Taco de cameron (prawns)
Palm trees, a moonlit night, and geometric cabanas set the mood at recently-opened Zerua, which means sky in Basque. The first thing that hits you is the breeze, followed by its clean ambiance. A tropical placement of palms around intimate cabana sections across the spaced out floor gives room for privacy. The bar has a gabion (stacked stone) wall that comes alive in the backdrop light.
Vibe: We pick a table for two with sofa chairs at the far end to take in a clear view of the main junction. Traffic from afar, when you*re not stuck in it, is a mood by itself. The upbeat music expects a groovy crowd, but it is set at an acceptable decibel level for easy conversation.
Hibiscus rice bowl with chicken and zerua special sauce
Service: The service is mindful; we like the crisp interaction that the team has been trained for.
Food: If a customer is paying a good price for guacamole and chips (Rs 699), we don*t expect the chips to be a bag of Doritos. The cheese-dusted crisps underwhelmed the guac, which is in dire need of some tartness.
The taco de Cameron with prawns (Rs 799) are smartly executed soft-shell tacos where the spicy sauces come separately for ease of individual palate preferences. We slathered the tomato chutney and spicy green chilli chutney and took a crunchy bite of prawn koliwada, garnished with onion lettuce straw, avocado and green chutney mayo.
For mains, Zerua*s lee wok - a one-bowl Asian meal - was a filling option for two. We opt for the hibiscus rice with chicken (Rs 699) and a vegetable dose of broccoli, lotus stem, button mushroom and baby pakchoy. While the Zerua signature sauce is sweet and tangy that hits the right Asian craving spots, the floral washed rice can be devoured as is.
No 305. Pics/Shadab Khan
For drinks, No 305 has Sichuan pepper vodka, elderflower, lime leaves and vanilla, stands out for it covering all flavour bases to offer a well-balanced and potent drink. We sip on the orange and chamomile tea gin infusion (Rs 495) on the rocks. Though pleasant and sessionable, the quantity is too less. The Iranian pistachio creme brulee (Rs 499) had a thin layer of sugar crust, and was warm with torching on top but dead cold at the bottom.
Zerua Rooftop Dining Lounge
At: Atria Mall Rooftop, Level 5, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli.
Zerua makes a good impression with its ambiance and tasteful dÃ©cor, following itup with a heady selection of alcohol.
The space is a bit like Mykonos in Mumbai, as it welcomes customers into a casual vibe with the promise of a good time. We visited Praia twice - once on invitation and the second time, for this anonymous review. Shacked cabanas line its sides to give you a cosy touch. You won*t miss the view of the road as the dÃ©cor is designed to scoop you out of the buzzing city. Thanks to its groovy playlist, we find ourselves tapping our feet even while seated.
Chicken grill bottle masala
Vibe: The palm trees set the beachy tone with gravel on the floor. A fabric roofing set with light bulbs dances to the tunes of the weather forecast, giving it a
Service: The service is friendly and the waiting staff are well groomed and formal.
Food: The food is cuisine-agnostic and has some interesting variations. We recommend the Sobo mac and cheese bar (Rs 425). Think of your favourite mac and cheese, but turned into crunchy, fried barks. These are indulgent and a great sharing portion option. On the other hand, the two-way falafel (Rs 470) comes on a coined pita with beetroot and zaatar hummus.
Mac and cheese bars
It is impossible to bite into it without making a mess; the pita is tough, and this is a much-loved dish whose taste has been sacrificed at the altar of the gram. The kataifi halloumi and cranberry chutney (Rs 645) is more wholesome, and the cranberry chutney has been reduced with spices and berries. Our favourite is straight from the grill - a traditional bottle masala chicken grill (Rs 495) with citrus aioli. It is masaledaar, juicy and pairs well with our drinks. Our drink, clear as day (Rs 605) has cucumber and sesame, but we cannot get past its sharp bitterness. Mild mannered (Rs 715) has blue pea tequila, coconut liqueur and mint leaves, is palatable and refreshing.
Mild mannered cocktail
Dessert your toxic ex (Rs 645) is a decadent fudge cake, with white chocolate and chocolate mousse, drizzled with a bourbon caramel sauce. We skip the torched bourbon flambe for the caramel sauce in its sweet-salty avatar. We*ll return for the music, and mac and cheese bars but the drinks will have to level up in consistency.
Praia Bar and Kitchen
At: Atria Mall Rooftop, 5th Floor, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli.
Zerua and Praia didn*t know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals