What's your vice?
A Juhu resto-bar is whipping up heady cocktails using aquafaba instead of egg white, marrying well with its extensive bar food menu
Juhu is going through a phase of transition with new restaurants coming up and old ones bowing out due to various reasons. Having grown up in the vicinity, it is good to have options closer home when eatery hubs Bandra and Lower Parel seem too far away.
In the past two years, Kitchen Garden has created a niche for healthy eats, while Kings Hotel saw the comeback of Alfredo's, along with new entrant The Butler and Bayleaf. There's Homemade Café at the other end of the road too. The clusters at Horizon have exited due to electricity issues, and the latest entrant is Vice - Global Tapas Bar, which replaces The Spare Kitchen, also run by chef Rakesh Talwar. The thought of his naan pizza makes the mouth water. For this venture, he heads the kitchen as chef-partner with restaurateurs Karan Shah, Kaushal Shah and Gaurav Chowksey.
Pulled tenderloin with sheermal
We walk in on the first Sunday of the new year and it is a quiet affair. The main door comprises hollow squares made of plywood put together to create a wave, which continues in the form of cement pieces on some of the walls inside. A wave-shaped wood installation runs across the ceiling, reminiscent of the Mind Flayer from the series Stranger Things. The island bar is snazzy.
Bacon and cheese naan
We opt to sit outside, given Mumbai's pleasant winter. We raise a toast to 2020 with two well-crafted drinks that take a while to come, but are worth the wait. Nox the monk (Rs 425) is a velvety-textured nutty drink with peanut butter, rum, pepache (made with fermented pineapple), lemon cordial and aquafaba (chickpea brine). Madmix sea (Rs 595), on the other hand, is a whiskey sour with the punch of a Jägermeister shot and aquafaba, which replaces the usual egg white beautifully.
The base of the margherita pizza (Rs 195) we ask for is a tad chewy, and the rice coating on the crunchy avocado roll (Rs 450) is a bit mashed, though the flavours are clean. We love the mini bacon and cheddar naan (Rs 295), a smart dish that makes for a great bar snack. The kheema pav (Rs 275) is the reason why we are fans of Talwar's Indian cooking. The pulled tenderloin with sheermal (Rs 395) arrives cold, and the staff promptly offers to replace it. The second serving is juicy and perfectly cooked, and goes well with the sweetened yeast-fermented naan, traditional to Iran.
Nox the monk
The mains have set options that change every day and we decide to stick to starters. The cheesy arancini with smoked tomato sauce (Rs 275) consists of decadent, deep-fried risotto balls and come on a bed of beetroot mayonnaise, topped with a tangy tomato salsa. The sambal prawn (Rs 395) is not fresh and the raw masala is harsh on our throats.
Overall, brownie points for using aquafaba in the cocktails, and that bacon naan. We'll revisit on a suitably trippy occasion for what millennials call "a raging night".
At Vice - Global Tapas Bar, 5, Kings International Hotel Compound, Juhu Tara Road.
Time 6 pm to 1.30 am
Food review rating: 4/4 EXCEPTIONAL, 3/4 EXCELLENT, 2/4 VERY GOOD, 1/4 GOOD, 0.5/4 AVERAGE
Global Tapas Bar didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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