Private seats in huge cage-like contraptions, animal busts hung on the walls and drinks served in hippo-shaped flasks — we let our imagination run wild when we heard of ZooBar. However, we had to rein ourselves in, as the month-old pet-friendly bar at Vile Parle isn't as funky as the name suggests. Greeted by a giant giraffe figurine — cute enough to make us take a selfie with it — we stepped in to find ourselves staring at industrial chic interiors (been there, done that), a book shelf, a penguin holding a no-smoking placard and a sign on the wall that said 'Be Positive' with a paw drawn against the lettering. Giving them a miss, we pushed the curvy-giraffe door handles and settled into a brightly-lital fresco section.
Veg Kheema and Aloo Kebab Burger served in a cage. Pics/Nimesh Dave
The ale dance
Though limited, the menu offers interesting options in appetisers (read: Oven Baked Brie Cheese and Soya Kheema Bruschetta with Smoked Cheese), hot dogs, burgers and pizzas. The bar menu, that also offers craft beers, is expansive too. We picked Blueberry and Raspberry Mojito (Rs 395) and The Dancing Jacques (Rs 595) as our poisons for the night. The not-too-sweet rum-based mojito was refreshing while The Dancing Jacques, that blended whiskey with ginger ale, was a perfect party starter.
Goan Spiced Marinated Fish Fingers, Kokum and Red Chilli Mayo
From appetisers, we chose Goan Spiced Marinated Fish Fingers, Kokum and Red Chilli Mayo (Rs 275). The tangy dip complemented the non-greasy and scrumptious fish fingers and it was polished off the stone platter within minutes. Next, we called for Veg Kheema and Aloo Kebab Burger (Rs 355) that arrived in a cage that formed a lid and was swiftly removed by the staff. Awed by the presentation, we tucked into the tasty burger, stuffed with a well-done veggie patty, salad and mayo. Along with melt-in-the-mouth potato wedges and rocket leaves salad, it made for a meal by itself.
We were keen to try Heart Attack Dog, that comprised a deep fried bacon-wrapped frankfurter, but were told it was unavailable. Instead, we plumbed for the Signature Pizza (Rs 525) that was packed with streaky bacon, chorizo sausages, mushroom and cheese. With hints of smoke-y flavours that combined well with blue cheese, the loaded thin-crust pizza, easily sufficient for three, was the highlight of our meal.
Guests at ZooBar
While ZooBar scores due to its lip-smacking options, the prices could burn a hole in your pocket, if you're planning a binge-drinking session. However, the bar may come to the rescue of those who don't wish to drive down to the oft-packed Khar and Bandra hangouts, or animal lovers looking for a day out with their furry friends.
Time: 12.30 pm to 1 am (pets allowed from 2 pm to 7 pm)
At: First floor, Liberty Lodge, DJ Road, above McDonalds, Vile Parle (W).
ZooBar didn't know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals