Mumbai, yet again, has a themed bar to flaunt. After well curated themes ala Toto’s garage, Hawaiian shack, Rainforest resto bar, Mumbai now has a radio-themed electromagnetic bar named Radio Bar.
Well, to start with, it is one of the well-thought concepts in the city where cafes tend to mushroom wild and stray. Each wall, table, and corner is set to the frequency of the theme and is well executed in terms of planning, collected artifacts, old radio sets and props which are quite a conversation starter as soon as you step into the venue. Three sections – indoor, al fresco and a private dining area, each accompanied with its own well stocked bar, sum up the seating arrangement at the venue.
We settle at one of the indoor tables, to be quickly served their signature drink. Breakfast Martini, priced at INR 420, which brings together gin, triple sec, lemon juice and orange marmalade, shaken in a served without the hawthorn test! Menu proudly reads, ‘Served Shaken, to the sound of Enrique, Jennifer lopez or Shakira.’ Does it live up the expectation ? YES and NO. Quite an ensemble of feelings with this one. The name to begin with. I somehow cannot relate to the term ‘breakfast’ while at a bar, just because one of the ingredients is marmalade. Secondly, the sluggish jam makes it overtly sweet and would definitely be appreciated by the ones who like their drink sweet. I personally think this could be their signature Radio martini instead of the one with vanilla vodka and coffee liqueur, albeit in lesser dosage.
We also tried ‘The Ouch’ (INR 475), where the kind bartender went wild with white rum, gin, vodka, tequila, triple sec, whiskey, blue curacao and Red Bull building up a delicious blue cocktail. Probably, the blue-blooded sibling of a ‘Long Island Ice Tea’. Well built, for sure.
We were enticed by the server to order some anglicized desi twists. Spinach Fritters (INR 245) were crisp on the outside but soft and almost raw from inside. This could have been a frying-error, however, its taste bordered on being average. The bitterness of spinach was well balanced by the addition of carom seeds (ajwain) and gram flour, teamed with jaggery and tamarind chutney.
Next on our mind was pizza. We glanced through the menu and loved the build up around ‘ The RadioBar truffle extravaganza’-Truffle pizza. But glancing through the rates, it became the conversation for the rest of the evening and the morning-after too. Priced at a whopping INR 4500. It certainly would drill a deep hole in our pockets, with a question recurring. Who would visit Radio Bar and order their Truffle load? Probably, this comes in with a vintage radio, in tow. Jokes apart. We settled with the lesser frilled-Artichoke, sundried tomato, Kalamata olive and parmesan (INR 420) with an INR 40 top up, for chicken cravers. It comes plated on a laminated LP record.
The best was unintentionally kept last. Peri peri mascarpone risotto (INR 435), is a true rockstar! Creamy to begin, spurt of spiciness follows and again balances out with the cream cheese.
Overall, drive in straight for the cocktails as meals border around being average; music,
however, ranges from the old world to new and ambience warm and welcoming! My friend Vinita Bhatia, rightly summed our experience at Radio Bar drawing a simile to the frequency of radio channels- Fluctuating bandwidths (Period)