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Guess who's coming to dinner?

By Vivek Fernandes
Last updated on: September 03, 2004 13:38 IST
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ancy dining in the company of Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra? Or raising a toast to Zeenat Aman, Helen or Hema Malini? We suggest you head straight for Filmi Masala, the newest and -- dare we say -- most 'filmi' Bollywood theme concept restaurant at Gurgaon's DT Mall.

Here's our take!

The set: Bright red and black tones, sequinned red drapes, royal purple upholstery and mirror-work on the walls set the mood for a vibrant dining experience. Plus, you have the option of being seated at the smoking or non-smoking section, though the seating is a wee bit cramped.

Bollywood graffiti adorns the walls. Take, for example, Chole ke peeche kya hai? which cocks a snook at the famous Madhuri Dixit number, Choli ke peeche kya hai from Subhash Ghai's Khalnayak.

And -- quite predictably, by now -- the sign outside the gent's convenience room proclaims, Johnny Mera Naam.

The music is retro-Bollywood. Nice.   

The khana: The fare promises to tickle. And we are not talking just about the palate. Sample, if you please, the very ingenious menu: Trailers (starters) include Tu Cheese Badi Hai Mast Mast (a cottage cheese [paneer] dish) and Rani Kukkerjee (Chicken Tikkas). The prices for the starters range from Rs 400 for a Jumbo Fried Prawns to Rs 125 for vegetarian ones.

Moving to the main course, vegetarian options in the Shakahari Baby section include Cream Girl (Vegetables in White Sauce) and Ae Mere Tamatar Chaman (Cottage Cheese in a Tomato Gravy). Most of the vegetarian dishes are priced at around Rs 125.

Jhankar Meats, as the fare for the carnivorous has been anointed, includes Kashmir Ki Curry (Kashmiri Mutton Curry... Yummy like Shammi, says the menu) and Dil Chahta Hai (Chicken cooked Goan-style).

We experimented with Lal Badshah (Rs 175), a Rajasthani mutton dish. Though the portions are small, we weren't disappointed. But the non-vegetarian dishes are comparatively pricey and range from Rs 175 to Rs 445 per dish. 

Rice dishes feature under the title, Bhaat Ban Jaaye. Both Aishwarya Rice (Rice with Green Peas explains the menu) and Juhi Chawal (Plain White Rice, Yes, Fair and Lovely, is the explanation) at Rs 55 each are also up for grabs. We tried the Mangodi Bharo Sajana (a Rajasthani speciality, this is a pulao with little bhajiya-like boondis called mangodi, priced at Rs 105). The helping was huge and the flavour, delectable.

Dada Phulke, the Indian breads section, boasts of the likes of Naan Patekar Makhan Marke (Butter Naan) and Kissi Missi (Missi Roti) for Rs 25.

And here's the USP -- all the food is cooked in olive oil.

For beverages may we recommend the Neel Kamal (blue curacao-based mocktail) or Haryali Aur Raasta, with a strong khus flavour, both priced at Rs 100?

You could end your meal with Mammotea, Helen Antea (Masala Tea) or a Danny Denzoncup (Coffee). Or, if you prefer, you could have your just desserts with Ek Baar Phirni (Rs 45) or Oh Haseena Kulfi Wali Jaane Jahaa (Rs 65).

And now, the review.

It's a nice place to do dinner with friends or colleagues. The restaurant is a little cramped but the ambience rocks. The service is prompt and the waiters are courteous. The menu has a lot of variety, so I do plan on going back to sample some of the other dishes.

But I wouldn't recommend it for a cosy, romantic date. Nor it is best place for a business dinner or a formal do.

On the whole, on a scale of 1 to 5, I'd give Filmi Masala a 3.25.

The address
Filmi Masala
Lights, Curry, Action
# 208-209, DLF City Centre
Phase II, DLF City
Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road
Gurgaon -- 122 002

Tel: (0124) 5066081 / 82 / 83

Here's a chance to get yourself published on! Is there a restaurant you'd like to review? Let us know! 

Restaurant photograph: Vivek Fernandes
Image: Dominic Xavier

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Vivek Fernandes