Too early to bark

Mar 18, 2013, 01:15 IST | Hassan M Kamal

The food is good and the ambiance great, but the inexpensive beer that The Barking Deer in Lower Parel aims to provide seems too much of a far-fetched dream

As a beer drinker, I want to believe that things are going to change for the best. That one day I would be able to enjoy my beer in the comfort of a soothing bar without worrying about a hefty bill. The Barking Deer, a newly opened microbrewery-cum-restaurant in Lower Parel, aims to make all that possible. And they aren’t just talking about Indian lager beer, but ales, stouts and porters, all to be made at their in-house microbrewery and sold at inexpensive prices.

Beef Tostadas. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi.

Unfortunately, the brewery is not functioning as yet. Licenses, you know, take time. Located opposite Blue Frog, The Barking Deer has got plenty of regular seating for all, small as well as large groups. For those not in the mood for a seated conversation, options include bar stools and open platforms. The air, still filled with the smell of freshly painted furniture was a little overpowering. Being just two, we chose a table that was next to the window and hoped for some romance to brew, while we enjoyed our favourite drinks and snacks. A bit of lighting on the outside could have helped but it will possibly be a magical space during the monsoon.

Irish Stout. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi.

Disappointed with the non-functioning brewery, I decided to go for an Irish Stout (Rs 683 after taxes, Rs 525 on menu) while my non-alcoholic friend chose a Lemongrass Cooler (Rs 175). For snacks, we decided to go with Beef Tostadas (Rs 375) and a little helping of Chicken Caesar Salad (Rs 325) with bread on the side. The Tostadas, came in no time, and despite being cold they were a perfect start for the evening. With the drinks arriving, we were on a roll.

The stout, maybe because of the herbs, was too bitter for our liking and will definitely be for draught beer drinkers. With still no sign of the Caesar Salad, we ordered Buffalo Wings. Both dishes lived up to our expectations. Still, the blue cheese dip served with the wings was too bland. Reaching the main course, we decided to go vegetarian, and zeroed in on the Three Cheese and Madras Chilli Risotto, which was again, okay. But what really blew our mind was the Cappuccino Creme Brulee, a perfectly hardened layer of caramel on top complemented with cappuccino-flavoured custard, the best finish we could have expected.

But here’s the thing, for Barking Deer to be successful, the liquor has to be priced competitively. But with a 20% VAT and 10% service tax, could it be inexpensive enough for the music lovers who throng the place? It’s hard to tell until the brewery gets to work, which is expected to take another three months. So, till then happy expensive drinking.

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