How often have you and your friends thought of setting up a bar or restaurant in your neighbourhood that will be everything you’ve ever wanted one to be? Not often? Well, the owners of Open House Café and Bar have. Shivaji Park’s cosy new bar was born out of their love for the area. You can tell that the owners have chosen the items on the menu after giving each a lot of thought. As a result, the options are varied but a bit confusing.
From the bar menu, we asked the server for a Watermelon Mojito. Since he insisted the fruit wasn’t the freshest, he made us a Pomegranate Mojito (Rs300) instead. Our tip: don’t try and sip this using a straw. The fun, however, is in the last sip of this drink as the pomegranate seeds absorb a lot of the alcohol. The Bloody Mary (Rs300) was the star of the evening. This one was a bit on the spicier side, but we didn’t mind it one bit. It was electrifying and one of the best we’ve tasted in town. A glass of draught beer costs Rs125.
Only after ordering the appetisers did we realise that spiciness had become the motif of our dining experience. The Desi Mutton Chops (Rs350) were loaded with flavour and were something we would definitely return for. The meat was extraordinarily well-cooked and tender. However, if you like your food mildly spiced, you may want to inform the chef to go easy on the chilli. The Chilli Cheese Crostini (Rs225) was a deceptive dish. It’s mention on the menu came with a footnote declaring it ‘zanzanit wala’ which means ‘super spicy’ in Marathi. The bite-sized pieces didn’t look half as good as they actually were. We gobbled up the starters, not realising that this is where things started
looking down just a little, purely because the quantity of the main course was despicable.
The Lemon Grass Curry (Rs300) arrived in a small bowl with a handful of basil rice. Simply shocked at how little it was, we asked the waiter for some more rice, which cost us Rs150. The lemon curry was watered down, thus giving the combination a severely washed out feel.
The potato mash that arrived with the Lemon Butter Basa Fish (Rs350) was the only element that was disappointing on this plate; the cheese sauce, spinach and the fish itself were a perfect fit: light (and right) on the stomach. Open House Café and Bar is a big surprise in a small package. It packs a punch, and is the ideal place to socialise, sip on a drink alone or get a quick evening beer and snack if your daily commute involves passing the Cadell Road stretch. This one’s a welcome addition.
(HT Café reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.)
What: Open House Café and Bar
Where: Amar Kunj, Cadell Road, Next to the petrol pump, Shivaji Park
Call: 2445 5044
What’s on the menu: Pizzas, burgers, mains
At a glance...
Meal for two
Rs2,000 with alcohol