Ark is a newly opened bar at Courtyard by Marriott that promises an excellent range of cocktails. An excited Dev Goswami paid them a visit and tells you why it’s worth heading over to
Molecular gastronomy was a big flop in Mumbai. It was a trend that many of us were excited about at the start of 2014, but it made a swift exit from restaurant menus. Molecular mixology, on the other hand, has been a steady fixture at several bars across the city. With great entertainment value (it might sound clichéd, but sipping on a drink that has smoke wafting out of the glass is an experience that never gets old), mind-blowing infusions (especially those that use cigar or apple wood) and unique concoctions, this seems like a trend that is here to stay. And Ark, at Courtyard by Marriott, is counting on that.
Their current menu has just four, tried and tested molecular cocktails. But, the bartending staff promised to introduce several more options in the near future. One of my favourites (off-menu) was a Vodka Watermelon Jelly. Yes, jelly — sort of like a grown up version of a Jell-O shot. It is a moist piece of jelly that has been infused with vodka and is served on a watermelon peel. I missed the refreshing taste of watermelon, but apart from that, I was both pleased and intrigued by the dessert-like drink.
From their menu, I tried the Smoke Desire and the Pearl Martini — both priced at Rs 600. Smoke Desire is a cocktail that I imagine Don Corleone (from The Godfather) would drink in today’s day and age. A medley of scotch, apple and cinnamon, with the molecular process adding in a smoky touch of apple wood, this is an enjoyable, relaxing drink. The cocktail is wonderfully balanced, with the tartness of the apple and spicy-sweetness of the cinnamon complementing the scotch. It’s a drink that I have tried before, but this is definitely the best version of an apple wood smoked drink that I’ve
I was a big fan of the Pearl Martini; a unique drink, where the freshness of the watermelon juice was quite discernible and the vodka hit was potent. However, what won me over were the delicious watermelon-infused balls at the bottom of my glass. Don’t make the mistake of sipping on this drink straight from the glass — you need a thick straw to get a good mix of vodka and watermelon, and then let the juicy pop of the watermelon balls take over your tastebuds. This drink is a must-have.
I also tried the Blitz (Rs 560), a drink from their signature cocktails section that perfectly showcases the talent of the men behind the bar. With vodka as its base and elderflower extract, sour mix and lemongrass acting as additional flavours, Blitz needed to be perfectly balanced — and it was. There wasn’t a single ingredient that was overpowering and if you’re a fan of lemongrass, this is a drink that you really should try.
Along with my drinks, I also tried a few dishes from the limited bar menu — even though it is limited, they do give you the option of converting some of their gravy-based Indian starters into a meal, complete with naan. The bruschetta (Rs 425 onwards) had well-toasted bread and a fresh, well-seasoned selection of vegetables. The Beef Pepper Fry (Rs 595) hit the right spot for me — the pepper was prominent and the beef was superbly cooked. I also tried the Boti Kebab, which was served in a cashew gravy and was prepared to ensure that the cashew didn’t overpower the dish. However, the kebab was a little over-salted and though it was alright, I wasn’t a fan.
Although the food is good, it is over-priced. And at Rs 560 for a signature cocktail (exclusive of taxes), the drinks are an expensive proposition as well. However, they do give you your money’s worth — the drinks are well-mixed, the staff’s talent is apparent, some of the drinks are truly unique and the experience on the whole is thoroughly enjoyable. Oh, and before I forget to mention, they have a special rack of collector’s edition wine. If you don’t mind spending several thousands on a few drinks, Ark is definitely worth-visiting.
Where CTS 215, Opposite Sangam BIG Cinemas, Andheri Kurla Road, Andheri (e)
Drinks for two Rs 2,000 (with two starters)
Alcohol Yes (beer pint Rs 320 onwards)