When IF.BE—a ten,000-sqft artwork gallery in Ballard Property—opened in April this 12 months, it made the information for being a gorgeous architectural mission housed in a now-defunct 143-year-old ice manufacturing unit. The gallery consists of three artwork areas together with the serene Banyan Tree Cafe. The latter has been constructed round an excellent banyan tree, its complicated community of roots and branches spreading out over the roof. Right here, what’s outdated is revered and preserved and newness is constructed round it. Native Bombay, the brand new restaurant and bar housed inside IF.BE, approaches regional Indian meals with the identical philosophy.
Inside Native Bombay
Very like the remainder of IF.BE, Native Bombay is all uncovered brick partitions and wooden panels. Elements of the unique structure, like a tiny picket door with a rusted lock, have been retained within the area. Whereas the restaurant is up on the primary flooring, whenever you enter—the again entrance of IF.BE on Cochin Avenue—it’s the Native negroni bar that you’re greeted with. Bottles of Campari, gin and vermouth line the cabinets of the island bar, which has a menu rigorously curated by head mixologist Denzil Franklin. “There aren’t a whole lot of bars focussing on Negroni in Mumbai and even the nation,” says Franklin, as he deftly concocts a mix of aromatised wine, gin and campari and pours it into an aeropress with espresso grounds from Chikmagalur in it. “We wish to change the impression that Negroni is a bitter drink that can’t be loved.” He locations the cocktail earlier than me, topping it with three espresso beans. In an effort to make the drink much less intimidating to rookies, all of the Negronis on the menu include flavours that may be simply palatable and even acquainted—coconut and curry leaves, passionfruit, pandan and extra. The Kaapi cocktail affords a refreshing however delicate hit of caffeine, whereas the Coco & Curry is harking back to an fragrant South Indian tadka.
Upstairs on the restaurant, we place our drinks on coasters which are lined with the textual content “something however bland”—a phrase that precisely encompasses the flavours to come back. The intensive meals menu brings collectively meals from Rajasthan, Nagaland, Kashmir, Kerala, Uttarakhand and extra in small and huge plates. There are additionally “Native units”—curated vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus excellent for non-Indian vacationers who need a well-rounded introduction to Indian meals, or diners that don’t wish to browse the 120-item menu. “In the event you go to a restaurant nowadays, it’s possible you’ll get both Mughlai or Goan or South Indian meals,” says chef Bhairav Singh, who comes with over 24 years of culinary expertise at IHG, Accor, Marriott, Hyatt, Oberoi and extra, as he units down a plate of the Bombay Bomb—potatoes full of a sweet-sour-crunchy mixture of Mumbai chaat. “Why not get all of that in a single place?”