Last week I headed back to the first City I was lucky enough to call home – Bombay. I know the new and approved name is now ‘Mumbai’, but to me it will always be Bombay. As much as I deny it, this City holds a piece of me in its clutches. A fact I was duly reminded of after I spent a full two weeks there (something I hadn’t done in about 3 years), running around trying to get a taste of how much it has changed.
On one of these crazy/fun escapades, my friend and Bombay local herself – Roxanne Bamboat aka ‘The Tiny Taster’ planned a night out that took us hopping from one place to the next.
In Lower Parel, we first hit up ‘BusaGO’ – which is the QSR offshoot of the popular ‘Busaba’ (which is still on my list of places to try in Bombay). Cool, casual interiors make this place ideal if you want to grab that quick bite before heading off somewhere else.
We tried the ‘Tibetan Chicken Momos’ with the BusaGO original sauces. I chose to pair mine with their Sweet Chili Sauce. It was so good, in fact, that we ordered a second round before the main course for our dinner – which was their signature ‘Burmese Kaukswe’ with Prawns. Every place I’ve ever tried this dish at does their own interpretation of it, so I keep an open mind and try not to compare drastically different versions.
BusaGO serves their Kaukswe with all my favourite condiments on the side – Spring Onions, Celery, Coriander, fried Garlic, Chili flakes, Lime and regular Onions two ways – as well as enough Curry to drown my noodles in (you can NEVER have enough Curry, really). Simple comfort food, reasonably priced and value for money. I’m looking forward to checking out their parent Restaurant – Busaba, on my next visit.
Next, we walked to Café Zoe in the same compound, to grab some dessert. That night, we just missed a Live Jazz performance, but we did order an Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream and a Banana Pie with Meringue. Surprisingly, both the confections were underwhelming (and a little expensive). I guess we caught them on an off day, because the vibe there is lovely, so I won’t judge them by these two dishes and will check them out again, but for a full meal (and hopefully, a gig).
We grabbed a cab and to the launch of a new Bar called ‘Please Don’t Tell’ at Kamala Mills. I was quite excited about this one, because apparently the theme was a modern take on a speakeasy (a speakeasy is a clandestine Bar, popular in the US during the Prohibition era during the 1920s-30s).
Greeted at the door by their PR Rep, a sweet girl who guided us through to the secret entrance: a red phone booth (complete with an old fashioned phone), where you apparently have to dial a number (after making a reservation in advance – I believe the number is 80827 38783) and speak the ‘code’ before the side of the booth swings open, revealing the Bar inside. This may seem a bit gimmicky, but come on, who doesn’t love the thrill of unlocking secret doors with a password?
The interiors are very industrial-esque, with exposed brick and concrete walls. Personally, I wish they would have gone all-out 1920s with the theme. It would have definitely set them apart from the rest! By the way, they played a lot of ’90s music (holla!), most of which I hadn’t heard since I was a kid, had us giggling and reminiscing all night.
Their Menu was pretty unique, with quite a few molecular gastronomy-inspired Cocktails along with their signature ones. Tiny and I were quite full from dinner, so we left the food ordering to the other Bloggers at our table, and decided to bring on the alcohol.
I started my night with a ‘Pimms on a Whim’, a cocktail with -you guessed it- Pimm’s, because it’s not something you’d find on every Bar Menu. It was fruity but not overpoweringly sweet. I quite liked it! I had a sip of one of the molecular drinks, the ‘Stormtrooper’ – Amaretto and Old Monk, stirred over ice with Coffee Bitters, smoked with Apple wood – and Tiny’s ‘Covert Cuban’ – both worth trying, especially if you’re feeling experimental.
In the midst of all this happy drinking, the ‘Street Secret’ – mini Vada Pavs – and a Watermelon and Feta Salad reached the table. The Vada Pavs were nothing special, except for the fact that they were adorably bite-sized. The Watermelon Salad had a reduced Balsamic and a Chili glaze – juicy with a kick of spice.
At the Bar, one of the mixologists was concocting the ‘Watermelon Caviar’, the tiny little pearls of sweetness that would form the base of my next drink, the ‘Caribbean Caper’, which also comprised of White Rum, Triple sec, Lemon juice and Watermelon juice. The molecular element here being the ‘Caviar’ of Watermelon, was quite fun to pop on the tongue.
We also tried the ‘Esoteric’ cocktail (a deconstructed version of the favourite ‘Sex On The Beach’) which is Peach Schnapps, Orange juice (filled in a huge syringe) and Cranberry. An interesting way to present it, though I wish the alcohol was a bit stronger.
The ‘Undercover Greek’ is a platter of Falafel and a smidge of Hummus encased in Pita bread, which appear to look like mini Burgers. Quite appetizing, though the bottom of the Pita buns were a little soggy.
Chicken Tikka Canapés were tasty, but served cold – I would have preferred them hot.
Since many of the dishes on PDT’s Menu are their re-invention (for lack of a better word) of Bombay Street Food, we ordered the ‘Parmesan Pav Bhaji’ which was wiped out in minutes! Definitely a big thumbs up, especially if you’re a fan of the regular Cheese Pav Bhaji.
Much to my horror, somebody also asked for the ‘Masked Madrasi’, aka Sambhar Risotto. Not a fan of Risotto, I was afraid it would be chalky and disgusting but to my amazement, it was one of the nicer things we’d sampled from the Menu.
Other munchies we sampled that night included an Artichoke Bruschetta (nothing to write home about – avoid), a regular order of Nachos with the standard salsas and sour cream and the Goan Chorizo Sausage with Garlic Bread (they had me at ‘Chorizo’).
As far as pricing is concerned, most of the Cocktails we had start at Rs. 700 and the dishes range from Rs. 400 – 600 (exclusive of taxes). I don’t usually mention pricing, but since this was expensive (luckily, we were invited and so we were not required to pay – or I would have gone completely broke), I thought it necessary to give you guys a heads-up. I would go back again, if not for the Parmesan Pav Bhaji and delicious drinks, then just to use the “secret entrance” myself. It may not be the best-kept secret in Bombay, but it has the potential to be the most fun!
And thus concludes my night on the town!
Happy Eating (and Drinking)!!