Replacing the erstwhile Kurry Klub, Bombay Vintage is a brand new restaurant in South Bombay, which serves interesting fusion food and boasts of impeccable vintage décor like no one else in the city. The elements of the décor will surely take you back to the vintage colonial Bombay, and the dim lighting adds to the old-world elegance even more. I am honoured to be among the very first reviewers who were invited for the food preview before the launch of Bombay Vintage the next day.
Bombay Vintage opened officially on January 14, 2016. Restaurateur Suresh Bhandaary and Chef Pradip Rozario have left no stone unturned to give Bombay Vintage a unique soul: be it the ambience or the food. The bar with minimalistic décor is on the ground floor, whereas there is another floor upstairs with cozy seating and beautiful, old things to gaze at. Bombay Vintage is equipped with a seating of about 70 people.
The old artefacts and wall-hangings can be good conversation starters here. The vintage collection here is tastefully placed on the walls and side-tables. Portraits of people of a bygone era, vintage clocks, a polaroid camera, a pretty balance scale, an old typewriter, pots, jars, posters of very old movies, interesting plates and trays, and various other antique elements embellish Bombay Vintage. The pipes on the walls are painted red to give an illusion of a post box. Innovative serveware is another amusing aspect here. Drinking water poured from aluminium kettles or food served in a mini aluminium pressure cooker – every aspect of Bombay Vintage is impressive and related to the theme.
A full meal, complete with drinks, will cost you somewhere around Rs. 1,800. The drinks are comparatively cheap here, especially the old-world cocktails. The food is a fusion of Indian and continental cuisines and techniques, though there are a few Asian-inspired dishes as well. The talented Chef Rosario believes that fusion gives rise to innovation, and there is no limit to creativity in this segment.
For the lovers of the old times, the bar will never fail to amuse you with perfect cocktails like the Manhattan, Bourbon Sour, Side Car, Moscow Mule, Negroni, Singapore Sling, and of course with the Mudslides, Margaritas and Martinis. The bar is also well-stocked with beers, single malts, whiskies, vodka, pops and shots (do try the Kokum shot) and different kinds of wines.
The first dish in the preview menu was the Bacon-wrapped Prawns with Prune Mayo, which served as the perfect appetizer. Perfectly cooked prawns wrapped with crisp bacon strips was a good start. The Prune Mayo was a nice accompaniment with the dish. I had a glass of their signature Green Apple Rock Martini by my side. The Martini was very refreshing.
At Bombay Vintage, the Neer Dosa Sukka Rolls have a stuffing of either chicken or prawns. We tasted the chicken one. It was one of the most innovative ways to eat a plate of two individual dishes: Neer Dosa and Chicken Sukka. Neatly wrapped and spiced well, these rolls were awesome!
For a change, we tried the Continental Pav Bhaji served with Foccacia fingers, instead of the normal pav. The presentation and the thought behind the fusion dish is unique. I loved the way the chef transformed the monotonous Pav Bhaji with his clever ideas!
The vegetarian Capriccio Pizza had a base of basil pesto sauce and was served with a topping of bell peppers. It was yummy and non-soggy. Athough I am a non-vegetarian, I loved this pizza for its simplicity. Sometimes less is more, and that’s what this pizza talks about.
The Sabudana Croquettes were made with crunchy peanuts. These were good, but not something that I would love to order again.
In the main course, the Kheema Baida Roti was delicious, and it was filled with a thick stuffing of slightly spicy minced meat.
What I loved the most? The food which landed on our table in a double-decker copper tiffin box: the humble dish of beautifully cooked Prawn Moilee served over steamed rice. I also fell in love with the old-world copper serving dishes in which the Moilee and the rice were served. The Sabudana and Parmesan Risotto is the vegetarian delight to die for! Believe me, Sabudana as a risotto is so delicious, and it couldn’t get any better. I loved the creaminess created with the Parmesan cheese. The comforting dish was light and yet, creamy enough. This is a must-order dish, whether you are a vegetarian or not.
The chef was very excited about the Thai Chicken Biryani. When it came to our table, it made all of us smile with its unique presentation. Well, it came in a mini pressure cooker! This presentation is so unique and in tune with the vintage theme. When the cooker was opened, there was a waft of flavours hitting our nostrils. The rice was actually tossed up with vegetables and was rather wet with the Thai red curry. There was more curry served in a bowl, as an accompaniment.
I felt that there was no need for an extra serving of the red curry, as Biryani is itself a complete dish. However, they could have tried a Thai version of the Kachumber, which is generally served with Biryani. As the Biryani was already quite wet with the red curry, maybe just a side of crisp-fried onions would have been fine. Frankly, I didn’t quite like calling this dish a Biryani, as it neither tasted like a Biryani, nor was the texture like a Biryani. Maybe they should rethink on the name of this dish. Overall, the “so-called” Thai Chicken Biryani was different and flavourful.
The Fresh Strawberry Fruit Cream as a dessert is no doubt quite vintage, but it is not something that food aficionados would rave about. It is a very simple dessert that comes together in no time. I think, the chef should rethink about using the elements in this dessert and create something unique with strawberry, cream and fruits! Even the Shahi Tukda was not upto my liking. It was dry, dense and lacked the oomph.
Not quite satisfied with the desserts, the Mangalorean Jaggery Custard came on my special request. Although it looked quite average, the very first spoonful was enough to drive me crazy about this dessert. If you appreciate the taste of good-quality jaggery, this dessert will be the perfect thing to end your meal. I loved the occasional bites of crunchy cashewnuts, while slurping the gooey, creamy desi wonder. Here’s the dessert!
As Bombay Vintage opens its doors in South Mumbai, the ever-exploring foodie Mumbaikars have a brand new place to go. It is a fantastic place to chill-out with your favourite drink, without making a hole in your pocket. The décor is spot-on and is therapeutic. The starters are very well-planned and are a jewel in the Bombay Vintage menu. There are good main-course dishes, served impressively in dabbas or pressure cookers. The desserts need refinement and innovation. Also, as of now, they do not have Parsi dishes in their menu, which is a bit surprising, as Parsi food is one of the prominent cuisines in Mumbai. I also expect that someday, the Mohammed-Ali-Road-special Ramzan delicacies will appear in the Bombay Vintage menu in new Continental-fusion avatars. Chef Rosario, being such an innovative chef with diverse food experiences, will surely continue to surprise me with good food. The initial, experimental menu at Bombay Vintage has got some dishes that are extremely good, and some which need modification. As the menu keeps changing and they are open to suggestions, I hope I will be happier and more satisfied the next time I visit there.
Address: Bombay Vintage, Opposite Regal Cinema, Indian Mercantile Mansion, Regal Circle, Madame Cama Road, Colaba, Mumbai.
For reservations: 022-30151662