Part private club; part restaurant
Atmospherics: Like a few other bars and eateries in this group, ATM was once a private club which admitted members only. Today, they have an eminently sensible policy: the first floor (no lift) is for guests and the second floor is for members only. The second floor has a terrace that is a smoking area. The first floor has a very charming bar and two small rooms, done up like a tasteful, timeless private house rather than a commercial space. Not surprising, because the location was, perhaps, a flat and the owners have thankfully decided to keep it as it is, kinks and all, without turning it into a large but soulless space. ATM makes it apparent that they prefer members over guests: prices are visibly higher for guests than for members on the printed menu, and at about the time they were changing from club to restaurant, I was unceremoniously shown the door! This is one of the few places where it really does make sense to reserve a table: there is little place to wait, other than the pavement behind the market.
Table talk: Chef Rahul Gomes-Pereira (Pico for short) is from Divar, Goa. Many of the dishes on the gratifyingly concise menu are his signatures. The chorizo crepe (Rs 500) is a show-off dish, where the chorizo has come from his own farm in Divar. The chorizo are more like their Spanish counterparts, albeit with Goan spicing, and the crepe wrap, made when the order comes in, is a perfect counterfoil in its neutrality. Members, incidentally, pay Rs 300 for this preparation: all prices listed here are for guests. Scallop ceviche (Rs 700) with kombucha and capers did have irreproachably fresh carpaccio of scallops, but the trademark tartness of the trademark lemon juice was hardly compensated by the kombucha. The tapioca chips, the lone slice of bread and the raw mango pickle that were accompaniments (all white in colour) had little synergy with the scallops, or the rest of the menu and indeed the timeless décor. Truffle creamed polenta (Rs 650), the only vegetarian dish of the meal, was a masterpiece of colour and flavour. Stuck with dainty crisps (a trademark of this kitchen) and asparagus, the creamy polenta was an intensely savoury delight.
Plus and minus: separate pricing for members and non-members? Really?
Must try: tagliatelle with porcini and morels; grilled lobster tail; jalapeno and tenderloin burger
Food: 3.75; Service: 3.50; Décor: 3.75
21 Main Market, Sunder Nagar (rear entrance)
Open from 11 am to 1 am
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 3,500 (for non-members)