It feels pretty silly, skulking around Todi Mills in the rain, schlepping up a fire escape and banging on a big black door – no entry without a password! – only to find ourselves on the upper (and currently empty) first floor of Thirsty City, completely unchanged except that a majority of the hanging bulbs have been switched off, and the indoor staircase is bizarrely swathed in black cloth.
This is Remo’s, a not-so-secret speakeasy that “opened” last week. What does feel fresh though, is a short, sharp drinks menu with contributions from some impressive cocktail bars in Hong Kong and Singapore, including COA, Operation Jagger and 81/2 Otto e Messe Bombana, whose Devender Kumar Sehgal told us he’d be guest bartending for a couple of nights next month, August 22nd to 24th.
We start with a gin, tomato and mozzarella concoction that is bizarrely served in a wide, shallow dish with a long straw. We try and go along, dear reader, but only two sips in and we can’t help but as for it in a proper glass. The drink itself is overpowered by the weird serving mechanism, and we can barely remember what it tastes like.
Lingering on the palate for much longer is a gorgeously smoky sake negroni credited to Neon Pigeon in Singapore, buoyed by hints of rosemary. We order multiple rounds of this, as well as Churchgate, Devender’s drink, which tastes like the best kind of vacation: soaked in rum, with notes of tamarind and jaggery. A couple of these and we can’t help but (drunk) dial him in Hong Kong, just to say hello.
Harder to enjoy is Horchate, a confusing cocktail that smells of malt but tastes sweet and sour; and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, where the coffee overpowers other good things like rum and chocolate. Plus it’s served with a singed pinecone that feels like something we once found in a musty old attic.
For those of you not up to the theatrics, Remo’s offers three standard, solid G&T combinations, as well as olives, decent guac and satisfyingly plump hot dogs to line your stomach.
They may seem boring at first, but trust us, by the end of your evening here you’ll be thankful for the simple things.
Getting there: Back of Thirsty City 127, first floor, Todi Mills, Lower Parel, Rs 700 for a Churchgate cocktail, entry by password only, which is not hard to coax out of a Thirsty City employee.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
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