I’m a tad wary of writing this review, as I’m applying for membership at Soho House Mumbai soon and I’m not quite sure that this feature is going to do me any favours. Also, I’m aware that a review – critical or otherwise – is unlikely to sway the steady flow of well-heeled visitors to Cecconi’s enviable beach-side setting.
Situated on the ground floor of the haute members’ club, the achingly-hip Italian restaurant is open to non-members too (in the tradition of Cecconi’s outposts across Soho House properties world-over) and it has fast become the place to see and to be seen on any given evening in Mumbai. Walking in early on a balmy Saturday evening, it’s easy to see why.
With its mercurially-Mediterranean vibe, echoed by sun-kissed yet supremely-stylish interiors, Cecconi’s instantly transports you to a glamorous world far removed from the clangorous bustle of Juhu Tara Road. We settle in cozily enough, lounging amongst leafy potted plants in the al fresco dining area, soothed by the gentle beachfront sea-breeze and the gin-soaked comforts of a Cecconi’s Spritz.
Sadly, neither the culinary experience itself nor the service is as charismatic, with a maddeningly-inconsistent overtone to the overall meal.
In fact, we send two dishes straight back to the kitchen – a minestrone soup which transpires to be a pallid pool of veggies floating in lukewarm water; and an almost offensively-titled Cacio e Pepe, which has none of the understated finesse of this ancient Roman dish made simply with pasta, aged pecorino cheese and black pepper.
From a selection of cicchetti, baked gnocchi romana is exquisitely-soft and silkily-smooth, but it’s missing the creamy pool of gorgonzola which had my girlfriends abandoning their keto diet when they encountered this dish at my bridal shower just a few months ago. And therein lies the crux of the my qualms with Cecconi’s: inconsistency and complacency, compounded by a baffling lack of interest by the staff & kitchen in registering and responding to our feedback during this recent dinner. It would have been a thoughtful gesture had the kitchen made an effort to replace the gnocchi with its rightful rendition.
The wood-fired pizza are the only salvaging grace of an otherwise tepid meal; and it’s unsurprising to later learn that head chef Luca D’Amora hails from Naples, the holy grail of pillowy-crusted pizzas. The wild mushroom and taleggio in particular stands out as the epitome of carb-heavy comfort food, draped with an earthy edge.
We finish on an unimpressive note with the chocolate fondant, a dessert which is dealt a winning hand but is ultimately betrayed by the low quality cocoa used in its making. It’s far too sweet and lacking the intense richness one dreams of in a fondant.
From Cin Cin and Americano to Sorrentina, there’s no dearth of credible dining options showcasing regional Italian food with a gratifying sense of authenticity. It’s a shame that Cecconi’s is unable to join their ranks, although as I did hint at the very start, ultimately its starry Soho House setting overshadows the lacklustre quality of the meal itself. For this reason alone, it will no doubt remain among the most sought-after spots in Bombay for months to come.
Cecconi’s, Soho House, 16, Juhu Tara Rd, Mumbai, Maharashtra | 022 6213 3333
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