• Paneer Kurkure (Rs. 190 only!)

Restaurant review: Sapphire Restaurant, The Emerald Hotel, Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai.

  • Paneer Kurkure (Rs. 190 only!)

Hello, everyone!

I know it has been ridiculously long since I wrote a blog post out here, only because I’ve been busy working on different projects for The GlitchLensplate. However, I’ve managed to successfully post pictures and opinions of my culinary (as well as travel) experiences on my Instagram & Facebook page as regularly as possible. So follow me to stay updated on my best and newest experiences.

Today, I’m going to review one of the very few family-restaurants in the city that serves cocktails and pure vegetarian Indian, Oriental & Continental food under one roof. No, I didn’t turn vegetarian overnight so get your cursor off that close icon on your browser!

I went to Sapphire for dinner during the long Diwali weekend, with a few childhood friends who turn vegetarian temporarily during the festive period every year. However, they also prefer to get drunk while having dinner and play poker afterwards. So we ended up going to The Emerald Hotel in Juhu.

Along with serving only vegetarian food, Sapphire also believes in offering fat free or low-cholesterol food on request and a new special menu every weekend. The staff is friendly, helpful and sweet… but was the food worth going back for? Let’s find out.

Mexican Quesadillas with Salsa (INR 195)

These wholeheartedly stuffed quesadillas were served with a platter of dips, including sour cream & salsa. The dish was toasted well, it was crisp and the stuffing of chopped mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes & cheese was delicious too but don’t bother looking for authenticity at Sapphire. The presentation was shabby and amateurish too.

Mexican Quesadillas with Salsa
Mexican Quesadillas with Salsa

Platter of dips - salsa, sour cream, hung curd and garlic mayo.
Platter of dips

Corn Cheese Croquettes (INR 175)

We were expecting to see crumb-fried croquettes of cheesy sweet corn goodness with a smoky barbecue dip, as mentioned on their menu. What we received on our table were lousily limp croquettes, which were hot and crispy but tasted essentially of just melted cheese and nothing else. Avoiding this disaster would be a good idea if/when you decide to go to Sapphire some day.

Corn Cheese Croquettes
Corn Cheese Croquettes

Paneer Kurkure (INR 190)

After trying a few appetisers, I asked our waiter to recommend one of their chef’s special dishes, and we decided to try out his suggestion. I was extremely happy to see mildly spiced and super soft paneer rolled in crushed papad before it was fried to perfection and arranged on a plate aesthetically. More than the spiciness, we enjoyed the crispiness of this dish. Avoid letting this dish go cold because it’s crisp and enjoyable only while it’s hot. So pick it and dip it in some green chutney before you take another sip of your chilled beer. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.

Paneer Kurkure (Rs. 190 only!)
Paneer Kurkure

Jade Roll (INR 200)

Half brother of spring roll, crispy Jade Roll stuffed with chopped spinach, cheese & vegetables rolled in wonton sheets looked effortlessly inviting on our table. The wonton was slightly chewy and oily but the stuffing was extraordinarily cheesy and delicious. For those who like ‘Indian Chiness’ food, this dish might hit the spot for you.

Jade Roll (chopped spinach, cheese & vegetables rolled in wonton sheets)
Jade Roll
Main Course
Vegetable Tiranga (INR 450)

This dish essentially offers a melange of chopped vegetables prepared in 3 different types of gravy and the size of its portion can be easily shared by 3 to 5 adults for main course. The red gravy was ordinary – the flavours were flat and it was slightly too salty for my liking. If you enjoy sweetness for main course, you might find the white gravy appetising. I liked the creaminess of the malai gravy but due to its excessive sweetness, the dish failed to qualify for my third bite. Very few restaurants go wrong with spinach gravy, so the green gravy was expectedly delicious – rich, spicy and satisfyingly tasty. I’d like to recommend trying the green one with crisp butter naan or missi roti.With 3 drastically different combination of flavours, uniformly chopped chunky vegetables and different level of spiciness, this dish is definitely worth trying; especially for families and friends who like to share.

Melange of chopped vegetables prepared in 3 different types of gravy and the size of its portion can be easily shared by 3 to 5 adults for main course.
Vegetable Tiranga

Dal Tadka (INR 190)

Every Indian meal is incomplete without some hot, comforting dal. If countries ever had to declare their national dishes, dal would definitely be the winner for us. Tadka is the hindi word for tempering curries (or chutneys), usually with the technique of frying aromatic spices & herbs, to change the flavour profile of the final dish. The dal tadka was spectacular; the kind of spectacular that makes you forget everything, feel better and give a sense of your mom feeding it to you, like she always did.

The flavours of curry leaves and a variety of spices had seeped right into this piping hot dish, making it pop like magic in my mouth with every bite. This was undoubtedly the best dish we tried at Sapphire that night. Enjoy it with some plain steamed rice or jeera rice.

Pipng hot & delicious dal tadka.
Dal Tadka

Before you decide to order desserts at Sapphire, I’d like to mention a short disclaimer. Please avoid ordering any kind of pastry dishes or international favourites – stick to ordering Indian desserts, the rest is strictly avoidable and ordering anything else can be highly regretful.

Gulab Jamun & Phirnee (INR 140 each)

We managed to overeat that night, as we almost always do, leaving hardly any room for dessert in our stomachs. However, since we already knew that the rest won’t be worth trying, we stuck to ordering classics like gulab jamuns and phirni. The jamuns were slightly overfried and the phirni could do much better than tasting almost like plain milk.

I wish we had decided to order Malai Kulfi or Caramel Custard instead.
Gulab jamuns
Gulab Jamuns

Malai phirni

Rate Card 

What’s Garma-Garam?
The fried appetisers to go with your chilled beers.

What’s Thanda?
Lack of consistency in their menu, especially everything under Continental & Oriental cuisines.

Dakaar Level

Will I go back?
For those amazingly crispy paneer kurkure, yes.
Everything else, probably not.

Happy hogging! 🙂

Since it was my first experience at Sapphire that night, I was probably the only one who thought the place was too bright and shiny. Before we ordered, my friends asked me to stick to Indian food throughout our dinner, as they thought Sapphire’s Oriental & Continental options were not any better than desperate occasional attempts by our Gujarati & Punjabi mothers. I chose to go against them and try an array of dishes from their entire menu that night.

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