A new watering hole in Bandra fails to live up to its F&B promises but works if you want to take a trip down Bollywood's musical memory lane
SERVICE: NON EXISTENT
Eight years ago, New Delhi was introduced to a snazzier version of the hole-in-the-wall bar filled with sleazy or slurring uncles. Its near-MRP prices, decent nibbles and prime peripheral location was compelling enough to ensure a 20-minute waiting irrespective of what time you went. Today, they are a chain with more than six outlets and still stick to their "sasta-tikau" approach.
It was perhaps this simple recipe for success that lured a recently-opened watering hole in Mumbai to follow the same concept. And having been regulars to the above mentioned bar, we were compelled to pay the Bandra West outlet a visit.
Basil Chicken Tikka
We head out on a Thursday night, after work, and when we arrive by 9 pm, we are informed that we just missed the timeline for the special discounted alcohol menu. Strike one. Next, we fight to find a seat for just the two of us (both women) for the space is brimming with clusters of uncles partying after work, who give in to the booze eventually and proceed to do a combination of Mithun and Govinda moves on stage. And a bad job at that.
When we eventually find space next to a birthday party of 10, we quickly peruse the menu (after the server needs to be reminded twice over a span of 20 minutes), and order the big bull with tequila, passion fruit, apple juice and lime juice (Rs 450) and caramel apple sangria with white wine, caramel syrup and apple juice (Rs 300), and the quattro fromage pizza with cheddar, orange cheddar, mozarella and parmesan cheese (Rs 349) and basil chicken tikka with sundried tomato and mozarella stuffing (Rs 309). We sit there, taking in the Charlie Puth tracks the in-house DJ is playing and the neon-flipped sign of the outlet on the ceiling, as the lights dim, and so does the music. Now, we've witnessed Mumbai pubs turning from seemingly packed to severely packed within the 10 minutes that the outlet after which the outlet switches to Bollywood tracks. This outlet is no different. Except they aren't playing Arijit Singh but hits from the 90s – yes, we are also talking about the likes of Tunak Tunak Tun and O O Jaane Jaana. Which, of course, means that the multiple groups of uncles are on their feet and dancing like baaraatis.
Thankfully, we have our drinks and food to finally distract us. Till we take the first sip. We need something stronger, and something different because it doesn't taste like we imagined. The tequila cocktail is watered down and more like a mocktail of juices. The sangria manages to oscillate between extremely sweet thanks to the caramel overdose and extremely bitter due to stale wine (not something we thought we would say). The pizza is not even enough for one, and tastes more like two slabs of cheese thrown atop a tasteless tomato sauce. It's definitely not four-cheese. The basil chicken in succulent, the cheese plays a game of hide-in-seek even when it comes to flavours, and the sundried tomatoes are missing.
Next, we order the poha crusted fish fingers (Rs 379), corn fritters with wasabi mayo (Rs 259) and prawns koliwada (Rs 509). And that's when our hour-long wait begins for the food, as we watch every single table dancing to Falguni Pathak and even Baba Sehgal. Tired of waiting and running after servers, we finally walk up to the bar to request or the food and he water we asked for half an hour ago. We extend our hand for the glass and the bartender stars shaking it, until we remind them about the water I had asked for a minute ago. Thrown a little off guard, we walk back and go to smoke room, where we stay till the food arrives. We ask the manager to get it packed as we are more than ready to leave, but he says they are out boxes and can only pack it in a foil. So, we settle back, only to find that the food was not worth the wait. The corn fritters are tasteless at best – there wasn't even a hint of wasabi, and the poha-crusted fish is not crisp and falls apart. The prawns koliwada is the most disappointing of them all, though. It's somehow bitter instead of holding any other flavours. We enjoyed the '90s throwback, but scramble to pay the bill and leave to grab some real food at a fast food eatery nearby.
Caramel Apple sangria
Interiors of The Big Flip
Interiors of The Big Flip
At The Big Flip, second floor, Kenilworth Building, Off Linking Road, Bandra West
Time 5 pm to 1.30 am
4/4 EXCEPTIONAL, 3/4 EXCELLENT, 2/4 VERY GOOD, 1/4 GOOD, 0.5/4 AVERAGE
The Big Flip didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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