It’s easy to do what the rest of the world is doing and blend in the crowd, but to start something with a different vision and make people sit up and take notice, needs a bold and farsighted attitude. That’s what the owners of Open House Café and Bar laid out, we feel, when they decided to move from the typical family-friendly restaurants in Shivaji Park, and opened a bar instead, where youngsters would like to settle down with a drink.
When we reached Open House Café and Bar on a Saturday evening, we realised that it stood in the same spot where Dadar 28 -- a ‘family’ eating out space originally was. When we walked in, we were surprised to spot several occupied tables as early as 6.30 pm. For a space that’s not even a month old, it was an impressive feat.
Finally, we found ourselves a cosy corner on the wood-panelled mezzanine floor. On scanning the menu, we noticed that the drinks section didn’t offer much. So, we settled down with a Cosmopolitan (Rs 300) with Hummus Tossed Chicken (Rs 225) and Khari Mushroom (Rs 180) as accompaniments. The service was quick, and soon, we were on our first round. The spirit content was low in our Cosmo but the food didn’t disappoint. The small nuggets of chicken were served with hummus and pita bread and made for a unique, delish combination. The mushroom dish was a curious invention: sceptical initially, at what to expect from a mushroom stuffing inside a khari biscuit, we were blown away with the starter.
Satisfied with our strike rate so far, we zeroed in on Asian Rice with Chicken (Rs 275) and Penne in Smoked Chilli (Rs 300) for the mains. Open’s service was on the clock, again. A word of advice though -- if you are a meager eater, share dishes since their portions are large. The Asian rice was enclosed in an omelette, and we waited to unwrap the secret. However, one bite into the dish and we were scurrying for water. While the dish comprising dry rice and chunks of chicken was tasty, it’s ideal for spice-heads. The pasta and smoked chilli dish had tomato, crispy capers and roasted garlic, but was hot too. More water. By the time we left, the place was abuzz -- a sign of changing food-scape around Shivaji Park, perhaps?