Mumbai Food: Worli watering hole raises the bar, but not with food
A new watering hole in Worli gets its bar menu right but the food goes off target with too many innovations and techniques
What used to be The Spare Kitchen in Worli, is now South Bombay Bar. As we walk in, we realise that in addition to the owners and the chef, certain elements of the interiors, too, still remain the same.
We drop by within a week of its opening and are happy to note that the tables around us are all occupied, as sitting in a large empty bar is not our idea of a fun Saturday night. A DJ spins the latest commercial tracks and we tap our feet to Kendrick Lamar while browsing through the intriguing bar menu, designed by Binny Dhadwal. We zero in on tipsy Chowpatty (Rs 395) and Jaegar Island (Rs 425), and choose smoked goat cheese samosa (Rs 325) for grub. The attendants seem confused on multiple occasions while taking our order. Eventually, it takes three of them to convey our choice to the bartender. We shrug this off as teething issues.
Jaegar island. Pics/Dhara Vora Sabhnani
As we wait for our drinks, we notice that all the chairs at our table are stained which perplexes us; it's barely been a week since it opened. When our drinks finally arrive, they are worth the wait. Tipsy Chowpatty, with the freshness of pineapple and a surprising kick of curry leaves, hits a six in the very first sip. Jaegar Island is equally luscious with egg white, and a balance of light sour notes with herbs.
Goat cheese samosa
The service improves as we move to the food. The filo samosas pose a surprise as we were unconsciously expecting desi ones. They are too oily for our liking; had they been less greasy and the goat cheese more smoky, they would work as a good vegetarian bar bite.
We move on to the mains and order the Godfather II pizza (Rs 595), tandoori jhinga khichdi (Rs 525) and murgh kali mirch (Rs 495) with 3-cheese kulcha (Rs 125). The food is served in quick succession. We opt for the pizza first. It has a delicious crust and the spiced lamb mince is yum. The khichdi kills the buzz, though. What could have been a toothsome desi style paella, leaves the different flavours in limbo. Though the large prawns are grilled well and the khichdi is fine on its own, the dish does not come together. The murgh kali mirch is another confusing preparation, as the menu promises a rich cashew gravy, but what we are served is too runny. The peppery flavour is spot-on (though just in the gravy; it doesn't seep through in the chicken pieces). If this was inspired to be a gravy in its true sense, it would pair well with the kulcha.
Would we return to South Bombay Bar? A double nod, but only for its drinks and the spacious interiors. Their kitchen needs a serious rethink if it is keen to draw in patrons especially since it's located in a not-so-happening mall.
TIME: 12 pm to 1.30 am
AT: Atria Mall, Worli.
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