Mumbai’s ever evolving dining out scene has restaurants coming and going like a forgotten suitcase at an airport conveyor belt. 2018 brought with it a host of new restaurant and bar launches, dotting the city’s landscape. However, the restaurants below left me super impressed with what they had to offer. Trust me, they are keepers! Read on to know more
1. Keiba, Mahalaxmi
Keiba is translated to ‘horse racing’ in Japanese, which is apt because this swanky new Oriental restaurant is located within Mahalaxmi racecourse. The inside section of the restaurant has large glass windows on one side, looking out to the stables of the racecourse’s resident horses, enabling you to share a drink with an equestrian friend. The outside lounge section has a Cherry Blossom theme running through, and is the perfect spot to grab a leisurely drink during Mumbai’s short-lived and mild winters.
Keiba does separate vegetarian and non vegetarian menus, giving equal emphasis to the veg diner, offering a host of herbivorous Asian options as well. We stuck to the latter, thoroughly enjoying their spicy, crunchy and immensely addictive Kim Jung prawns. Choose from an array of dimsums, baos, and sushi each prepared exquisitely as was evident in the dimsum basket we devoured. What blew us away were the Pork Spare Ribs in Black Bean Sauce – not only did the meat fall right off the bone, but it was perfectly glazed as well. Desserts here are ho hum, and can most definitely be avoided.Save those calories for another round of cocktails instead – all ingredients used are natural and brewed in house.
Keiba, Gate no 5 , Amateurs riders club Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Mumbai.
2. The Wine Rack, Lower Parel
The Wine Rack attempts to do what no other bar in the city has done before. It attempts to make wine more accessible, and bring down the snooty factor associated with wine drinking. The space acts as a bar, wine retail store, and a restaurant that serves up an impressive menu curated by Masterchef Australia’s Sarah Todd. Not to mention the lights get dimmer and the music gets louder as the evening progresses, giving The Wine Rack a club like feel.
The space is done up beautifully with wine bottles stacked from ceiling to floor, adorning a length of the restaurant, An interactive bar with murals and illuminated alcohol bottles complement the space. The Wine Rack offers an exquisite selection of wines both home grown and international including a large variety of wines that are impossible to lay your hands on in India. They offer their selection by the glass, or by the bottle. You can also purchase a bottle of a wine you’ve sampled here (at a 10% mark up from the MRP, from what I hear). What excited me the most was the Wine Trails section – a sampling of 3 to 4 wines classified under different regions or different wine types. A great way for the wine novice to get acquainted to the magic of vino.
Sarah Todd’s food menu is inspired from Indian street food such as Duck Kulchas and Crab Pakodas. Not to mention an exquisite cheese board and a variety of thin crust pizzas – both of which are the perfect accompaniments to a bottle of wine.
The Wine Rack, Groundfloor, Highstreet Phoenix, Lower Parel, Mumbai
3. JLWA, Bandra
Two month old JLWA does beautiful modern Indian cuisine without the fusion feeling forced or contrived. What blew me away the minute I walked in was the regal and opulent ambience – the entire space is done up in shades of blue and gold, with a ceiling brimming with lights dangling above you. Have a seat near their large, glass paneled windows – not only is there ample natural light for your selfies, the hustle and bustle of Linking road below will entertain you till the food arrives.
We enjoyed the #YehHaiJLWA Nachos – a fun desi spin on this Tex Mex classic with white malai chicken served on nacho chips with sour cream and salsa on the side. Their Butter Chicken Arabic Pockets – pita pockets filled to the brim with a spicy (not sweet) butter chicken gravy, with a drizzle of sour cream and avocados on top. Both dishes beautifully amalgamated Indian flavours with foreign classics, resulting in dishes that were delicious and not gimmicky. The Drunken Prawns disappointed us with their overcooked, rubbery texture and is definitely worth a miss.
Our main course was a generous portion of the Rajastani Laal Maas with Bajre ka roti and a Ker Sangri salad on the side humorously titled Padharo Mare Des. Don’t leave without trying their cheeky interpretations of desserts such as the Gulab Jamun Crème Brulee and Not A Shahi Tukda.
JLWA, 3rd Floor, VN Sphere Turner, Linking Road, Bandra West.
4. Ferry Wharf, Bandra
Ferry Wharf is a gorgeous new restaurant located in the lane opposite Lilavati Hospital in Bandra specializing in seafood as the name suggests – more specifically home style Mangalorean cuisine. The entire space is done up in blue and brown symbolizing the ocean and the sand respectively, with beautiful sea side elements without going overboard. We were pondering over the menu, deciding on what to order when the server brought out a sampling platter with a few of the restaurant’s signature dishes – clam sukkha, fish curry, mutton in green masala, crab butter garlic, prawns achaari and prawns ghee roast. This really enabled us to pick our favourites from the menu, and not waste time dilly dallying.
Their fish thalis are a great way to acquaint yourself with local Manglorean flavours and they come with rasam, rice, roti, vegetable, fish curry and one piece of fried fish. Our favourite of the night was the flavourful Prawn Ghee Roast paired with fresh Neer Dosa. Another must try is their Stuffed Pomfret – a whole pomfret stuffed with green masala and then pan fried in rawa which resulted in different textures and flavours both inside and out.
Ferry Wharf, Unit 11, 12, Building 3, ONGC Lane, Opposite Lilavati Hospital, Reclamation, Bandra West.