Don't Let the Rain Get You Down - Double Restaurant Review

And so it, and not without much wait, that the monsoons are here. Gurgling, spitting kind of rains. Just spent an entire late afternoon on the office terrace top, admiring the city view. Time is upon us, dear friends, to abandon all attachments with dry feet and designer dresses, and if you haven’t already, dig out those umbrellas from their summer graves.

Also, eat. Eat at new places, because Mumbai becomes prettier, cooler and fresher just as the Monsoons are setting in. Any longer you wait, and you will be wading through brown gooey muck that used to be our roads, cursing the ripples in the human gene pool that caused you to be born in the Maximum City. A city of non-stop rain and monsoon pain.

Speaking of eating, which is not new to this blog, some food bloggers, including yours truly, were subjected to free food across many many restaurants across the city, as the management enthusiastically revamped the menu to suit the current food trends across the country. The two such events to which I was invited were at the Ibar at Bandra, and Loca Loca at Khar. Both being primarily Pub joints, with a decently varied food offerings, are great places to rush to, while attempting hopelessly to stay dry during the soon to be incessant downpours.

First up is Ibar, located in a quaint lane in Bandra Reclamation, and popular with Mumbai’s alternate culture and poetry seekers. Ibar has already made a name with the wild childs of Mumbai, being a great place to drop in for not too expensive drinks and quite interesting if not too eclectic cuisine. They recently decided to expand and glamorize their menu with some new babies to lure in a slightly varied crowd. Ibar already has thumbs up from many patrons for its interesting concept including ipads for menus and interactive, touch sensitive table. A new menu would, for sure, bring some spunk back into old relationships and hopefully bring in new footfalls.

We sampled, among other things, Cajun Spiced potatoes, a sweet and buttery melange of baby potatoes with a blue cheese dip, bathed in red chilli, cumin, coriander and lime juice. Also starring were Tiger prawns glazed in honey and then coated in black sesame, and these are bound to become very popular among the lovers of the IBar brand of finger foods. A perfect partner for their crunch were the Camembert Jalapenos, served with a Mango-Jalapeno dip. I know no one who’d complain about this combination. Great to go with your drinks is the Chefs Special kebab, an Iranian preparation of chicken-meat cutlet rounded off with a light sour cream dip. My absolute favourite were the beer Batter Fish Fingers, a lovely dish of Basa fillet marinated with olive oil, chives and coriander, salt pepper coated with a beer batter and deep fried served with fries and tartar dip.

Beer Batter Fish Fingers

Cajun Spiced Potatoes

Camembert Jalapeno

Coconut Crusted Chicken

Honey Glazed black Sesame Prawns

Mushroom Foccacia 

Shanghai Chicken
Since food at a pub is mostly a match for the drinks, we chased ours with a heady combination of Chocolate Martinis, Kamikaze Shot with a beer and lime foam, Mai-Tais and an Apple Sangria with black grape caviar – with strawberry and tequila infused jelly.

Apple Sangria

Black Grape Mojito


Mai Tai
Over great food and great conversation, the unanimous opinion of the food bloggers was that the new menu at iBar will most definitely work its magic, provided the quality of service and taste remains crisp even under the wilting weather conditions. I can most definitely state that I will be back for more, because for over a year now, I have been a regular, free sampling dinners notwithstanding.

Source: www.thetinytaster.com

Next up is Loca Loca, which is a bit of a bummer to locate because it’s so deep inside a labyrinth of lanes in an already confusing Khar area. But trust your rain-drenched soul’s desire to party and drag your nearly wet feet there for a slice of the Cuban spirit, if not soul. It’s a, well, Cuban themed bar and lounge, and I need to say this right at the beginning, is a great place for vegetarian pub clingers. Yup, vegetarians. Because of all the dishes that were served to a select group of opinionated foodies, the shining stars were, invariably, vegetarian dishes.

Up first was the Veg platter with melted cheddar cheese on corn cobs, potato wedges, cauliflower fritters & cheese chocolate balls. Yes, cheese and chocolate, together. Go outside, scream a little and then come inside, because there is more to come. There was a Mexican bhel which had the eaters divided over whether it was appropriately unique or just well, a Mexican Bhel. I decided to give this debate a miss, since no daddy of mine came up with that recipe and moved on to the Non Veg platter: Tiny prawn fritters, chicken chocolate mole, creole chicken fingers and caliente chicken wings. Some stuff was worth remembering, others, not so. But nobody died at the table because they were too busy drooling all over the striking rainbow of Cubanitos including watermelon, strawberry, pineapple, the Miami mojito and the vodka sangria. I see this colorful assortment of sunshiny happiness bringing a lot of cheer to many damp souls this monsoon. 

Mexican Bhel

Cuban Ham Sandwich

Non Veg Platter

Our Drinks!

Pork Sliders

Potato Skins

Sushil showing his love for the Loca Omelet 

Orange and Parmesan Crust Paneer

Paneer Sliders

Mojo Bay Prawns

Fish and Chips

I personally wouldn't recommend the Roast Pork Sliders, but I seriously believe that they are on the menu for a reason, and someone somewhere is living their life to just pop one into their mouth, and it could be you! But make sure that Jerk Potato Skins, and Orange and Parmesan Crusted paneer has been had during any of your visits to Loca Loca, because these two made our day for us. Paneer Sliders and Mojo Bay Prawns also made an appearance, but were kind of side kicks to their more illustrious vegetarian friends. Like I said, it’s Pub heaven for you meat haters out there. There was also a Cuban ham Sandwich and Loca Omelets somewhere, but to me, they were just a fleeting glimpse of happiness on other people’s faces, so I am assuming they were good.

So there, two places for you to enjoy the upcoming rains. Drink up, eat up, and keep smiling. They might not keep you dry, but they will keep you fed, and that’s not too bad. 

All IBar Photographs, Courtesy : IBAr

All Loca Loca Photographs, Courtesy, Kumar Jhuremalani

1 comment:

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