Why this Versova gastropub is worth a visit
One Monday night, as we whiz past Andheri's JP Road while on a drive, a signboard catches our attention — a wooden plaque, decorated with yellow bulbs, which reads 'House'.
The Chicken Salami, stuffed with cream cheese and black olives, is delicious
I poke my nose in and ask the watchman guarding the door a volley of questions about the eatery. In response, he excuses himself and Pritam Vaid, co-owner of Brun Café, which had branches in Juhu and Versova, and still has one in Kandivli East, steps out. "You are welcome to drop in anytime," he tells me with the kind of excitement that's typical of restaurateurs before their big night.
The next day, we take his offer seriously and walk into the 'Gastropub'. There's an open porch, with tables lined up on the sides, a ground level bar and lounge. The indoor seating upstairs is decorated like a living room with wooden seating and colourful cushions, perfect for sit-down dinners and conversations. We step outside and take a minute to admire the graffiti artwork on the wall, done by the students of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
The Chicken Balls on skewers melt in the mouth
Chef Jacob D'Cruz, meanwhile, is busy rustling up dishes for us in the kitchen. The bartender serves us some interesting cocktails — Orange and Whiskey, Beeard(R375 each) and a Coriander Lemon Vodka. Whiskey drinkers usually never tamper with their drink, but this one is a welcome change.
It's citrus-y and bitter. The Vodka brings with it the fresh taste of greens and is different from the classic Mojito, which is laden with mint leaves. All those who cringe at the bitter taste of beer should give the The Beeard (which comprises Heineken beer and passion fruit liqueur) one try. The sweetness of the passion fruit liqueur balances the beer in its cocktail avatar. We don't stop at one.
The interiors of House at Andheri West. Pics Courtesy/Amit Ashar
We order the Chicken Salami Rolls (R260), which ooze with cream cheese, olives and tiny pieces of bell pepper. A welcome relief from the over-fried finger foods, the chicken slices are light and juicy. We are also served the Chicken Balls on skewers (R290) which are marinated meatballs served with a spicy green chutney. The bite-sized dynamites bring with them that unmistakable taste of butter and pepper. The Pan-fried Pepper Paneer (R260) is a contemporary version of the Paneer Tikka — smaller in size, yet bursting with the flavour of red chillies.
But the dish that bowls even the staunch non-vegetarian among us over is the Infused Chilli Garlic Mushrooms (R220), where creamy mushrooms are ensconced in a pasta covering and dipped in white sauce. At The House, the menu offers a detailed appetisers menu but for the main course, you'll have to bank on their surprise Chef's Special of the day.
For us, the chef prepares a Chicken Steak (R310) with a spicy pepper-mushroom sauce. Mashed potatoes and boiled brocolli are served on the side. Warning: The portions are huge and meant to be shared. The thick fillet is charcoal-grilled and drenched in the slow-cooked sauce. We love it for its simple ingredients and skillful preparation.
The next main dish is Pasta in Alfredo Sauce (R240). While the dish is at its creamy best and vegetables such as babycorn, mushrooms and zucchini are crunchy, the dish lacked a punch and we wish it had more salt.
For dessert, we order the Opera (R125). Every layer of the dessert takes us to seventh heaven and back, while the Red Velvet (R125), topped with mascarpone cheese, is well-made and gooey. The House, we predict, will be the go-to place for an eventful weekend, or just to make the weekdays more bearable.
We cannot rate the experience as it was a preview
Where: House, JP Road, Opposite Dariya Mahal, Versova, Andheri West