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19.06.2017

What to feel when you hear that a bar is going to offer single malts from 70 countries: dread at the coming single-malt drought of the world, or relief that something will help cure business district blues the next time you must be in these parts? 

Best to suspend extreme emotions: Burn, BKC’s new “kitchen and malt room,” may promise a United Nations General Assembly of whiskies in its publicity material, but for now, it hasn’t done much more than add an Amrut, Macallan and Monkey Shoulder to its collection of Scotch fire-waters. All the Hakushus and Slyrs Sherry Editions must be waiting for you -- and this bar -- to turn older.

Upon entry, Burn looks indistinguishable from a neon-lit piece of set dressing from Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, and seems less like a malt room than a chocolate malt room. This is the all-day diner; the bar lies beyond, and offers the comfort of utterly unsurprising wood panelling, a roomy, elegantly curving bar and serving staff in bowties and waistcoats whose smiles never flag for the duration of our meal.

Both an old-fashioned and a whiskey sour, made with the bar’s base of Teacher’s, are drinkable once you’ve nosed through the crush of ice with which each glass is topped up. Once these are drained, a server offers to get the bartender to make us off-menu whiskey cocktails to follow up. The results are predictably delicious, because if you make a whiskey sour with Laphroaig -- which is essentially what we get -- it’s going to taste like sin, isn’t it? Our companion gets another single malt cocktail whose name our server can’t tell us, but agrees that it’s “like a mojito but with Jim Beam.” No complaints on a monsoon night -- this is refreshing and warming all at once.

What to feel when you hear that a bar is going to offer single malts from 70 countries: dread at the coming single-malt drought of the world, or relief that something will help cure business district blues the next time you must be in these parts? 

Burn’s food menu, designed along the lines of "things drunk Indians want," is un-snobbish and tasty-looking. We pair our chicken kalmi kebabs with sweet potato fries that come with a chive and sour cream sauce. If the potato didn’t come with the distinct taste of something that’s been dunked once too often in the fryer, the chips would have been perfectly fine. As it is, the good first impression is left to a softly-grilled kalmi that dissolves like candy in the mouth.

This is the only unquestionable hit of the night: while nothing at Burn tastes badly off, it feels like the kitchen is still finding its feet. A trio of chicken, lamb and seafood sliders does perfectly well-seasoned patties (yes, even the fish) but chucks away its advantage with slightly dry bread. The citrus and garlic on marinated grilled prawns do their job like restrained, well-behaved adults, but the prawns themselves taste a bit like they were just popped out of a freezer. And we really wish the mutton seekh kebabs had dispensed with the flim-flam -- a dab of cheesy mayo-like paste inside each kebab -- and concentrated on finding juicy meat instead. A kebab is allowed to be greasy and fulfilling, especially if it’s going down with the bill for that Balvenie.

We leave just as a first wave of neon pink gowns floats in, carried out on our own little cloud of peat and woodsmoke from the Laphroaig. The nicest surprise of the night comes from the commons across the road, where two dhol groups are entering late-night battle with each other in preparation for Ganesh festivities. At least someone in BKC is setting fire to the rain.

Getting there: 19, Pinnacle Corporate Park, next to Trade Centre, Bandra-Kurla Complex. A meal for two with two rounds of drinks (but without the good whiskey) will cost around Rs 4,500. 

Accessibility: No wheelchair access, bathrooms only accessed by climbing a step.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.

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