“A well made sauce will make even an elephant or a grandfather palatable.”
Grimod de la Reynière
“The difference between good and bad cookery can scarcely be more strikingly shown than in the manner in which sauces are prepared and served. If well made….they prove that both skill and taste have been exerted in its arrangements. When coarsely or carelessly prepared….they greatly discredit the cook.”
‘Modern Cookery for Private Families’ (1845)
Chirag Wadhwa, a fairly new restaurateur in Mumbai has a similar attitude towards sauces; an attitude that prompted him to open 14 Sauce Story, an eatery housed in Versova, Andheri West. Sauces, Wadhwa told us when we went to Andheri to try the new eatery, play a major role in any dish – indeed a sauce can transform a dish through flavour, texture and even visual appeal.
Considering, the restaurant’s name, it’s not surprisingly that one of its star dishes is the ‘Signature 14 Sauce Story Platter’ – a dish that is doing the rounds across social media in Mumbai. It features 14 sauces including Home-made smokey BBQ. Honey Tahini, Dill yogurt, Spinach feta served with fries, onion rings, chicken wings and lamb parcels.
However, 14 Sauce Story has a lot more to offer its customers. For one, it’s a pleasing space with white brick walls, decorated with colourful prints of quaint European villages and comfortable seating with a separate lounge section that allows customers to laze around on low, comfortable couches. Wadhwa tells us that the restaurant will also be hosting live performances by both popular and aspiring artists in the coming weeks. Additionally, it boasts a flat screen television for match viewing and a large range of drinking games perfect for a boozy Saturday night.
Also perfect for a boozy Saturday night is 14 Sauce Story’s drinks menu which has a collection of beers, regular and premium whiskeys, rums, vodkas, gins, liquors, wines and classic cocktails like the mojito, the caprioska and the frozen margarita.
Since we’re driving after dinner, we call for a Kiwi Virgin Frozen Margarita – it’s intensely flavourful and wonderfully refreshing; a great way to battle the summer heat.
We also enjoy a Ferrero Rocher (milk)shake – a thick, creamy comforting drink that is also refreshingly cold.
Just like the booze menu boasts a range of classic cocktails, the food menu has an array of classic European dishes like the Caesar salad, Veg Lasagne, Spaghetti Aglio E Olio and the Margherita pizza. We skip over the salad section, tempted instead by the Baked Mushrooms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts. The mushrooms were cooked until soft and stuffed with a generous dose of crumbly, velvety goat’s cheese with a balance of textures thanks to the pine nuts, making a simple yet exquisite appetiser.
We also tried the Chermoula Chicken Skewers – the chicken was given an earthy, spicy flavour thanks to the chermoula and served with mayonnaise tinged with the arresting taste of cilantro.
The (3) Main Events
After somewhat ungracefully chowing our way through mushroom after mushroom and skewer after skewer, we choose three equally tempting sounding mains; the Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Kaffir Lime Infused Prawns and the Grilled Fish in Chive Beurre Blanc.
While in the fish dish, the white fish was extremely moist and fresh and the cous cous served with it satisfyingly spicy, the true star of the dish was the beurre blanc which covered the fish – a rich, indulgent butter based sauce that was tinged with the flavour of wine.
The kaffir infused prawns were another stellar dish; the prawns, flavoured with the zingy touch of kaffir lime were nestled in a rich coconut broth.
However, our favourite main was the Parmesan Crusted Chicken – a crusty outer layer of parmesan envelops some of the softest, moistest chicken we’ve ever had. The chicken is served with an interesting horseradish mash and mushroom and pepper sauce that elevates the dish into one of the best chicken dishes we’ve had this year.
Perhaps the dish was further flavoured by a story that Wadhwa tells us. He had, he recollects, tasted a stellar chicken dish at a popular eatery in the city before he started his own restaurant. He was so impressed by the dish that he called the chef out to praise him, resulting in an hour long conversation between them. Sometime later, when he was looking for a chef for his own restaurant, he was put in touch with the same chef by chance. After delightedly employing him, Wadhwa and the chef worked together to create the Parmesan Crusted Chicken, inspired by the dish he had been so taken by.
As we listen to Wadhwa recollect this story, we get the sense that there are thousands more stories he has when it comes to the conception and running of 14 Sauce Story. After enjoying some ‘us-time’ with an animated conversation over a great meal, we also have a fond story or two to tell about 14 Sauce Story. How about you head over and create some of your own?