“Success lies in a masterful consistency around a few fundamentals. It really is simple. Not easy. But simple.” – Robin Sharma
In the hospitality industry, these fundamentals include good food, service, ambience and cost effectiveness. Inconsistency in any of the above fundamentals is sure to affect the dining experience negatively. Such is the case with most party lounges, pubs and clubs anywhere in India where service and sometimes even food takes a back seat, making it quite an average dining experience. While I was hoping that Bombay Adda, the newest pub & party lounge by the Ramee group of hotels that opened its doors to public on June 24th this year in Santacruz, would be breaking this stereotype, I was so dejected to learn otherwise!
Nestled in the 8th and 9th floor of the building, Bombay Adda has a mesmerizing and one-of-a-kind décor owing to the relics of Bombay – the posters of the movie stars from the past, old advertisements, vintage photographs of the city hung from the ceiling, props like the post box, etc adorning the entrance on the 9th floor (where we were seated in). While the 8th floor is reported to have a seating capacity of 90 people, it also doubles as a club that can house upto 300 people at once. The 9th section has split seating which includes an open-air area for sheesha aficionados and an air conditioned section for the rest. It also houses an open kitchen with a dispense bar (no separate bar counter) and plenty of wooden tables, wooden benches, chairs, cushioned tall bar stools and comfortable couches thrown in with adequate space to move around with ease. The dim lighting and the upbeat music (predominantly Pop & EDM) let out strong youthful vibes and brings this place to life, more so as the evening progresses!
“A brand is defined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by the employees.” – Shep Hyken
The service was a nightmare! The management needs to be taught to be hospitable to begin with. And if you think that it could be just one off day or one bad experience, you are mistaken. This was the scenario on a Monday evening when the place was very much empty and gradually began to fill in only later in the night. The indifferent and unconcerned attitude of the staff was clearly the problem; they behaved like they were doing us a favour by serving us. This being the scenario when the restaurant had invited us for food tasting and review, I can only imagine how horrendously low the quality of service can get on any given day for the general public!
There was no one attendant assigned to any particular table so it was all confusion; the result of which the service was damn sluggish. To begin with, it was quite a task to find some staff member to talk to, so as to initiate our food sampling for review. No one bothered to explain us about the cocktails that were brought to our table and all the appetizers served to us were cold (chicken wings being the only exception – were at least lukewarm). This was followed by a never ending waiting period where we spoke to six different staff members to follow up with the mains, but in vain! Even the floor operating head, Mr. Saikiran Chinchankar seemed to have vanished to some no man’s land right after all the swanking introductory speech about how Bombay Adda stood out all over Mumbai as a casual dining place with a difference, never to return! If it wasn’t for the attendant Russel who served us the appetizers pretty fast (after seeing us waiting at the table clueless and helpless for quite a long time) and for Mr. Reeshav (who stepped in towards the end when we had lost all patience and really had tolerated enough) ensuring us that the mains and desserts will be at the table within the next 20 minutes, I would have rated them a zero for their service!
So much for Mr. Saikiran bragging about how the restaurant specializes in fusion food unlike no other pub/lounge in the city, their limited menu was predominantly bar nibbles, fast food, clichéd appetizers, sandwiches and some of Mumbai’s all-time favourite North Indian, Parsi and Pan Asian fare that most pubs and lounges in Mumbai seem to offer (which by the way went with the theme of the restaurant, no doubt) apart from a strictly countable few fusions like the combination of hummus with samosas and mutton kheema on a pizza. However, taste wise the food didn’t disappoint for sure (even if it wasn’t anything unusual or worth raving about) and the pricing was competitive – those according to me, could be the reasons why people still continue to put up with their shoddy service.
This being their signature fusion dish comprised of a crunchy (albeit a tad too oily) samosa resting on a bed of creamy, smooth hummus adorned with appealingly chewy and light textured burghul wheat further adding a nutty flavour to the pungent undertones and faint nuttiness of garlic in the hummus. An amalgamation of a Lebanese dish and Indian fast food snack that this was, the individual elements in the dish tasted perfect but the combination didn’t quite please me.
Balti Spice Chicken Skewers
These perfectly tender and juicy skewered boneless chicken chunks were served in a glass and dressed in oodles of creamy mayonnaise that quite effectively overpowered the mildly spicy flavour and faint smoky notes of the chicken. They should consider not unnecessarily drizzling so much of mayonnaise over the chicken skewers or if the need be, serve the mayonnaise dip separately alongside the skewers.
Hooter’s BBQ Chicken Wings
What I really liked about these succulent BBQ chicken wings is that they were moderately spicy with faint sweet undertones, all courtesy the spicy chlli marinade that they were thoroughly dressed in.
These soft shell tacos were filled in with tender sheekh kebabs and thinly cut strips of purple cabbage, onions, etc adding a little crunch in every bite. The thick dollops of white chutney further imparted some more moisture to the dish.
Masala Fish Fingers
These crispy fried strips of frozen Basa revealed soft and tender fish within and tasted good in all its simplicity.
The achari masala that these otherwise tasteless and extremely flaky frozen Basa chunks were thoroughly smothered in, gave the fish a surprisingly flavourful boost.
Their version of the famed Indonesian shrimp fried rice that this was, it revealed a wonderful aromatic, earthy and smoky flavour but could have been stronger and spicier. While I could appreciate the flavour of sweet soy quite vividly, the characteristic sharp flavour of sambal was quite mellow. The runny yolk of the sunny side up egg placed atop further imparted some egg-y flavour and moisture to the rice. The chicken satay was perfectly done. However, the peanut butter sauce served as an accompaniment was perfect on its own but didn’t quite go well with the rice or the chicken, for me.
Kung Pao Chicken, Hakka Noodles
The Kung Pao Chicken optimally revealed a complexity of flavours which was a well balanced combination of salty, sweet, sour and faintly spicy notes but I couldn’t appreciate the faint nuttiness of cashews that are also present in the dish. The Hakka Noodles were optimally cooked, springy and supple with an appealing chewy texture and mild spicy flavour, but were way too oily. The juliennes of veggies thrown in also added a wonderful crunch in every bite.
Kheema Ghotala Pizza
This supple and loaded thin crust pizza with crisped out edges had hearty proportions of kheema and cheese on a tangy tomato sauce base resulting in a perfect balance of all flavours. However, ‘Kheema Ghotala’ is a misnomer as I couldn’t taste any egg in the pizza. They should, therefore, consider re-naming it as Kheema pizza instead.
This bitter-sweet chocolate mousse served in a martini glass, was adequately creamy with a light and airy texture and was finished off in style with chocolate chips and swirls of chocolate ganache on top.
This bitter-sweet, delicate, light and creamy dessert revealed a mesmerizing robust richness of coffee. The biscotti served along with it, was a fresh and crunchy treat too!
The whisky based Lost Stories was tad too sweet for my liking. The Vodka based Tubelight was a refreshing treat owing to the zesty and citrusy flavour of lemongrass and the tropical fruity tones of pineapple juice. Bitter Truth revealed appealingly subtle smoky and bitter flavours with faint floral notes. The Gin based Gateway To Adda let out too sharp tangy and sour notes for my liking.
Overall, our experience here could have been better if it wasn’t for their horrible service and hospitality, something that I absolutely despised. Their signature cocktail mixes and sheesha seem to be the main attraction here. The food was above average and nothing worth raving about, with only a few dishes that stood out for me.
Food Quality – 3/5
Food Quantity – 3.5/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Service – 0.5/5
VFM – NA (This meal was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to sample their menu).
Will I visit again?.. NEVER!