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In The Mood For Masala

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tried and Tested Food Review

If you want to snack on some culinary delights with a mesmerizing sunset on the side, Jagruti Verma tells you why you should grab a seat at MasalaBar’s outdoor space

Walking up the narrow staircase to reach their dining and bar area, we were hoping to get some relief from the summer heat outside. However, the sun was not really in the mood to leave us alone for at least an hour more. But, the drawback was soon made up for with a refreshing Berry Cooler (Rs 300), which was accompanied by two sweet cherries on top. While I was busy draining my glass down to the last drop, my dining companion was relishing her glass of Filter ‘Kaafi’ Uska (Rs 700) — their signature filter coffee cocktail with a twist of burnt anise. We were told about how each of their signature cocktails represented Mumbai in some way or the other, and how each had a story behind it.

Next, we were served a Channa Tempura Chaat (Rs 245), which turned out to be a crunchy snack that you should order to complement your drinks. The Chicken 65 Lollipops (Rs 395) sounded bland, but was another surprise — it’s not just fried but also tossed in some incredibly tasty butter-garlic-pepper glaze gravy and later beautifully garnished, making it a visual treat as well. However, the highlight of our evening was their Khaari Naan Khatai Bruschetta (Rs 350), an Indian version of bruschetta with three layers sandwiched together with soft, melted cheese. This one is a must-have for all cheese lovers! After the cheesy delight we had the opportunity to indulge in two seafood dishes — Crisp Calamari Rings (Rs 395) and Ghee Roast Scallops (Rs 500). I must mention how by now, the sun had finally blessed us by setting, rewarding our patience with a beautiful view of the sea. While the calamari is the perfect snack to munch on while enjoying an animated conversation with your dining companions, the scallop was not as easy to scoop up and needed a heavier hand with the cutlery. My dining companion was soon lost in a beautifully crafted Bollywood Bhang (Rs 700) — a bhang-flavoured cocktail with vodka — served in a skull-shaped glass. The sun, which had played a great role in both ruining our meal and making up for it, was now ready to bid us a quick goodbye, leaving behind a magical candle-lit ambience in its wake. One by one, candles were now being lit, lending a romantic vibe to the new eatery. Sadly, the accompanying music did not follow suit and continued being energetically EDM. On the plus side, the aura of the place hinted at the possibility of a nice chitchat over drinks between friends or colleagues after a hectic day at work; reflected by the kind of people that started pouring in.

As if to match the sunset, we were served a Carbon Bhaji, Carbon Pao (Rs 295) — yes, both bhaji and pao were black, not a particularly appetising colour. But, when the flavours kicked in with our first bite, we immediately understood that infamous quote — never judge a book by its cover indeed! The secret to its colour, as with most black burgers of course, is squid ink! They also have a vegetarian version where they use charcoal dust. Just when we were beginning to feel full, another refreshing mocktail, Heaven on Earth (Rs 300), a cool watermelon drink, came our way.

It’s safe to say that the next dish we were served is the perfect way for a vegetarian to experience the flavour of chicken — their BBQ Pulled Kathal Burger (Rs 300 for two small burgers). They were delightful, with a rich taste of jackfruit, accompanied by a stick of crispy, baked potato chips. By this time, we were pretty full. But, who can say no to dessert, especially when it comes in the form of lollipops on a beautiful white tree! Make sure you don’t miss out on the Baileys Lollipop’s (Rs 395) when you visit.

Their cocktail zone resembles a chemistry lab, and their interiors are only lit by candles. After a quick tour, it was time to (quite reluctantly) head out, which is when the tiniest glitch in the great experience came in — the dark ambience lends very little light to the stairs leading to the exit. Be especially careful if you’ve had a few drinks! However, whether you’re here for the drinks, the food or the sunset, Masala Bar wins as one of the better spaces to have opened up in Bandra this year.

Where Level 1, Gagangiri Apartments, Carter Road), Bandra (w)
Meal for two Rs 5,000 (with alcohol)
Alcohol served Yes (pint of beer Rs 300 onwards)
Contact 8451900258/ 67701793

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