Naomi Campbell says "Super Melts for Super Models". Lookout for Abba, Brooke Shields, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rowan Atkinson, too, among others. The decor creates an atmosphere of ease and informality, making the customer feel at home, the moment he walks into the place.

Just Around The Corner at Churchgate is the third of its kind in the city; two branches are already in operation at Bandra and Andheri. The brainchild of Mr. Sanjay Narang - creator of Not Just Jazz By The Bay, this restaurant employs a slightly modified version of the concept defining American diners and self-serve cafeterias, to suit Indian needs.

Airy, well lighted, well ventilated and spacious it's manned by a helpful, energetic staff.

Among the items on their Rise And Shine breakfast menu are fresh fruits and juices, pancakes, waffles, breads, eggs and hot breakfast items like hash browns, crispy bacon, home-style baked beans and grilled tomatoes. Also available are South Indian specialties, for that die-hard Bombayite who can't do without his fix of dosa, idli or medu wada, first thing in the morning.

The lunch and dinner menus are standard all days of the week, changing only in their choice of soups. New ones for every day of the week, these are original concoctions of the chef that labours behind closed doors.

Among the non-veg items on the main menus the Wraps (available in veg, too), made by stuffing Roomali Rotis with spicy fillings and exclusive to the Churchgate outlet, the deli-fresh sandwiches and the salads are all worth a try. In salads, if you decide to opt for the Vegetabowl, you can be creative with a host of vegetables and salad dressings like French or Garlic Mayonnaise.

The Grilled Burgers, again available in veg and non-veg, are appetising and their experience can be enhanced with a side order of french fries or a slice of melted cheese. The patty itself can be made of beef, grilled chicken, cottage cheese or vegetables, as per your taste.

Among the desserts, the pastries and the Brazilian chocolate mousse are mouth watering.

The drinks scene is pretty varied too. Milk shakes, soft drinks - bottled, canned, or fountain - lemonade, iced tea, mineral water and a whole range of teas and coffees are up on offer. Lemon, Earl Grey and English tea is available in the mornings, with breakfast; whereas Tata Tetley, Darjeeling and Assam are served in the evenings. The caffeine addict can choose between strong black coffee, cappuccino, espresso, a plain old cuppa and Swiss Chocolate. In fact, why choose - order them all!

There's also a special accommodation for kids. They could have a veg or a non-veg burger or sandwich with Pepsi, all for Rs. 59.00 only. Moreover, they get a dinky car or a Barbie Accessory for free.

This Indian diner offers wholesome, nutritious food at a good price. None of the dishes or drinks exceeds Rs. 85.00, except for the Vegetabowl. This however, being a mixture of salads that is rated according to its net weight at the end of the line and is a complete meal in itself, is cost-efficient.

Just Around The Corner is an ideal place for the regular Bombay foodie to drop in at, before the start of a mad office day or at the end of a late night show at any of the city's theatres, when those untimely hunger pangs make his stomach growl. However, if you're too busy or bored to drop in at their outlet, let them deliver to you at home...for free!

This article was first published on24 Jul 2000.