Kemps Corner in Mumbai is a busy junction, teeming with traffic and shops. However, there is a dearth of eating options in that area. Which is where Vicinia comes into the picture. Situated in this busy locality, Vicinia is a hole in the wall, all-day eatery and bar. Vicinia which means ‘neighborhood’ in Latin, stands true to the meaning. It aims to be your neighborhood watering hole, ‘where everybody knows your name’. Does it stand true to it’s name? We were there to find out.
Vicinia is a small, quaint place with a two level seating. It has a monochromatic decor and dim lighting which works well at night. I would love to go visit during the day to see the restaurant’s ‘day look’. They have a well stocked bar, with booze bottles on display for you to ogle at. My favourite corner in the room, is this little show-case displaying curious and knick-knacks. Shelves of souvenirs, mugs and books for which make for an interesting view.
We started off the night with some signature cocktails which came highly recommended. Some of their cocktails were unusual because of the use of vegetables- such as beetroot in ‘Just Beet It’, and spices- star anise in ‘Star Wars’. Since I steer clear of anything involving beetroot in it I tried the latter. The ‘Star Wars’ has star anise, cinnamon, lime juice, passion fruit cordial, with gin and lime soda. I liked the fizzy lime soda and star anise combo- was so refreshing. My only grouse was that I could not taste the alcohol in it.
Melon Ball- Melon cordial with vodka and lime juice works if you’re a fan of the fruit. This was another fruity, summery drink.
Now I’m not much of a soup person (or a salad person for that matter), but the weather asked for a soup. The rains were misbehaving as usual, and the sinuses were demanding something warm. First soup of the night, the ‘Seafood Bisque’ was a winner. Served piping hot with a wonderful seafood flavour that came from all the calamari and prawn hiding in the bottom of the bowl. It was not that thick or heavy like a broth, which I enjoyed.
I enjoyed the foam on top of the ‘Pimento Cappuccino’ but the spiciness of the pimentos was missing. Nevertheless, it was an interesting concept.
The ‘Chicken Skewers’ were your regular skewers that you’d get at any bar. But they made for a delicious snack and I liked that the chicken fell right off the skewer stick with ease.
The ‘Wine Poached Pear’ salad was fresh and light but we felt there was something lacking. Maybe some blue cheese to add weight to the dish, as Tiny Taster pointed out.
I really enjoyed the ‘Smoked Salmon and Arugula’ salad. The leaves were well seasoned and the balsamic perfectly complimented the smokiness of the salmon. I loved the addition of the onion ring on top to give it that crunch. One of the dishes I would return for.
The ‘Cranberry and Goat Cheese Crostini’ had some smooth goat cheese smeared over crunchy, toasted crostini. However, the addition of too much cranberry made it overtly sweet.
I ventured into my forbidden zone, and decided to try the ‘Beetroot Hummus with Lavash’. Luckily I couldn’t taste any beets in this. The beetroot only gives it this bright pink hue.
‘Bacon wrapped Prawns’ was another crowd pleaser that night. Bacon makes everything taste good, and these prawns were no exception. The saltiness of the bacon went well with the succulent prawns making it absolutely delicious.
The ‘Lamb and Scarmoza Tarts’ had these mini tarts with lamb kebab pieces on top. A lovely, bite sized appetizer, but the tart at the bottom was a bit sweet. A saltier tart, and the dish would’ve been perfect! This dish had great potential to stand out but the sweet tart at the bottom ruined it for me.
I also loved my Seafood Pizza which was a thin, crispy pizza base topped with calamari and prawn. I would have loved it to have more tomato sauce on the pizza as I love my pizza saucier (pun unintended). However, that is my individual preference as others on the table seemed to enjoy it the way it was.
The Veggie Pizza had your usual suspects- capsicum, olives, & onions.
We then moved onto the mains, with a Mushroom Risotto. The risotto was cooked well, but I wish it had been more cheesy. The mushroom flavour stood out throughout. But we couldn’t fathom the need to sprinkle fennel seeds on top!
The ‘Beer Battered Fish and Chips’ had this crispy, hot, batter coated on top of this soft fish. High on calories, but worth every bite.
I didn’t particularly enjoy the ‘Prawn Ravioli’. It was unlike a conventional, creamy ravioli that I imagined.
The ‘Chicken Schnitzel’ had a lovely, bread crumb coating inspite of it being too oily. The mushrooms on the side were delicious and quickly gobbled up.
I gave the desserts a miss as I had to rush back home. This I later regretted, as I heard they were fab!
Overall, Vicinia can be your go-to place for a quick breakfast, lazy lunch or a post work drink. It has the vibe and menu to fit into all three moulds. The food definitely needs some fine tuning, for it to bring back customers the second time. Especially considering the lack of options in the area, which can be a golden ticket for Vicinia.
Would I go back? Maybe. To try their breakfast menu and Eggs Benedict that were highly recommended. And for their ‘Bar Nights’, that happen every alternate Friday, where they have a buy-one-get-one offer the entire night.
Vicinia, Ground Floor, Chinoy Mansion, Near Gangar Opticians, Kemps Corner, Mumbai.
Call them on: 022- 33487894
Facebook page here
Twitter and Instagram: @ViciniaCafeBar