Restaurant Review: 212 All Day Café & Bar – Manhattan, Hello!

212 All Day Cafe & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

**The characters in this review are fictional. Please use the theory of relativity to create any similarities with actually living persons. No lawsuits will be entertained**
Coming from a hectic foodie week, the zoman warrior thought he was in for a break. Watching Thor on the telly, he wandered off into an alternate universe, when suddenly his phone rang…

It was SIR FOTOLIUS from the land of tripod photographers and his foodie bride LADY MEG. They had been invited on a quest to seize the day – Carpe Diem, and were looking to assemble a band of elite foodies for the task.

Having rounded up BAKA-BIN-SUR from the land of the frost giants, and the HOBGOBBLING GUJJU for the quest, they called the zoman up to fill the last remaining spot. The zoman acknowledged and thus the foodie fellowship was formed.
Like the nine walkers in Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring, we fellows set off to the destination of our quest. Arriving at the venue, we were greeted by MADAM VOCIFEROUS VEGGIE, iOSQueen, and TINY TATTOO, who were experts at Living in the Moment, or as the Lingua Latina says Carpe Diem.
Then amidst the atmosphere of general bonhomie, the kitchen blew its battle horn. Plates began appearing at the scene and before we knew it the quest had begun… And that, my good zomans, is how the food tasting session at 212 All Day Café & Bar began.
Quit mindless charade… Cut back to reality… Begin Review!
As one is likely to believe this place isn’t situated in the borough of Manhattan. It is quite accessible to Indians and is located on the ground floor of the Phoenix Market City.

Someone, somewhere has put in a decent ounce of effort in doing the place up.
I for one, cannot enjoy myself without sufficient air conditioning and 212’s got that nailed.
There’s a spacious outside seating that also allows the chimney kinds to go about their ciggy cravings. But the piece-de-resistance here, is the shamiana (tent) that’s good enough to seat 5-6 people and kind of make it a private party.
The wall area of the inside seating has a huge 212 sign built with empty egg trays and the other side shows off a live kitchen. Both are ace touches, I tell you!

Being invited for a tasting session here, I really am in no position to judge how the service generally is. But I’ll say that we were dished out some celebrity treatment for sure! Not that it was a 5 on 5 experience. I felt some room for improvement definitely exists.

