Mumbai Food: Andheri's new joint promises first of many, a new food, all day live act
It's a trippy entrance, we can't figure out where the front door is. A facade of black-and-white marble and see-through glass depicts stop, play and pause signs. From outside, we spot a performance stage with wrought-iron art that reads 'Exist or Live'. We push play, and the glass doors slide open. We walk in and notice the bar. It's a boom box, with round speakers cut out to highlight the bartenders at work. The architect, Priyank Mehta has added a touch of equalizer lights that makes the stereo come alive. Lined by diner sofa seating on both sides, the centre features a high-seating community table, followed by lower tables to ensure all eyes are on the performance. There's no artist crooning as our visit is a preview, but owner Vishal Gurnani tells us that the focus will be on an all-day live concept. Their artiste line-up will include the likes of Ali Merchant and international artistes, including Olly Esse and Julia Bliss.
Dilliwale kabab. Pics/Falguni Agrawal
Mixologist Nupur Joshi pours us her version of the Singapore sling. The sling fling (Rs 445) is a blend of gin and berries, which hits the nail on the head with a strong spirit content and a balanced sweet-and-sour taste. Our first starter is corn pops (Rs 249). The side dip of green chillies and mayo sets our palate on fire, one that we have to fight hard to douse. We pass this one for the tomato tango soup (Rs 199), which has a steamed veggie dimsum and a basil espuma. The dumpling tears easily and exposes al dente veggies that add a crunchy texture to the broth. The Dilliwale kababs (Rs 249) are a fun take on the Lucknowi dahi ke kebab.
Smoked long island
Here, they consist of deep-fried bread pakora cushioning a warm yogurt ooze inside. But the dish we fall for - and we haven't even started to get tipsy - is channa mereya (Rs 199), a take on the Afghani mantu. Instead of beef or chicken, this one is stuffed with lentils and has chickpeas in a tomato puree.
The tandoori dishes on the menu are all well executed. We like the fish koliwada that comes with a tartar sauce and a crispy bocconcini salad. By now, we have been planted with a devil's kiss (Rs 445) of orange juice, cherry syrup and a hint of basil. We forget to stir the drink, and take a deep swig only to find that the tequila packs a punch. Joshi smiles at our rookie mistake, and we give it a good stir. The cocktail changes colour and flavour, and it is likely to be the drink we will repeat on a night out. But, if you have signed up for just one drink there, we'd say go for the smoked long island (Rs 745), and cancel all appointments for the next day. The concoction is smoked with khada masala, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and then shaken. You have tea, gin, vodka, rum and triple sec to lean on.
We savour a section of the mains with ghostbusters (Rs 349), their version of lamb chop lollipops. They are succulent and blend well with the yellow curry sauce, but the cloak of tempura could do with some masala. We end the meal with another drink. Our final tipping point is a spring-tini (Rs 445), a vodkatini-style drink with ginger, elderflower and peach syrup.
OPENS: Next week
AT: Tipsy Gypsy, Fun Republic, Level 1, Link Road, Andheri West.
TIME: 4 pm onward till December. Starting January, 11 am to 1 pm