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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In her quest to find a remote enclave within the bustling city, Purva Indulkar visits Off The Grid and walks out impressed

What makes a great hangout spot? The coffee shop at which Rachel and her friends hung out had a carefree vibe that reflected the young crowd that came there. Barney and his friends frequented a bar that hosted everyone from Russian models to corporate lawyers. Even the tea shack outside your college had its own signature energy. That is exactly what strikes you first when you visit Off The Grid. It’s a place that has the potential to create fond memories.

Every section in the restaurant offers something different. Looking for a loud, fun night with your buddies? Take a seat at the lounge where you’ll be treated to an enormous screen while a hip DJ blasts out happening tunes. Want something more secluded for a date or a family meal? Their dining section offers comfortable, champagne-coloured sofas and ambient lighting. Want to enjoy the breeze with your beer? Grab a cane chair in their courtyard and enjoy the night sky. I dropped by on the night of an India-Pakistan match and each of our dishes came with a side of enthusiastic cheers from our fellow diners.

We started our meal with their popular Khichiya Nachos (Rs 150). The Sindhi staple gets an unconventional treatment with cheese sauce and salsa. The crispy khichiya packs a punch while the cheese sauce and spicy salsa bursts with flavour. For drinks, we went with Death by Chocolate (Rs 250). The chocolate wasn’t too sweet and in spite of being topped with honey, its taste didn’t dominate the flavour. We also tried a glass of Mama Mia (Rs 250), which was the union of mango juice, coconut and mint. The flavour of mango felt a bit syrupy, but just a hint of basil added an unexpected edge to the drink.

The Ghiya Kebab (Rs 275), a crispy lamb kebab served with mint chutney, wasn’t exploding with flavours like we had hoped. The Prawns Koliwada (Rs 315), on the other hand, was a treat for our taste buds. Maybe we’re biased because we have a weakness for seafood (which Mumbaikar doesn’t?), but the fiery red prawns fell apart softly, and the tender meat constantly oozed steam. The flavour had soaked into the meat perfectly, making it the best starter out of the ones we tried.

For the main course, we went for a filling arrangement of Murg Kalimirch Kukkad (Rs 280). This juicy chicken dish was perfectly cooked. The smoky flavour of the meat paired with the mint chutney gave it a peppery taste, which explodes as you swallow it. While packed with variety, the OTG Tandoori Veg Platter (Rs 350) — an assortment of achari paneer, aloo nazakat, jimmykand ke kebab and ghiya kebab — lacked in presentation. The Thai Lemongrass Chicken (Rs 280) was a delicious Asian offering. The well-balanced dish is not only a treat for your taste buds, but it also has a striking fragrance that you will remember for days.

Even though we were already full, their dessert selection was too tempting. The OTG Sundae Extravaganza (Rs 275) was, to be honest, a dream come true. A delicious, overwhelming freak shake that still manages to be light? We’ll take another one please! The strawberry, chocolate and crispy cookie crumbs were a treat to our eyes (and our social media feed). We also tried the Kentucky Derby Pie (Rs 225), which has a hypnotising chocolaty fragrance. The pie crust was soft and crispy and the chocolate-walnut filling was surprisingly flavourful. The Crystal Semifredo (Rs 225) was creamy and fluffy, and the orange flavour was a hidden surprise. The Gazzani Cake (Rs 200), a delectable carrot cake, was the best in their platter. It melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting more.

Off The Grid’s strengths lie in its unique use of spices, local ingredients and herbs. Ingredients like pepper, ginger and lemon powder pop up in unexpected places. Even simple herbs like mint and basil are used with a twist, giving traditional offerings a modern, Mumbai makeover. It’s a place you should certainly visit once, but we wouldn’t be surprised if you get hooked and keep going back, because it’s just the perfect hangout spot.

Where: G-5, Mourya Landmark 1, Plot B - 25, Off link Road, Opposite Infinity Mall, Oshiwara, Andheri (w)

Meal for two:Rs 1,200

Alcohol served Yes (a pint of beer from Rs 110 onwards)

Contact: 9967928881

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