“If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.” – Fernand Point
Restaurants serving Modern Indian cuisine have been sprouting up in many places in and around Mumbai in the last two years. In November 2016, Craft bar entered Mumbai’s restaurant scene to find itself competing with some well established giants serving similar cuisine like Cafe Haqq se, Farzi Cafe,Veranda in Bandra, etc. to name a few! While the concept is similar and predominantly revolves around showcasing some excellent culinary skills by serving the long lost regional Indian cuisines with a modern twist and artistic display, what makes them stand apart is the fact that the entire menu focuses on healthy and low-fat cooking without compromising on the taste factor, thereby keeping the essence of the cuisine alive.
The decor is bright and colourful with ethnic and contemporary design and walls adorned with hand-made craftwork done by the staff. The dimly lit interiors and the loud (sometimes unpleasantly loud) upbeat music further gives this restaurant a youthful and lively touch.
They had a good variety of cocktails to offer, specially curated by the lead mixologist Mr. Vijay, that were interestingly divided into different sections.
The vodka based Volcano was an instant hit, courtesy the well balanced combination of sweet and tart cranberries and the zingy, sweet and citrus flavour imparted by orange zest. The tequila and triple sec based Explosive wasn’t as impressive as it had an overpowering distinct tart-like flavour (similar to that of cucumber) of melonthat effectively masked the spicy, sweet and mild citrusy flavour of ginger.
IPL (ICE-MUD PREMIERE LEAGUE)
The citrusy and fruity Clean Bold was a delightful and potent concoction comprising vodka, rum, gin, tequila and triple sec. The vodka based Hit Wicket comprising Californian grapes and fresh mint having a sweet, strong and refreshing cool flavour was again a good concoction.
Both, the orange and lemon Ice Bergs were equally good again! While the whisky based orange Ice Berg had a sweet flavour with a hint of sourness, the vodka based lemon ice berg revealed sharp acidic and tangy notes.
Catalan Seafood Stew
The mild and earthy flavour of the squid rings, the springy and juicy prawns, fresh Salmon and the appealingly chewy and mellow clams that had wonderfully soaked up the flavours of the fresh and hearty broth together constituted an absolutely soul-warming treat!
Pirates Pepper Pot
The starchy and sweet flavours of potato, sweet potato and plantains and the sweet and faint bitter notes of the bell peppers in a Caribbean styled broth having a strong yet appealing flavour of coconut milk was yet another hit!
Glassy Classy Salad
The marvellous combination of citrus fruits, dry fruits, cherries, tomatoes, onions and black olives with a citrus dressing resulted in an irresistibly nutty, citrusy and sweet salad with faint bitter notes. While the salad was a hit, the texture of the crispy thin toasted bread loaf served alongside was too dry for the palate.
The moderately thick skins of the momos let out faint smoky notes imparted by the charred specs due to cooking in clay oven and revealed generous amounts of tightly packed, flavourful, tender and juicy minced chicken within.
Pav Bhaji Bruschetta
The traditional preparation of moderately spicy and chatpata pav bhaji was served with an interesting twist on a crunchy buttered and adequately toasted bread which was neither too greasy nor too dry.
Paneer Tikka Tart
While the cottage cheese chunks were cushiony soft, smooth and as tender as possible yet well held it’s shape and form with it’s natural sweetness and nutty flavour well retained, the baked tart shells were relatively dense compared to the ones served in most restaurants yet crunchy; and together they turned out to be a delectable treat indeed!
Solkadi Shots With Prawn Golguppa
The solkadi served in narrow glasses was adequately tangy, sour and refreshing with faint spicy notes. The prawns stuffed into the puris were juicy with wonderful earthy notes. The interestingly unusual texture and taste of the golguppa puris deserve a special mention here as they were reminiscent of that of rice papads in a way.
Bacon Wrapped Roast Chicken
The juicy and succulent chicken stuffed with cheddar was wrapped thoroughly in bacon and served with creamy, smooth and starchy preparation of the dauphinoise potatoes in a pool of port wine reduction. The reduction well complemented the sharp, full and fine flavour of cheddar but sadly, was a bit more salty for my liking.
This was an absolutely creamy lasagne with tender, moist and flavourful chicken and plenty of supple cheese between layers of adequately baked lasagne sheets having an appealing chewy texture that marvelously revealed a lava of thick, gooey and creamy melted cheese oozing out from the centre as we sliced through it.
Sweet and moist gajar halwa stuffed between layers of moist, dense, fudgy, warm, rich and bitter-sweet chocolate brownie dusted with castor sugar was an unbelievably superb combination that so effortlessly melted in the mouth. The chocolate sauce drizzled all over, added some more moisture and deliciousness.
Banana Flip Tart
This fresh, sweet, dense and soft banana caramel resting on a firm base of well aggregated short crust pastry was yet another stellar dessert in all it’s simplicity!
The service was very warm and welcoming. The manager and the attendants were cheerful and kind hosts. The service was reasonably fast to begin with and gradually slowed down as the restaurant got occupied to it’s full capacity. Our attendant for the evening had effective communication skills and was well versed with the menu.
Beverages – 4.5/5
Food quality – 4.5/5
Food quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4/5