When hungry, go EAST – a new restaurant at Sahara Star

EAST is Sahara Star’s one of the two newly opened restaurants  and has started to gain momentum due to location convenience (bang next to domestic airport on Western Express Highway) as well as the choice of cuisines it is offering under the flagship of Sahara group. (The other new restaurant, 25 Paraganas offers authentic Bengali cuisine, which is first of its kind in the five star hotel categories in Mumbai.)

EAST Sahara Star, review

EAST has valet parking (part of the hotel amenities). If you are visiting for the first time, it will be a good idea to ask for help in locating the restaurant as it is inside facing in the porch area of the hotel. The ambience is serene and eye catching. Tall statue of Buddha will welcome you to the restaurant. You will find little monk statues holding tea lights in their lap giving out a contented grin. A ship, signifying the business of export- import also graces the entrance of the restaurant. 

EAST Sahara Star Mumbai

The décor will immediately transport you to the Far East. I loved the furniture in the outside sitting area; uber stylish. On a pleasant evening, a candle lit dinner in the porch can be pretty romantic. Once inside, the open kitchen fit for Teppanyaki dishes greets you. The seating is divided into two segments, one side sofas and other side regular dining tables. The dark wood ambience lit with warm lights certainly mystifies you. The sofa looked grand with soft, satiny and comfy cushions but practically they were a tad uncomfortable for eating dinner, especially in the fine dining set-up. The dining tables on the other side were rather good. Also, it provided a better view of the live kitchen. A magician was going to each table performing coin and rope tricks. It was a hit with the younger guests as well as old.

Magician, Sahara Star, EAST

The waiting staff was efficient and informative. I asked questions about the ingredients in a dish from random serving staff and they all knew about the details of the dish served. I was impressed. The staff is courteous and would want to make your stay as comfortable as they can. Chef Chang heading EAST personally goes to each table to take down the order and understand the requirements of the guests in terms of palate, spice levels, etc. I saw many expats from Asian origin dining at the restaurant. EAST offers pan-Asian cuisine but mainly has Chinese and Thai dishes in their menu as Chef Chang specializes in these cuisines. Their menu is still expanding. Their wine menu is limited and mainly has imported brands. I love red wine but couldn’t get enough options there. They said they are still working on expanding their drinks menu.

Good pan asian restaurant Mumbai, EAST, Sahara Star, lobster

Lobster, the most expensive dish

I sat with Chef Chang (pronounced as Shaan) for a while to understand the idea behind EAST. Chef Chang, who hails from Thailand tried to explain the difference between the eating habits of Far-East and European cultures and how it affects each dish. EAST aims to deliver authentic Thai and Chinese flavours. He said that he never uses ajinomoto or chicken powder in these dishes which is a common practice in Indian restaurants to enhance the taste but is unhealthy. He said that they get fresh produce every day and prepare dishes with authentic herbs and spices used in the original preparation. He always uses chicken broth. He finds that the Indian palate is more towards the spicy side which makes him tweak the dish for various guests. But original Chinese and Thai dishes hardly use chilies.

EAST, Sahara Star, food review, pepper mushroom

Black pepper mushrooms

I agree. We have Indianized a lot of dishes. Our Chinese Hakka noodles are a lot different than the ones served in China. I could see that he was a bit unhappy adding chili to every dish.

Prawn, EAST, Sahara Star, Cigar roll

Prawn cigar rolls

We started our evening with Prawn cigar rolls, which were presented in a shot glass, quarter filled with sweet-chili sauce. The prawn cigar roll was crispy and perfect for a finger dish. We were later treated to assorted wok-fried vegetables in a wheat basket. It was refreshing as the crunchy water chestnuts, fried cashews added character to the regular stir fry. I give full marks to the presentation of both the dishes. Also loved pepper mushrooms. The main course included lobster in schezwan sauce, tenderloin cooked in black-bean pepper sauce and chicken in Thai-Green curry. Pineapple veg fried rice was a good accompaniment to the Thai Green Curry. The sweetness of the pineapple and the crunchiness of the vegetables were perfectly complimented by the rich gravy. Galangal, chives, lemongrass added to its exotic appeal. I would recommend the Thai Green curry to everyone.

Food, EAST, Sahara Star, Mumbai pan asian restaurant

Pineapple fried rice, Tenderloin in black bean sauce and vegetables in Thai green curry

I was rather disappointed with the lobster which is the most expensive dish in their menu. The flesh was over-cooked and was chewy. The salt was bit high for my comfort. Though, it was presented beautifully. The tenderloin was ok. May be, it didn’t go well with pineapple fried rice. As they say, all is well that ends well. I tasted an amazing flavor that evening; it was a sure shot winner, the star of the evening. The dessert presented to us towards the end of our meal stole the show.

ice cream, melon, Sahara star, EAST

Melon ice-cream

Chef Chang has developed a spicy ice-cream to appeal to the Indian palate. Its basil and chili flavor has a very earthy appeal, yet it is remarkably delicious. I think I enjoyed an ice-cream after ages.  Like a child, I dug into the scoops and relished every bite. A must try. I shamelessly asked for another scoop. In all this, their chocolate brownie topped with chocolate mousse was sidelined. You can very well imagine how good the basil-chili ice-cream has to be to absolutely block my love for chocolate. I also loved their melon flavored ice-cream.

assorted vegetables, stir fried vegetables, EAST, Sahara star

Stir fried vegetable basket

The price ranges anywhere between Rs.350 to Rs.1800 per dish. A Sula Merlot glass was Rs. 500 + taxes. A meal for two will easily cost between Rs. 2000 – 2500. But it’s worth a visit, especially if you don’t want to travel all the way to Bandra.

Will I go there again? Yes, for sure. I want to witness their Teppanyaki table. The taste of basil-chili ice-cream is going to draw me back there pretty soon.

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India, Femina.in, BeBeautiful.in, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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