More hype than bite
After much googling and vacillating, I finally picked Aurus, the ultra-hyped outdoor restaurant-lounge in Juhu, as the site of my birthday dinner. The internet and our friends had positively reviewed both the ambience and food of Juhu’s number one nightspot. Since driving into suburban traffic is a journey that H. only undertakes for special occasions, I figured I should take advantage of this on my birthday.
From the road, Aurus is all but invisible and not even marked by a sign. We drove past the restaurant, calling at multiple intervals to ask for directions. Each time the hostess told us, “It’s opposite the Ajanta Hotel.” When we finally spotted the (unlit) marker, we advised the hostess to give better directions than obscure landmarks. She argued with us- I guess mystifying entrances contribute to the hype.
The inside of Aurus is uninvitingly dim compared to its gorgeous and peaceful outdoor area. Twinkling lights illuminate pots of plants and flowers and the low, white sofas contribute to the laid back lounge atmosphere. Some lucky tables can even gaze onto a quiet stretch of Juhu beach where a few stragglers hawk their wares against the vast stretch of sea.
Sadly, we enjoyed our surroundings and view of Bombay’s cool crowd more than we did the food. The rice paper rolls with avocado didn’t taste like much other than the mayonnaise-heavy dressing slathered inside them, and the mushroom-topped bread squares were also tediously creamy (the dish had a really appealing name but I can’t remember it). Our pastas tasted like they were made at Spaghetti Kitchen, a chain restaurant similar to Olive Garden. I don’t object to eating generic sauces and fillings at Spaghetti Kitchen once in a while because I know what to expect, whereas Aurus’ prices (at least double of those at S.K.), interiors, and misleadingly tempting menu had me anticipating food that was a tad more unique and exciting. Oh, and the hype. With all that hype from our friends and the internet, both of us did expect better food. (Perhaps the non-vegetarian food is good. I don’t know.)
Aurus’ alluring open-air vibes make it a great place to drink with your friends, but if you’re in the mood to eat a gourmet meal, then look elsewhere. It definitely didn’t fulfill my birthday dinner dreams.
Ground Floor, Nichani Kutir, Juhu Tara Road, Santacruz, Mumbai, 022 67106666