Behind the bar at The Daily is a framed clipping from a newspaper. The headline reads ‘Moral cop Vasant Dhoble transferred’. This bit of happy news is exactly the sort of stuff you want to be reminded of when you’re imbibing in Mumbai, but it’s not the only one here. Many more such frames of good tidings hang from the ceiling and on the walls at Bandra’s newest drinking joint, which on a recent Friday night went from relaxed at 9 pm to rackety at 10.30 pm.
We can see why The Daily has caught on with the crowds. The space — high tables, booths, al fresco section — has been designed with the sort of attention to detail that is rarely found in the city’s drinkeries.
The waiters all wear hipster-meets-reporter uniforms accesorised with bow ties, suspenders and Clark Kent frames. Ours was so fervent, leaning in close and talking fast, that we had to calm ourselves after placing our food order. This we chose to do with what has since become our favourite new cocktail in the city — The Algonquin.
The Daily dabbles in molecular mixology. This means that they pipe smoke from a box containing things like ‘organic applewood chips’ into a bottle and swirl the drink into the fumes, or employ dry-ice vapours to infuse flavour. It’s boozing as theatre, so enjoy the show while your drink is made.
In my Algonquin, rum, orange juice, and almond were smoked with dried curry leaf and coriander. It’s the kind of flavour layering that has you making big eyes after the first sip. Choose this, or the Gypsy Queen, a mix of Scotch, peach and lemon smoked with cinnamon, applewood and clove, before moving on to their Tiki, Prohibition-Era and signature cocktails.
This is booze that requires tummy-lining grub. And of this The Daily has plenty, its menu replete with fatty, carb-laden and meaty starters, burgers and pizzas.
For folks seeking a more structured meal, there are soups, salads and mains as well. In our experience, the beautifully golden jalapeño dippers, and even the loaded nachos —more desi than Tex-Mex, with not enough of the cheese, sour cream or salsa — fared better than the lighter starters of cured salmon with passion fruit puree and unexciting tomato-mozzarella ‘margarita’ salad on a bed of lettuce.
The Beef on Fire, however, was a revelation — two perfectly cooked and incredibly juicy high medallions were stuffed magically with porcini mushrooms, and we scraped the plate clean of the full-bodied rosemary jus.
For your first visit, go early, pick your cocktails carefully, sip slowly and enjoy the many little things. From what we saw, it’s easy, in a few hours, to be among a crush load of people ordering pitchers of mojito (at a by-then-badly-backed-up bar) as they bolster themselves with The Daily’s prawns in a blanket or chicken on a stick.
(HT pays for all meals and events, and reviews anonymously)