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Farzi Café, Masala Library, Pa Pa Ya and now MasalaBar all have one thing in common (apart from, of course, the fact that they are run by the same company): they all serve excellent food. Each restaurant has its own charm and vibe with different dishes but one out of these four is a wee bit different. Masala Bar (just like the name suggests) is first and foremost a bar. It has got a gorgeous view with its envious location on Carter Road across the sea. This modern sheesh mahal with its cutwork glass interiors and sexy dramatic lighting (using just candles) makes this spot unlike any other. Come sunset and then nightfall, this space morphs into one of the city's most buzzing spots in town.
To be fair, at night, when it is packed to the gills, even if you are lucky enough to snag a table, you do not end up eating much. Besides a couple of nibbles between knocking back some of their unique cocktails, it is hard to do justice to a bar menu. Then again, this is so much more than just a bar menu, which is why after a successful launch, Masala Bar is officially open for lunch. This is actually such a welcome addition because, apart from enjoying the ambience (which is dramatically different in the day), it is a joy to be able to eat at leisure without someone bumping into you and when you can actually see the prettily decorated plates. While candlelight is romantic, it is terribly inconvenient. Lunching here is a delight with their extended tapas menu, especially in this weather as the monsoons have hit Mumbai with a vengeance.
The focus is mostly on tapas but there is a small section for mains, salads and desserts as well. The fun part is sticking to the tapas menu and trying different dishes. There is no set cuisine but you will find a lot of Indian flavours and lots of mixture or fusion dishes that they manage to pull off well, such as their risotto phirni (which, to be honest, sounded terrible but turned out to be the most delicate and divine dessert). We would suggest trying their pan-tossed mushrooms with khari naan khatai bruschetta, a wonderful earthy diced mushroom dish served on little khari biscuits made in-house. The papdi pizette is made with sweet potato mash served on a puri with a piece of star fruit and some pomegranate. It is definitely the most unusual but delicious version of chaat.
Sliders, calamari, bheja fry, stuffed chillies, French fries, khichadi or tikkas. This menu includes almost anything and everything but in very different and funky avataars. A great spot to unwind and enjoy a lazy lunch with friends minus the thumping loud music and the constantly jostling and shoving. As we are always on the hunt for new places to eat at and a different menu or ambience, pop into Masala Bar – you will not be disappointed.
Follow Roxanne @The Tiny Taster