Among Bandra’s ever evolving culinary landscape, where restaurants open daily and an equal number shut shop, very few eateries manage to leave a mark and be remembered. It has been a week since my preview meal at the newly launched The Bandra Project by Pizza, but the recall and remembrance value still remains high. The iconic Pizza Express undergoes a makeover to transform itself into a community hub that is a lot more than just a restaurant and bar. Because change is the only constant in life.
Three reasons why Bandra’s newest hang out, The Bandra Project by Pizza Express, should be on your must eat list:
1. To Celebrate Bandra in all it’s glory
It was thrilling to see elements of Bandra incorporated in the food and drink menu, and this was what excited the #BandraGirl in me the most. Many of their signature cocktails are all cheekily named after prominent Bandra landmarks such as the Reclamation (cucumber + vodka + mint) and the Bandra Fest (cinnamon + citrus + vodka). Hallelujah! My favourite of the night was the Joggers Park, not because I spent half my childhood running giddy in that park, but because this drink created with pineapple juice, gin and floral notes left me with a smile on my face.
You’ll see glimpses of Bandra’s Anglo Indian culinary history in the food. I was pleasantly surprised to see snacks such as Prawn Potato Chops (prawns flavoured with East Indian Bottle Masala stuffed inside a potato patty) and Chicken Croquettes (chicken fingers, crumbed then fried) on a menu of an upscale restaurant. Classic dishes such as Prawns in Bottle Masala and Goan Chorizo make appearances, the latter comes sitting atop ragi pancakes. #Hipster
Personally, I may not order these the next time I am here, but it warms my heart to see upscale restaurants try and introduce local dishes to the diner. They also intend to change the menu at regular intervals, by introducing seasonal and trending dishes.
2. To indulge in some good ol’ Pizza Express staples
It’s wonderful that the Pizza Express chain is branching out with a new concept such as this, with a comprehensive all day dining menu including breakfast, small plates and mains. But I’ll ask the question that we all want the answer to…. We’re still going to get pizzas and cheesecakes, right?
The answer is a strong, resounding yes! It’s still a place where you will find Pizza Express classics like the Doppio Dough Balls served with garlic butter and basil pesto on the side. Or the Padana (goats cheese + caramelized onions + spinach) which is the only vegetarian pizza I would voluntarily order. Or their signature rectangular pizza ‘Calabrese’ that comes with fiery sausages, jalapenos and peppers. Not for the faint hearted, this! It is a cardinal sin to leave without their baked vanilla cheesecake, which in my opinion may be the best baked cheesecake I’ve eaten in this city.
3. There is something for everyone
The Bandra Project is a restaurant, but attempts to be so much more. You can drop by here early in the morning to indulge in their breakfast spread, or for a lingering lunch during the day. The place turns into a lounge by night, with the lights getting dimmer, and the music getting louder. But most importantly, The Bandra Project aims at becoming a community space that brings together like minded individuals over art, intellect and good food. Deeply plugged into the life and energy of Bandra, The Bandra Project attempts to champion a host of local initiatives ranging from art and street beautification to philanthropy. I’m raising my pizza slice to that! Watch out for the next ‘Project’ – you never know it could be in your neighborhood.
The Bandra Project by PizzaExpress,
C – 534A, Ground Floor, HSBC Bank Building, Pali Road,
Bandra West, Mumbai – 400051.
Phone – 022 62506800.
(Images courtesy The Bandra Project by Pizza Express.)