Mumbai: Lower Parel's art-deco bar is just what a Mumbaikar needs
An aesthetic Art-Deco bar that prides itself on its beer has replaced Mumbai's first micro-brewery
Friends might remain the same. But places change. That's the feeling we get when we suddenly hear, "Oye," upon leaving Thirsty City 127 in Todi Mills. The greeting comes from an old pal standing outside Toit. That's where Blue Frog used to be. The bar we have exited ourselves was earlier The Barking Deer.
It's diagonally across from Toit, and the entire lane where we give the friend a hug has gone through a complete transformation in the past two years, to the extent where Busago has shut down. Nothing remains the same except for Zaffran, an eatery holding its own in one corner of a transformed mill compound that reflects the changing dynamics of the city's F&B scene. The lane has changed almost beyond recognition. But the warmth of two old friends accidentally bumping into each other still persists.
Let's celebrate the new, however, instead of lamenting what no longer exists. For, Thirsty City 127 is a classy bar where a snooty date, too, would give you a nod of appreciation. The menu and interiors are designed in such a way that even if you aren't from Mumbai, you'd feel a nostalgic affiliation for the city. There is a carefully crafted Art Deco theme, manifested in the railings of the windows and the red cushions of the bar stools. And the patrons consist of those members of the working crowd in the posh area who - unlike our friend in Toit - would rather make merry sitting at a table than standing in a group in the smoking section.
A page from the cocktail menu
We take a table for two in the room that lies on the left once you enter this ode to the city's architectural diversity. The service, from the beginning, is attentive to the point where you have to look up only for a few seconds for someone to attend to your needs. Our own needs are beer, which this brand prides itself on. So, we ask for the house-brewed happy by thirsty (Rs 300) and thirsty sexy pig (Rs 330), two fruity lagers similar in taste. Both are good enough to keep the finickiest of palates happy. But a word here for the way in which the cocktails section of the menu is designed, regardless of the fact that we don't end up ordering anything from it. Each drink is visually explained in such a manner that imagining what it tastes like is as easy as apple pie.
A bartender pours happy by thirsty
As for the food, we ask for the homemade pappardelle (Rs 550) and cheekily-titled b**f tournedos (Rs 600). Now, even though we loathe comparisons, it must be said that Café Zoe in the same mill compound has one of the creamiest, and tastiest, pappardelles we have had in the city. The one here, though, is totally different in nature, where plain pasta is topped with tangy chorizo. It works wonderfully together, but isn't a shade on the tournados when it arrives, which comprise tiny steaks of unmentionable meat with the sort of juicy chewiness that isn't melt-in-your-mouth tender.
So, forget about the fact that the city's first ever microbrewery - The Barking Deer - has shut shop permanently. Raise a toast to Thirsty City 127 that has come up in its place. Things fall apart. But sometimes, the centre can still hold, meaning if you want a raucous night-out in the same mould as Blue Frog (minus the regular music), you can head to Toit. And if you'd rather have a quieter dinner, there's no better option in this lane than the one we exit before bumping into that friend who surprises us with his familiar, "oye".
TIME: 6 pm to 1 am
AT: Mathuradas Mill Compound, Lower Parel.
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