Mumbai Food: Why this Byculla workspace-cum-resto-lounge fails to impress
As a workspace-cum-resto-lounge opens in Byculla, our reviewer created a timeline to gauge if the space was able to help her met a looming deadline
The ground floor has a sports bar-like vibe, while the top floor features framed pictures of lions. Pics/Bipin Kokate
6.45 pm: You cannot miss Lion Heart for its conspicuous bronze, block facade and golden lion emblem. Step into a sports bar-like set-up on the ground floor, with wooden seating, a big screen, and a bar at the far end. The high table top running the length of the wall alternates between flashy green and red. We are guided to the top-floor seating by dingy, blue lights. The wall along the stairs has graffiti portraits of Anand Mahindra, Azim Premji and Gautam Adani. Hmm.
6.50 pm: We pick a seat that gives us a bird's eye view of the space. One wall is decorated with photo frames of lions in many moods - roaring, yawning, glaring, staring, ravenous - all poorly Photoshopped. Another has quotes and portraits of Mark Zuckerberg, Ratan Tata, Narayana Murthy and Sunil Mittal. Did they mean to make a comparison between the king of the jungle and these bigwigs? No women achievers, we notice.
7 pm: We order a Chocotini (Rs 180) and ask the server about the space being work-friendly by day. “Barah baje chalu hota hai,” is all the information he has. Later, we learn, the space plays soft music from 12 pm to 6 pm. We notice plug points under some tables and start using the free Wi-Fi. Unlike other such office-by-day, restaurant-by-night set-ups in the city, the space does not have no-music zones, community tables or even a conference room for meetings. It attempts to pass off as a 'workspace' by playing music on low volume by day, and offering free Internet. What would happen on a match screening day, we wonder.
The chairs have soft, cushioned backs, and are at a comfortable height to work on your laptop. The only customers, we are able to meet a looming deadline in the quiet atmosphere, sipping on a peanut butter and chocolate mocktail, which has too much sugar.
7.15 pm: The volume of the music goes up a notch, transitioning into a teenager's party pad. Deadline met, we order a Fettunta (Rs 220). A toast with garlic butter, herbs and a spicy cheese sauce, it has chunks of garlic that overpower the palate.
8 pm: Our date for the night arrives and we order two disastrous drinks - Tsunami (Rs 400) and Whiskey Sunrise (Rs 400). The first one has an unpalatable combination of gin, dark rum, beer and coke, while the latter has a concentrated artificial syrup, and an astringent sourness. The server politely asks us about our untouched drinks and if he could get us a replacement, which we turn down.
To soothe our taste buds, we order Prawn Golgappas that come stuffed with Koliwada-style prawns, with sev on top. We wash these down with a creamy, tangy solkadi - a well-executed, masaledar version. The Curry Hummus is treated with kadi patta. Fans of the seasoning leaf, we relish the creamy textured mash with rice puffs. For dessert, we get the Tre Leches (Rs 245), a three-milk cake, which makes for a terrible end to our meal owing to an awful candied olives garnish.
8.40 pm: We pay the bill, and step into the loo before the long trek home. Unfortunately, we are forced to walk out of the space with a full bladder and the unforgiving sight of a filthy toilet seat.
AT: Lion Heart, Irani Chawl 5 & 6, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Road, Chinchpokli.
TIME: 12 pm to 1.30 am; co-working space: 12 pm to 6 pm.