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February 27, 2024

Kala Ghoda’s new restaurant Plural is perfect for a light, workday lunch

Ruhi Gilder
A new entrant in the forever changing Mumbai food scene, Plural, a new contemporary South East Asian restaurant makes its presence known in one of the narrow bylanes of Mumbai’s popular locale, Kala Ghoda. In a conversation over drinks and an array of small plates, founder Vedant Shah talks of his dream of Plural becoming a mainstay in Bombay. 
An excess of Far East Asian options in the city, as well as his affinity for the cuisine based on his travels in the US, prompted Plural’s 25-year-old founder to choose South East Asian as the restaurant’s primary cuisine. Opened a month ago, the restaurant differentiates itself with its locavore focus, all its ingredients are sourced from within Maharashtra itself. 
Plural
Local all the way 
“We don’t import anything,” says Shah. The menu is based on using ingredients that are not necessarily indigenous to the culture, but giving them a Plural twist. He cites his favourite Seared Brussels Sprouts with nam prik paste, nam jim vinaigrette, fresh herbs and Kohlrabi salad as examples. Focusing on seasonal produce, Shah says the menu will change 30-40 per cent based on the season. 
Seared Brussel Sprouts
Seared Brussel Sprouts
Sustainability first  
In addition to championing local produce, Shah is also trying to establish a closed-loop in the kitchen. “This means we try to use every part of an ingredient.” Leftover root vegetable trimmings from the Chao Ga Porridge are used to make crispy chips. Mushroom trimmings are given to the bar to make special mushroom dust, and garlic’s green stalks are used to make a vinaigrette that is used in many of the dishes. Shah earnestly explains the plan to practice composting as well.  
Simplistic décor   
Entering the space, one may feel a sense of calm with the soothing mint green walls and bamboo furniture. Diffused straw overhead lighting gives the space the exact effect that Shah intended. “Inviting and expansive in the day, cosy and intimate in the night.” An ode to Vietnamese cuisine stands proudly at the entrance; the wallpaper there is decorated with all the leaves, seeds and ingredients that are used in the cuisine like star anise, rice and basil. A staircase leads to a small mezzanine section, perfect for group gatherings. 
Plural
Plural
Not your average Asian food
We started our meal with cocktails that were mixed to perfection. My gin-based ‘Guava Nice Day’ was delicious, but had a more sour and less guava kick. My colleague sampled the ‘What’s in a name?’ a vodka and grapefruit-based cocktail. Kicking off the food portion of the afternoon, a variety of small plates arrived at our table. Plural’s ‘Hummus’, is something you’d never expect hummus to be. It is made with eggplant, corn, and silken tofu instead of chickpeas. The summer rolls were pretty as a picture and were accompanied by a Vietnamese classic nuoc cham dip that stole the show. 
Summer Rolls
Summer Rolls
Next up was an item you don’t often see, Seared Brussel Sprouts, which are a definite must-try. The Pomelo salad veered a bit on the sweeter side, but complimented the fiery grilled artichoke baos beautifully. From the large plates, we tried the roasted beetroot curry with water chestnut, coconut crème fraiche, crunchy chickpeas, and pomegranate. This was a familiar, comforting curry.  

 

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The dessert menu is not traditionally Southeast Asian. It has gluten-free and vegan peanut fudge cake, a miso caramel tart, which is served with chocolate custard, and an interesting black sesame ice cream.   
The Founder
Plural is a culmination of restaurateur Vedant Shah’s childhood dream. While most kids his age craved fast food happy meals, the entrepreneur would drag his family to sample dishes at local street food vendors or fine dines.
Shah pursued industrial engineering in the US with the aim to join his family’s manufacturing and engineering-oriented business. He even worked in the healthcare space for about a year, before giving in to his dream, a career in food.   
Cutting his stay short in the US, he returned to India with no concrete plans. “I dabbled in a couple of things. I co-hosted a beer and cheese workshop with Mansi Jasani from the Cheese Collective.” The beer for the workshop was sourced during his last road trip in New England. This was Shah’s foray into the world of food.
When an internship at a fine-dine was cut short due to the pandemic, Shah was unsure of his next plans. “Covid with all its de-stabilising effects had one saving grace. It gave me the time to go to the drawing board and work on my game plan,” says Shah.
He started working on the restaurant in July-August 2020 with an aim to launch in April 2021. But the lockdown put his project on hold for some time.
Meal for two: Rs 2.000 approximately (excluding alcohol) 
Home delivery: On their website or Swiggy / Zomato 
Parking: Valet service to start next week 
Address: Ground floor, 106/108 Jai Hind Building, Nagindas Master Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 
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Delicate ingredients scream big flavours at Tori
Diablo, the new Gothic-themed restaurant in Mumbai, serves delectable Middle-Eastern fare

Ruhi Gilder

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