Mumbai Food: Hop into nostalgia at this new Bandra restaurant
A game of hopscotch greets you at the entrance. Pics/Shraddha Uchil
Nostalgia seems to have become the buzzword du jour, with advertisers feeding it to potential customers as though it's comfort food, and television shows like Stranger Things telling audiences that old-school is cool.
Play a game of real-life Tetris at your table
It is no surprise, then, that the trend has trickled down to the F&B industry, too. The latest entrant to the big fat nostalgia party is Hopscotch, a new bar and brasserie in Bandra. The brainchild of first-time restaurateurs Roshan Sachdeva, wife Neha, and her brother Gaurav Khetwani, it has Suved Lohia, who has played consultant to several restaurants in the city over the years, as managing partner.
Dilliwali Black Daal Thepla Nachos
Hopscotch replaces Asado, which started out as a Latin American grill but was later revamped into a bar. While the separation between the al fresco and indoor sections remains, it retains none of the movie set-like interiors, giving way to a cleaner look. Inside, on a wall, we notice LEGO blocks, while another has Tic Tac Toe with wooden Xs and Os planted on it. We also spot a real-life , light-up version of Tetris, which most of us spent our childhoods playing on our Game Boys. The floor, meanwhile, bears a colourful mosaic tile version of the game that gives this eatery its name. We wonder if it's going to compel people to enter hopping on one foot.
But that's where the time travel ends, and adulthood takes over. Come nightfall and the lights are dimmed, and the space turns into a lounge, with Pop tracks wafting through the speakers. We're glad for it, because any more nostalgia elements, and it would have become a kitschy nightmare.
Being an all-day dining space, Hopscotch's menu is extensive. It spans a variety of cuisines and features plenty of fusion dishes (an f-word that usually fills us with trepidation). We begin with the Nostalgic Butter Chicken Nachos (Rs 375) and the Dilliwali Black Daal Thepla Nachos (Rs 400). The former stars creamy butter chicken resting on a bed of crispy 'nachos' made of wonton wrappers. The lone disadvantage to this is that the base turns soggy quickly, so these are best demolished as they arrive at the table. The latter is an ideal pick for vegetarians, replacing the traditional Mexican refried beans with a comforting black dal. We also enjoy the Hummus Tadka (Rs 375), a combination of lightly spiced tadka chicken and some cooling hummus.
The nachos act as perfect finger food to our cocktails. The Hobscotch Coffee (Rs 450) is strictly for those who love their caffeine, as it has espresso vodka, Kahlua as well as coffee, the potency of which is mellowed by sweet orgeat syrup. The second cocktail we try is Spiritual Smoke (Rs 450), a happy drink (with plenty of bubbling and dry ice theatrics) that bursts with bubblegum and orange flavours.
Hopscotch Special Stroganoff
The Hopscotch Special Pad Thai (Rs 500) leaves much to be desired, and makes us wonder if we'll ever find a decent pad thai outside the busy streets of Bangkok. The Hopscotch Special Stroganoff (Rs 450), however, grabs our attention with its rich paneer gravy and fragrant herbed rice.
Nostalgic Butter Chicken Nachos
Hopscotch will soon introduce Retro nights and Sunday brunches. In the meantime, to complete the walk down nostalgia lane, we hope they'll throw in board games, too.
Opens on: May 9 TIME 12 pm to 1 am
At: Manorama Chambers, SV Road, Bandra (W).