Gaylord is one of longest established Mumbai restaurants, having opened in 1956. The room is split over two levels, and the decor is very plush (though tall people should watch their heads if they venture upstairs or try to squeeze into the bathroom). It is clearly very popular with local residents. A new chef, Sultan Mohldeen, from the ITC Sheraton in Delhi (home to the well known Bhukara) had just started when I visited, with a brief to modernise Gaylord's menu.
Mutton soup was an unpromising start, with a thin stock, a few strands of mutton and not much in the way of spices (barely 11/20). Gosht galouti kebab was a kebab of minced mutton that was soft in texture and with pleasant flavour (12/20), served with a pleasant fried cottage cheese slice called paneer khushroo (12/20). Taar gosht was another mutton dish, this one with onion paste, and for me lacked both much in the way of spicing or interest (10/20).
A classic dish here was butter chicken, and this was nicely made, with a rich sauce, though the chicken itself was not of particularly great quality (perhaps 13/20). Achari palak pakori was a little soggy in texture for my liking, though the spinach tasted quite good (11/20). Tomato kut was served on the side, a sort of tomato gravy with mustard seeds and curry leaves, and was decent enough (11/20). Dum gosht biriani had rice with quite good texture, but I found the pieces of lamb to not be of moderate quality (11/20). Breads were pleasant but no more than that (12/20).
Service was friendly, but although the food was generally decent it was hard to get very excited about the food at Gaylord. In general it is difficult to get high quality meat in India (a common complaint of the chefs that I have spoken to), and this issue was apparent in the meat dishes here. What is harder to explain was the rather ordinary vegetable dishes, and in particular the lack of interesting spicing, which after all is the key to good Indian food. Here the spicing was muted and indistinct throughout. Although this is a restaurant that has clearly run successfully for decades, the cooking seems to be stuck in the past. The new chef has a lot of work to do.