The thought of going to Sidecar for a late Thursday night drink was initially exciting; like Sazerac, we thought this place, with its ode to a single cocktail name, might be serious about its poison. Unfortunately, no such luck. With no booze licence yet, it is difficult for Sidecar to transport you to the depths of post-WWI Europe, when the cocktail was first invented. The vintage remains a loose reference, in spirit and experience.
It does quite quickly gain a checkmark for design, though. Right from the subtle signage that leads you in to the bar/café, to the cleverly textured walls, it is clear that someone worked hard to make this place pretty. Comfortable too: the couches on the second floor lend themselves to good, deep chat. Mid-century cane chairs make their appearance of course. But no complaints – with a nice view of a park, well-lined up artwork featuring cartoon dandys, and PCO-esque lighting, we’re not at all unhappy about grabbing a table by the bookshelves and seeing where things take us. (The library that encases the most comfortable tables is impressive, too, thanks to Sidecar’s collaboration with Hachette.)
Sadly, much of the good story is limited to this textbook aesthetic. Once you realize that you can’t actually open, let alone access, many of the books, you may get a whiff of the real character of the place – pretty-ish face, little substance to follow. The menu reflects the same ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,’ philosophy. It features classically cool food, we suppose, like jackfruit tostadas and burrata eggs. But with food so good you might cry at Artusi next door, and the Mother Diva in the same market – something, anything original, would’ve been so much wiser.
We order from the cool list – surprisingly missing pulled pork tacos—and go with the jackfruit tostadas. They are flavourful, hearty, and well-cooked, but invoke nothing Mexican, even from a distance. Pork belly yakitori, which we try next, comes with a sweet apple dressing. We’re into the pork-apple combo, but this dish ends up being cloyingly sweet, with too much sugar in both dressing and meat. Perhaps it reflects not the original recipe, but the pre-pubescent heart-ache music playing a little too loud through the speakers.
We put a lot of faith in our last dish, a hot pot noodle bowl, hoping it will turn things around. Instead, with its mushy-saucy-hard-to-locate flavour, it ends up just about filling our stomachs, making us more keenly aware of our sobriety.
To shake things off, we take a quick walk upstairs. Lo: what we thought was a cute little bar reveals itself to a giant third floor, terrace on top. Our only thought is that those sidecars better emerge fast, and they better be earth-shifting and no less, because oh – are there some gaps to fill.
Getting there: M-29, GK-II market. A meal for two without drinks costs around Rs. 3,000.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
Accessibility: bathroom is on the top floor, inaccessible via wheelchair.
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