Restaurant Review: New Bandra eatery blends gastronomy with chemistry

A night out gets a whole new meaning at Bandra's newest hotspot where a bar doubles up as a science lab and drinks are infused amidst much drama

 Food: Innovative
 Service: Efficient
Ambiance: Cosy

The well-stocked, high-tech bar
The well-stocked, high-tech bar

As candle-lit interiors cast a warm glow on the blue walls of the newly-opened MasalaBar, we settled into the high chairs by magnifying glass-fitted windows overlooking the Carter Road promenade, long past the sunset. A peek into the bar menu (with illustrations explaining the cocktail compositions a la Chemistry journal) and we knew that Zorawar Kalra meant business when he touted his latest outing as a 'high octane lab'. Here, absinthe foams act as palate cleansers, chamomile herb reductions are inhaled alongside the drink and cocktails appear in tray gardens. The effect: A regular night out transformed into an enjoyable sensory experience. The laboratory here, of course, was the bar with high-tech (and eco-friendly, we were told) apparatus that could gurgle any ingredient into flavoured water. We soaked in the cool part-romantic, part-sci-fi setting with progressive tracks (a bit too loud) blaring in the background.

Litti Chokha Profiteroles
Litti Chokha Profiteroles

Say aye to sattu
We began with Mumbai Matinee (Rs 700), a gin, grapefruit and orange skin oil concoction fused with sattu fizz that arrived in a jar with a spout. On the side: a sweetened chickpea skewer. With milky consistency, the potent cocktail was a hit, and the grounded pulse fizz coursed down our throats smoothly.

Chunky Mutton Boti, Galouti Burger. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Chunky Mutton Boti, Galouti Burger. Pics/Nimesh Dave

From the eats, featuring small plates, sliders and desserts (read: carbon pao, carbon bhaji, black buns deriving colour from squid ink and risotto phirni), we picked Litti Chokha Profiteroles (Rs 285). A quirky take on the Bihari snack, the bite-sized profiteroles, stuffed with aloo-aubergine-sour cream mash and topped with a spicy chutney, were polished off in minutes.

Craving another bar bite, we ordered Tawa Tik-A-Tin (Rs 175) fries. The crispy, homemade fries, layered with soya bhurji, tasted yum. We munched on them in between sips of Filter Kaafi Uska (Rs 700), served in a tray garden. The cinnamon vapour-soaked glass helped infuse the spice in the bittersweet coffee-vodka concoction.

Mumbai Matinee

Slider stories
Egged on by a competitively priced food menu, we focused on our next target: Chunky Mutton Boti, Galouti Burger (Rs 385). A bite into the sponge-soft buns (two sliders per plate) and we were greeted with a burst of flavours oozing from the succulent meat patty. The crispy wafers pierced through a stick (we're still wondering how they pulled it off) on the side added to the crunch.

Other must-tries include the 12 Hour Cooked Goan Pork Ribs, braised with vinegar-flavoured masala, the risotto phirni with aamras, the lip-smacking vodka-thyme Malabar Point cocktail and of course, Sunset At Carter's, a whisky-rosemary drink layered with rich almond foam that managed to soak in a whiff of the beautiful promenade, even post midnight.

Time: 5 pm to 1 am
At: Level 1, Gagangiri Apartments, Carter Road, Bandra (W).
Call: 67701793
MasalaBar didn't know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.

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