Mumbai Food: Why the new Tapas Bar in Bandra-Kurla Complex is the real deal
This new Spanish outlet is a tad pricey but not unreasonable, so a visit here will definitely be worth your time and money. Do remember to book in advance for weekends
The piano is speaking softly, like a person whispering sweet nothings into the ears of his beloved. But the strong strumming of the guitar reflects a man proclaiming passionately to the world that he's fallen in love for the first time. And the steady drone of convivial human chatter rises gently above this live music when we walk into Uno Más, a new tapas bar and kitchen in BKC, late on a Friday evening. We had already been told while making reservations over the phone that there were no empty tables available at the moment. So we are ushered to the central bar area, from where we peruse our surroundings sitting on a high chair.
The bar area
A glance around reveals a real attention to detail. The stony walls, mirrors with wood-carved edges and artwork on the menu blend together as harmoniously as the Spanish music that's playing, helping recreate the environment of a chic restaurant in the Mediterranean. The clientele, too, is suitably swish, exchanging kisses on the cheek on greeting each other under ornate chandeliers with mellow lights. And all the members of the staff — starting from the doorwoman to the man behind the bar to the manager keeping an eye on things — are on their toes catering to their guests, without being unnecessarily obsequious about it. Proof of this lies in the way they rearrange the seating to create a table for two for us once a group of patrons leave.
So we settle down there with our drinks, which had been prepared during our time at the bar. Nacional (Rs 550) and shrooms (Rs 525) are the ones we have opted for from a graphic list of cocktails. The former contains a mix of dark and gold rum, and has the soothing taste of a hot toddy, except that it's a cold drink. The latter, on the other hand, has the refreshing properties of a whisky sour, without any egg white in it. Both are lip-smacking, and potent enough to leave a civil buzz in the head.
But if the drinks were good, the food is even better. The menu is an out-and-out Spanish affair, sans the tokenism of some so-called international cuisine places. We opt for chicharonnes, or pork cracklings (Rs 195), to nibble on with the cocktails, and migas (Rs 350) for starters and paella de marisco (Rs 1,250) for the mains. The cracklings are cracking. They only have a subtle meaty flavour, which takes time to reveal itself, and the texture sits perfectly between that of a wafer and a prawn chip. We are actually huge fans of this particular item, having had it ever so often while spending a few years in the UK. And with our hand on our heart, we can say that the version here is the best we've had in this country.
The migas, meanwhile, is advertised on the menu as a "humble" dish with chorizo, red grapes, croutons and a poached egg. They arrive on a wooden pan with the egg taking centre stage. We fill our fork with all the different items together and the first bite reveals a wholesome, no-frills taste. It's humble all right, but then again, all you want from a dish sometimes is that the ingredients speak for themselves.
That leaves the paella, and this is the order which reveals Uno Más to be the real deal when it comes to an authentic taste of Spain. We had asked for the seafood one and are given the option of eating it straight from the pan, which is how it's traditionally done. The fragrance of the oceans wafts out from the steaming mix of rice, clams, squids and tiger prawns even before we start digging in. And having had a paella once in Barcelona, we can assert that this is the closest we have got to it ever since.
So, what we are saying is that Uno Más's entry into an already packed F&B landscape is bound to give the other swanky restaurants in the neighbourhood a run for their money. There is absolutely nothing half-baked about this eatery, including the buzz that had been created around it even before the late-October launch date. It's a tad pricey, yes, but not unreasonably so. So a visit there will definitely be worth both your time and money. But do remember to book well in advance if you're going on a weekend, because the chances of finding an empty table are practically non-existent.
TIME 6.30 pm to 1.30 am
AT Inspire Building, BKC.
Uno Mas didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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