Let's eat out tonight
The mercury has dropped a notch, which makes this the ideal season to take advantage of the city's gorgeous outdoor dining venues. Anjana Vaswani draws up a list of the best al fresco dining options Mumbai has to offer, some with brand new, even exotic menus to sweeten the pot
Vinoteca by Sula
It’s a small but snug space, ideal for those romantic dinners for two. Amorous diners could however face one dilemma here — cuisine may well overshadow conversation. For starters, try the Calamares a la Romana (Rs 200), batter fried fresh calamari that’s served with a garlic sauce, or the light and citrusy Ceviche (Rs 300). Sometime after December 15 the restaurant also plans to introduce a range of world cuisine-inspired tapas. So, this wedding season, drop by to witness the marriage between Spanish, Japanese and Korean cuisine. And if you’re spoilt for choice and confused by the huge selection of Sula and international wines available here, a pitcher of Sangria should elevate your spirits.
At: Ground Floor, Sunville Building, Dr Annie Besant Road, near Old Flames Bar, Worli
Call: 40046234, 8691033900
Located on the 8th floor of the building, this 11 month-old restaurant affords a view of the city, and even though, in this bustling area, that’s not the prettiest picture in the daytime, post-sunset the place is transformed. With piped in hip-hop and retro music, it’s a peaceful diner that hasn’t attracted the attention of the masses as yet, so you can still get a table on most nights and enjoy a slice of serenity with your meal. The restaurant welcomes children even at dinner time and starters such as the Cheese Kurkure should tease their tiny palates. We did think it odd though that the simple snack which would typically be served on the house should attract a charge of Rs 250 here. The manager makes two recommendations — the pot-roasted leg of lamb and “call ahead to reserve tables on weekends.”
Cuisine: Mediterranean and Indian
At: Morya Land Mark - II, Off New Link Road, opposite Infiniti Mall, Andheri (w)
Without a doubt one of the finest restaurants in Mumbai, Indigo also offers one of the prettiest al fresco dining options the city can boast of. You can count on the ambiance, the music and the service being absolutely impeccable here and still the food is always the best part of the experience, which of course is as it ought to be. The Lobster Bisque (Rs 515) is our eternal favourite, but the brand new menu offers other lip-smacking dishes you wouldn’t want to miss, such as the Cauliflower and Green Garlic Veloute (Rs 385), Baby Beets with Horseradish Pana Cotta (Rs 565) and Pulled Duck Tortellini (Rs 745). The Pressed Watermelon with Chilli Vodka and Whipped Feta (Rs 565) deserves special mention and for a short time only the restaurant will also offer an absolutely exclusive, White Truffles menu for which Chef Akerkar has sourced rare truffles from southern Piedmont, around the city of Alba in Italy. “These truffles appear only from mid-October to the end of December,” his team tells us. Gourmands had best reserve a table before they run out.
At: 4, Mandlik Road, Near Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba
You don’t have to get all dressed up or slip into those painfully high stilettos to enjoy the experience of dining outdoors. Bubbling with the vitality of the ’70s, this is one of the few places where you can sink your teeth into a great meal, sip on some expertly brewed coffee or a chilled beer (why not have both?...It is the holiday season after all!) and just enjoy the company and conversation in a fuss-free, casual pair of jeans. In fact, we’d recommend wearing something with more give if you’re a foodie because you’re really going to want to roll up your sleeves and dig into their generous portions. You can never go wrong with the Cheese Lamb Burger (Rs 200) or Swiss Cheese Burger (Rs 155) here, but if you’re in the mood for something more exotic, you should try the Singaporean Laksa (Rs 295) or the Arab Platter (Rs 295).
At: Classic Corner Building, Next To Holy Family Hospital, Hill Road, Bandra (W); call: 26433098
With a young crowd, upbeat music and alcoholic cocktails that are expensive but not overpriced, this is a fun place for young couples and small groups. Sadly, it’s only open for dinner (from 8pm onwards), and be warned, it’ll probably get really crowded and loud as the night progresses — and we’re not talking about modulations at the DJ station either. The view isn’t anything to write home about, but candles and mood lighting lend the space a romantic charm. We recommend one of their specialities, the Clay Oven Roasted Cheesy Chicken (Rs 375) and, when they’re available, the grilled tiger prawns are always impeccably prepared (Rs 1,550). Vegetarians would enjoy the pure veg, white lasagna (Rs 275).
Cuisine: Mediterranean and Oriental
At: 4th Floor, V N Sphere, Junction of Turner and Linking Road, Bandra (W)