A Bar Called Life: Drinks are a downer, but food offers much to celebrate | more lifestyle | Hindustan Times
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A Bar Called Life: Drinks are a downer, but food offers much to celebrate

The shami kebab sliders in buttered pao at Mumbai’s A Bar Called Life are encore-worthy; the saffron and cardamom-scented gosht ka halwa, worth a return visit.

more lifestyle Updated: Apr 06, 2017 18:50 IST
Raul Dias
The bamboo smoked mutton teamed with sticky jasmine rice is a fitting nod to India’s north-east. The meat was succulent and had a subtle, earthy flavour.
The bamboo smoked mutton teamed with sticky jasmine rice is a fitting nod to India’s north-east. The meat was succulent and had a subtle, earthy flavour.

A rainbow-striped unicorn entered our peripheral vision, with the aroma of an apple sheesha, as we sat down to meaty gosht ka halwa for dessert. No, this wasn’t some substance-induced trip. It’s what actually happened at A Bar Called Life.

A radically different version of its previous avatar as Villa 69, a staid, all-white place with European food, A Bar’s elaborate decor and pan-Indian menu sets the tone a few notches higher.

A dark, brooding antechamber with black leather couches and a smallish bar gives way to an al fresco courtyard scattered with metallic Plexiglas chairs, velvet high-back chaise-longues, with backlit tables on a shimmering black tiled floor. This is where we saw the aforementioned unicorn sculpture standing guard. A lush, vertical garden fences the space off from surrounding apartment buildings. It also muffles the din from Juhu Circle a few yards away.

The al fresco courtyard with its lush, vertical garden fences the space off from the din of Juhu Circle.

Chef Amninder Sandhu’s food and drinks are as eclectic as they are experimental. We started off with a robust, white rum-based kadi patta mojito that had an unprecedented hit of mustard seeds. It lent a spicy note to the knock-out cocktail.

Wish we could have said the same for the amrood pani puri shots. They were let down by stale, chewy puris and a stingy pour of vodka and guava nectar. It was essentially a bland pani puri.

As a drink accompaniment, we had a Moradabadi dal ki chaat, made from mashed lentils and potatoes anointed with tamarind sauce and crunchy sev. It came nestled in the flaky core of a square khari vol-au-vent base. Our trio of shami kebab sliders were composed of delicately spiced kebabs in buttered paos, with a cooling mint chutney and spicy karare aloo on the side. Encore-worthy.

Mustard seeds lent a spicy note to the knock-out white rum-based kadi patta mojito, but the amrood pani puri shots came with stale puris and a stingy pour of vodka and guava nectar.

For mains, the sarro da saag hor kuddu, served thali-style, was the almost perfect sum of its buttery saag, radish-and-onion salad and jaggery parts. But sadly, it was let down by a tiny, solitary, dry makki di roti that seemed to be begging for some ghee lovin’. The bamboo smoked mutton teamed with sticky jasmine rice was a great nod to India’s north-eastern cuisine. It came with succulent pieces of mutton and had a subtle and earthy taste.

Our final dish for the evening had us tongue-tied. The saffron and cardamom-scented gosht ka halwa, made with mutton mince and khoya, was a risky pick. But it came accompanied by a double scoop of malty, creamy nolengurer ice-cream. For that, we’re willing to go back, anytime.

The gosht ka halwa, made with mutton mince and khoya, felt like a risky pick. But it came with a double scoop of malty, creamy nolengurer ice-cream. And for this dish alone, we’d go back any time.

A Bar Called Life
Rating:
3 / 5
Where:
C/O Paradise Banquets, opposite PVR Cinemas, Juhu
Timings:
6 pm to 1.30 am
Cost:
About Rs 3,300 for two, with one cocktail each

Call: 022-2620-0122

(HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously)