A long escalator builds appetite, and high ceilings allow you to breathe like a glass of red wine; someone will swirl you around soon enough – it is the end of a work day after all. Your 8 pm ‘phew’ will turn to ‘Foo’, and although the Negroni you're sipping is woefully weak, the expanse of a big bar and the buzz of cool beats will make you happy.
We’ve visited Foo at lunch and dinner, a new bar and restaurant from the stables of the Tham Brothers (KOKO, The Good Wife). It is located at Lower Parel and houses a faux Sakura tree in case you are confused about its kitchen’s affinity, as well as the sake barrels seen outside Japan’s Meiji shrines.
The cocktails at Foo are thought up by slick mixologist Dimi Lezinska, but the ones that we sample lack punch. A Foo Spritz (Foo Campari, sparkling wine, Svami cucumber tonic water and Maraschino) is coral coloured and too mild; the same goes for a Yuzu Negroni (gin, Foo Campari, sweet vermouth, yuzu, and maraschino) that lacks yuzu’s trademark acidity; even a Boulevardier is watered down. Turn your attention instead towards a decent sake menu.
Our small plates are well priced and competent but not stand-out, which leads us to believe that Foo is meant to be a big-tent eating experience that aims to please hungry herds of harried shoppers and pods of suited colleagues. Thin-skinned dim sum present as trios; try the edamame version and skip dumplings stuffed with daikon and Peking chilly oil, in which the crunch of daikon is conspicuously absent. Sadly, sushi too is also inconsistent across our two visits – on one night we love a spicy uramaki with fried shishito peppers, avocado, and chilli crisps, but at our Saturday lunch, its ingredients don’t feel fresh.
Other dishes we enjoyed: salmon sake ceviche is bright and fresh, and its tangy broth has a welcome kick. Miso soup is everything we want it to be. Note: a tray of four sauces presented at the start of the meal (green Foo sauce is for those seeking heat), serves us well with appetisers that need to be elevated, but also with our order of chicken gyoza Nikkei style, which is fried to a satisfying crunch.
The Main(s) Act
Main dishes are tastier, so do resist the Asian-eatery urge of filling up on small plates. Our chicken chilli oil and spicy lemongrass fried rice are both fragrant and fulfilling, while Hakka noodles are nicely flavoured and satisfying enough to eat on their own. End with black sesame marble cheesecake that is as bitter and nutty as we’d hoped it would be.
The days at Foo offer swathes of sunrays, and the nights have that reliably seductive glow that the Thams have always offered Bombay’s nocturnal beings, capricious dim sum not withstanding.
Getting There: Phoenix Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, call 8657407778, open from noon to 1am daily. A meal for two costs approximately Rs 3,000 with drinks.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
This review was contributed by Aatish Nath, a freelance food and drink writer.
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