At multiple times during the course of the evening, I felt like a goose. One that was being overfed and fattened so as to get a creamy foie gras out of it. It’ll be a gargantuan task trying to list all the food I was served here but I’ll try poking a shot at it anyway!
Pardon me for comparing this with dal shorba, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this soup. I loved the way it was served in an espresso demitasse with a side of garlic bread.
Take a winter evening and a gloomy person. Feed said soup to gloomy person. Watch instant glow on face. Creamy, velvety, and perfectly balanced, this was a soup that could change the grumpy expression on KIM JONG UNs face.
The 212 take on the classic melon and feta. The watermelon was slightly grilled and I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful it tasted. Served along with the usual star cast of balsamic and nuts. The salad was plated like a game of Jenga. Truth or Dare, anyone!
If I could deconstruct and reassemble this baby, I’d keep the drizzle away. The candied walnuts, apples, rugola, and feta went perfectly well with each other, but the drizzle was a tad bit greasy for my liking. A so-so dish that could have been excellent
Good ol’ Caeser. Bearing the burden of the salad world for almost all eternity now. A typical run of the mill Caesar that was good, but nothing special to talk about either.
Although a veggie version was served, I stuck to the roast chicken and grainy mustard one. The crisp bite of the crostini and the chicken mix went perfectly well. The mustard was added in perfect quantity and balanced the affair with its pungent kick.
Non greasy, loved that! But overall the rings weren’t anything special to talk about, given the stellar company that they were in.
Super moist and juicy. These babies were good enough to get a dead man going. Served with a piquant dip that could shine up any badly done dish even, this a must try on the 212 menu. The chicken is cooked perfectly and the spice mix on it is delicious to say in the least.
A rarity that this happens. But I didn’t like the buffalo wings at 212 even a bit. Boohoo!
Vamanos Bailando started playing and for a while there I started feeling like a cigar toking muchacho from the barrio.
These were super gorgeous. Crisp spring roll stuffed with a cheesy mixture and some veggies too. How they all married perfectly well. Another must try!
Should have been gambas frio instead. The prawns were done perfectly and the garnish looked excellent too. But caliente, it wasn’t. The dish was mildly spiced as opposed to being hot.
The lemon butter tossed squid was beautiful. Absolutely light, mildly seasoned and the lemon completely brought out the flavour of the squid.
Barbeque Chicken – Too tangy for my liking and the chicken was slightly chewy too.
Spicy House Special – A veg pizza like this with a topping of beautifully caramelized onions has the potential to convert a hard-core meat eater like me into a vegetarian.
One can’t resist putting this on the list of absolute must have’s at 212
The All American – Is there a pepperoni pizza in the universe that doesn’t taste amazing.
Think of an arabiatta sauce married to an al-fredo sauce. Et voila, the penne in sundried tomato crème. While this wasn’t literally what the dish was, I quite liked it a lot. A hearty veggie helping and the herby flavour of the dish were simply perfect.
While my comrades kept raving about this dish, I couldn’t get into the same sentiment. 2 trips to Italy and a million risottos later, I simply cannot stomach a well-done risotto. While the risotto didn’t taste bad, it was far more done than Al-dente and didn’t pass that basic test in my mind. I’d say this was a dish I’d suggest you to give this a pass.
Let’s face it. Most of us love seafood served with a decently made beurre blanc. Chef Paul put a superb offering on the menu with the perfectly done shrimp, the Cajun spices, and the creamy beurre blanc.
But what I didn’t get, is that why was the mash required on the plate at all. While the shrimp and the sauce were perfect, the mash seemed like a hopeless ex-lover out to attend your wedding reception.
The grilled chicken was a great dish and as always the sauce was what made it shine rather than the chicken itself. Served with the typical sides of mash and veggies, this reminded me of my countless meals at Infantaria in Goa.
Madame et Monsieurs….. Give it up for the star of the 212 show tonight.
In a faraway land, three little piggies were building their house. Out came Chef Paul and snagged these piggies for his coffee rubbed spare ribs. It has been a long while since I’ve had such a perfectly done spare rib. The crisp char on the outside, the fatty, juicy interior, and the perfectly done meat, that literally slipped clean from the bone.
If the spare ribs were a cricket ball, Chef Paul was AB de Villiers. This dish was hit cleanly out of the park for the longest and yummiest SIX you’ll see.
The barbeque sauce was perfect too and one couldn’t hope to point out a folly in this beauty!
A visual treat, watching the chocolate oozing out of the cake, but too sweet for my liking.
While my co-diners were marvelling at this creation from 212s’ kitchen, I couldn’t convince myself to think of it as anything more than decent.
Before this beauty turned up, I had announced the Peach cheesecake to be the winner of the dessert wars, but the crème brulee made the battle a very hard fought one indeed. Absolutely perfect!
Hands down, the winner of the 212 dessert wars. From the moment I laid eyes on this dessert I knew I had a special connect with it and she didn’t disappoint me one bit. Combined with the vanilla ice cream, one simply cannot ask for more.

While I was invited by the good peeps at 212 and Carpe Diem for a tasting, the menu pricing doesn’t seem exorbitant. Add to it, most dishes taste quite great and increase the VFM quotient of the place.
Yes, that being said, you’d run up a decent tab if you’re out dining here and it’s better to be prepared that way.

After my meal at 212, I had call my better half and end my relationship with her. I forevermore had lost my heart to another temptress and although she came with many more calories. The oinky affair we had embarked on, left my heart wanting for more.
So yeah! 212, I’m gonna be dialing that line again… Soon!

AMBIANCE – 4.5/ 5
SERVICE – 3.5 / 5
FOOD – 4.5 / 5
PRICE – 3.5 / 5


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