This new Andheri lounge bar is 'High' on flavours
To enter Ark, the newly-opened lounge bar at Courtyard By Marriott, you have to open two doors. Although we’re not huge fans of symbolism, we suspect that the double doors stand for Ark’s two avatars – one as a let’s-have-a-conversation-over-drinks lounge when it opens in the evening, and the other, a post 11, let-your-hair-down-and-party nightclub. When we visit Ark on a Monday night, we swing past both doors to get a glimpse of both these avatars.
Pearl Martini at Ark
The dim lighting and the plush interiors, done up in shades of brown and rust, immediately put us at ease, as we settle down on a comfortable sofa in the corner. A football game is being telecast on the huge TV screen in the middle of the bar and the DJ’s playing some nice, lounge music. But my friend and I just want to have a conversation and thankfully, the music is at just the right volume so that we don’t have to resort to lip-reading.
Nasiley Jhinge are brandy spiked jumbo prawns, fresh out of the tandoor
The waiter hands us the bar menu and suggests that we begin the meal with molecular cocktails. My friend opts for the Smoke Desire (Rs 600), while my choice is the Pearl Martini (Rs 600). A molecular cocktail always guarantees some visual drama and this one’s no different.
Courtyard By Marriott in Andheri East
The Smoke Desire — scotch infused with cinnamon — arrives, and the waiter lifts the lid of the tall glass to let the smoke flow. We take a whiff of the cigar-smoke and a sip of the drink and the intensity of the scotch takes us by surprise — a pleasant one, at that. On the other hand, the Pearl Martini with the vodka and watermelon juice is a bit of a letdown, as the watermelon juice overpowers the taste of the alcohol.
To complement the drinks, we order the Nasiley Jhinge (Rs 1,025), brandy spiked jumbo prawns, fresh out of the tandoor. Served with mint chutney and sliced onions, the prawns are soft and succulent and go well with the alcohol. By now, we discard our shoes, tuck our feet in and catch up on old times as we enjoy the drinks.
For round two of drinks, we order The Twisted Flavors (Rs 600). The theatrics continue and we watch mesmerised as the waiter dry smokes our rum, lychee liquer, pomegranate juice and sour mix, with basil and orange peel. The pretty pink drink, with slices of lime on the side, has subtle hints of lychee, tastes sweet and sour in parts and we quickly decide that this is our favourite.
The Philadephia Stuffed Mushrooms (Rs 595) that we order on the side, are light and creamy, with the balsamic reduction on top giving it that slight sweet and savoury flavour. As for the Honey Chilli Chicken (R595), our other starter, it strikes the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. For this sole reason, we’re willing to forgive its slightly chewy texture.
It’s nearly 11 pm and the volume of the music has been cranked up a few notches. The drinks leave us feeling a little light-headed and we decide to leave the bar on a high note. As the music pulsates in the background, we swing open the double doors to head out and promise ourselves that next time, we’ll visit past the Cindrella hour.
We cannot rate the experience as it was a preview
At: Courtyard by Marriott, Opposite Sangam Big Cinemas, Andheri Kurla Road, Andheri East