Third time is a charm at Henpecked. The location that houses Henpecked was previously occupied by Farmer and Sons, and a restaurant called Nico Bombay before that. Now I haven’t dined at Henpecked’s two predecessors, but from what I hear the concept of all three restaurants remains rooted at the ‘farm to table’ movement. Read: fresh, healthy, locally sourced produce that won’t make you feel guilty even if you indulge. So much so, that they’ve carried forward signature dishes and popular items from the previous menus into that of Henpecked’s.
Henpecked sets off a fun, relaxed vibe the minute you enter. A large glass cabinet frames one wall and is filled with cute paraphernalia, knick knacks, and picture books. The space, though small in surface area, still manages to not feel cluttered or cramped. A rarity in this city where small restaurants means your knocking elbows with the diner on the next table. Our server tells us that shifting the bar to the back of the restaurant and not along one side has done the trick.
Since the third time is the charm, here are three reasons why you should visit Henpecked the next time you’re looking for a place to brunch at!
1. Food that travels from the farm to your table – ‘Farm to Fork’.
Now the farm to fork, or farm to table movement is a huge deal internationally with many restaurants back home also getting on the bandwagon. Basically the emphasis is on serving wholesome and fresh food, created from locally sourced ingredients obtained directly from local farmers. Henpecked’s USP is that all their dishes are made with locally sourced produce that in turn results in food that is organic and guilt free. Make sure you come here during the day time so that you can do justice to their fabulous breakfast menu that features a number of egg based dishes all made from farm raised country eggs. Their buttermilk pancakes, waffles, and shakes also add to the complete breakfast experience.
The Hen Benepict is their version of a classic Benedict, where the brioche bun comes replaces with pav and the addition of creamed spinach and mushroom provides a different dimension of flavour. The eggs were perfectly runny, and sat atop a bed of Norwegian salmon topped with masala salli slivers on top. Really, what’s not to love? Our stand out dish of the afternoon was the Burrata Caprese salad. The creamy cheese came perched atop a flavourful basil pesto and tomatoes, drizzled with a berry vinaigrette. The dish is a classic example of letting the ingredients do all the talking with each component coming together to create a magical dish that sings.
Their Dark Hummus is another must order dish, especially if you’re looking at sharing a plate in a group. The use of black Garbanzo chickpeas instead of the regular white one not only lends a distinct black colour to the hummus, but also a smokiness to the flavour. The Curry Leaf Pesto Prawns transported me to Kerala with beautiful curry leaf and coconut flavour enveloping the prawn. Wish there were more prawn pieces in the dish though, that would help justify the price point.
Henpecked is able to reflect the farm to fork concept through the entire menu, with each dish shining bright. Wish they’d put in a little thought to the dessert section as well. Mud Pie and Cheesecakes are done to death! Would’ve loved to see Brownies made from locally sourced Quinoa or Granola Parfaits and such. Their White Chocolate Cheesecake we tried was decent to say at best, with an interesting addition of crushed almonds to the biscuit base to add more bite.
2. Traditional wood fired oven pizzas – The Real Deal!
Every third restaurant claims to have stone ovens or wood fired ovens in which they bake their pizzas. What sets the latter apart from the former, is the distinct smokiness it adds to the base. And the black speckled bottom the pizza base develops because of the burning of the wood. The pizzas served at Henpecked are the real deal! Go check the wood fired oven through the glass of their open kitchen if you don’t believe me.
Their menu spans the traditional Red pizzas (they use tomato sauce in the base) or the unconventional, less popular White pizzas (they come sans tomato sauce.) You can choose from the traditional hand tossed, floppy based Napolitano. Or the thin base, crispier Romano. We opted for the Old Macdonald that came topped with Goan Sausage, Bacon and onions. E-I-E-I-O!
3. Cocktails that will make your heart sing – Hic Hic Hurray!
What is a good brunch without a good cocktail by the side? Or four? Henpecked’s farm to form policy extends beyond their food into their cocktail menu as well, with concoctions that are fresh and unusual. Cocktails that you won’t find replicated anywhere else.
Take for example the Kambucha, where the probiotic health drink Kombucha is spiked with vodka and orange juice, to create that perfect mixture of naughty and nice. They also brew their own Pimms – a delicious fruit based liquor that you’ll only find in the United Kingdom. The Pimms at Henpecked may be a bit off in terms of colour because they don’t add blood oranges to their brew due to lack of availability locally, but tastes just as refreshing as the original. Full marks!
If you’re a fan of paan – like we are – you must get the Betel’s. This refreshing dish made of paan syrub and bourbon feels exactly like you’re drinking liquid meetha paan. The Chia Lemonade – a pink lemonade drink topped with chia seeds and vodka – was the only average cocktail of the night. The entire drink was cloyingly sweet and could do with a little less sugar syrup.
Overall however, our entire experience at Henpecked was lovely – delicious food, innovative cocktails and attentive service. The ambiance and vibe of the place is something else during the day time, making it perfect for your next Sunday brunch.
Henpecked, 105, Apollo Street, Opposite Laxmi Vilas Bank, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai.
(The author was invited to dine at Henpecked. As always the views are unbiased and entirely her own.)