It’s been in the news for a while now that Bastian is undergoing a menu and management makeover. Celebrity chef Kelvin Cheung has moved on, and a new era has begun to retain Bastian’s essence and push the reset button to create new memories.
Enter South Korean chef Boo Kim who’s already won hearts all over the city with Dirty Buns, his solo venture. His experience with Cheung has finally paid off as he takes over Bastian’s menu to retain the popularity of this Mumbai restaurant. Keep an eye for some wholesome comfort food, of which Kim is a master.
Bastian recently unveiled its new menu and it’s quintessentially Kim. The restaurant (named after Sebastian. the crab from ‘The Little Mermaid’) will now feature interesting seafood options with Thai, Korean, and Asian flavours, while the popular cheesecakes will retain their spot on the menu.
We started with the Snapper Carpaccio, garnished with ponzu ice, crunchy quinoa, and a splash of truffle oil, which was punchy and sublime, a cold but comforting dish. Another unforgettable item on the menu is the Chicken Satay Bun, complemented generously with roasted peanuts, peanut butter soy, spicy aioli, and onion-garlic alongside a house-made hot sauce. This one was smooth on the palate, with a strong aftertaste. Kim has a great way of staying humble and relatable through it all- ”you can eat with your hands, but keep it messy” he adds and we obliged happily.
Kim’s menu would be incomplete without dim sums. We tried varieties filled with cream corn, roasted corn, parmesan, and garlic that melts in the mouth like butter on a hot pan. The Crispy Tofu Bowl, on the other hand, assorted with crispy tofu salad, garlic soy, edamame, and crispy garlic was an effortless delight.
Another irresistible item was the Fish Taco Salad served with snapper, cajun spice, avocados, sour cream, jalapenos, and crispy wonton chips on the side; the combination of fresh veggies and spices was divine. Finally, we tried the Pork Belly Noodle Bowl marinated in Sichuan sauce, which resulted in a food coma.
The restaurant’s famous gin and tonic served with pepper and star anise is a cocktail you’d come back for. The cheesecakes were equally delectable as the rest of the meal; honey and lime are classics while the Keto Blueberry Pie with ice cream makes for a healthy yet mouthwatering recipe.
We spoke to Kim about his plans and goals for the future.
How do you see Bastian evolving after Chef Cheung?
Everyone from the kitchen to the service team is working in sync – sharing feedback, interacting with customers, and ideating. We’ve never stopped evolving and that is perhaps what has brought us this far. The Bastian menu has something in it for everyone. Although we pride ourselves in being a seafood-forward restaurant, our kitchen teams have made an effort to accommodate all kinds of taste profiles and preferences; vegan, vegetarian, dairy, gluten-free, and even allergies, so no guest has to miss out on the #BastianExperience. As a brand, Bastian is a place that is meant to evolve and grow.
New additions to the Bastian menu that we should be excited about?
We’re exploring some unique new flavours that have never been tried before. Keto is in focus again, so there will be some dishes that resonate with this health culture. In cakes, we are exploring a whole new range of flavours that are now available by the piece as part of our regular offering. Apart from these, the lunch menu will include a lot more comfort food like noodle bowls, salads, and buns.
A dish you think that no one should miss trying at Bastian and why?
Besides the new cheesecakes and Bastian cakes, the Salmon Jalapeño is one that we know our guests will absolutely love.
Food trends that India is gravitating towards?
While we’re seeing a lot of venues move in the sustainable and clean-eating direction, there’s also subtle gravitation towards ‘comfort food’. Comfort food is the most basic and simple food philosophy that I think should be the way forward. In fact, Bastian has always been serving comfort food, and that is what we believe people love most about the menu.
Future plans for Bastian?
Our larger goals are geared towards expansion. Short-term plans include exploring new taste experiences.