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"Without the freedom to criticize, there is no worthy praise." Beaumarchais
Coral Gables

By Simone Zarmati Diament

Mint Leaf Brasserie is the living proof of the theory of re-incarnation. The 46-seat import from London has brought to life what was once Giramondo, then a creperie, then Brana’s, among other lives the space has seen.

Owners Rajat Sood and his father, both from Delhi in India, are experienced restaurateurs with six successful Indian restaurants in London, four of which they operate themselves ( since 1981. All of which showed on a first visit in both the menu and the simple but pleasant décor with glass blown lamps, Indian motifs and two plasma screen running Bollywood shows.

Four Indian chefs imported from their London restaurants prepare authentic Northern and Southern Indian cuisine in a brand new kitchen equipped with two Tandoor ovens where bread, fish, meat and vegetables are all cooked.

Most ingredients are made in house, like yoghurts and flours, or are imported from India or England while the fresh produce, seafood, fish and meats are purchased locally. There is a special selection of Dosas - a crepe made from a batter of ground soaked lentils and rice, fermented overnight and stuffed with vegetables or meats and accompanied with Sambar (lentil dipping sauce) and fresh coconut chutney, and fresh clay oven baked breads, including a scrumptious naan and an onion kulcha.

The menu lists a vast selection of appetizers (all under $10); fragrant entrees of chicken, lamb, fish ($9 to $18), Biryanis or dishes with rice, and vegetarian dishes such as daal with yoghurt raita, among others, all served family style.

However, on a second visit disappointment set with less than attentive service and minimal portions.

What had, on our first visit, been the deliciously moist Tandoori grilled jumbo shrimp had become dry. The Naan, or flat bread was still good but came in half portions and some of it cold. All the other dishes and curries we ordered were skimpier than on our first visit and swimming in sauces that had lost whatever complexity and depth they had while increasing in fire.

We’ll keep you updated on the third visit.

Mint Leaf Indian Brasserie offers corporate lunch boxes and take out and is open seven days for lunch from 12 to 2:45 p.m., and dinner from 6 to 10:45 p.m.276 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, 305-443-3739

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