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“I heard something about a bar in the back,” announces a prominent South Bombay socialite, sweeping dramatically into Kala Ghoda Café last Thursday at noon, her eyes glinting behind a pair of rhinestone sunglasses. In tandem, all the lunching-lawyers look up.

Soon, what seems like the entire café is sunk into velvet armchairs the colour of ashes-of-roses or perched on spindly bar stools, having migrated to the back room of KGC, which recently opened as a wine bar. They’ve brought along Akuri eggs and mutton sandwiches from the cafe, washing them down with chilled flutes of champagne and a very drinkable red (Sangiovese Rubicone / Golden Sparrow / Italy). Lunch hour here has never been this sexy.

Truth be told, KGC’s wine bar is far from sexy – it feels more like the drinking room at a gymkhana in Coonoor or Kodaikanal, complete with balding velvet curtains, old school globe lights and a peeling mountain mural that this Scouter found quite charming, even though she was afraid to say so in front of her cooler, eye-rolling friends. There are tables cramped too close together and tall, frosty windows. We plan to come back a lot.

The wine menu is tight and divided into reds, whites and bubbles, with a single sake thrown in for good measure. Alas, no beer yet. “The wines are too young, you know,” an advertising executive from the neighbourhood laments, twirling his fingers in the air to emphasize how startled he was when a red “jumped right at [him]. They need to be more mellow.”

We have no such compunctions as we sniff at our bubbles (Vino Spumante / Casablanca / Nashik) and sip on sake (Nikko Sake, Hokkan / Tochigi, Japan), both of which go surprisingly well with a bowl of salli boti, properly spicy, garnished with a lemon and piled high with potato crisps. This is one of the several dishes the bar menu shares with the outer café, along with mini versions of their healthy pizzas – not in a million years would we recommend a gluten-free crust, dear reader, but if you have to get one, at least the Margarita is topped with real cheese.

New to the bar menu (which kicks in post 4 pm – before that, you can order from the café) are a nicely loaded cheese plate and patatas bravas, a bowlful of wickedly spiced baby potatoes topped with a dollop of sour cream and far, far from the healthy ragi-and-kombucha ingredients that KGC tries very hard to get us to imbibe. We also suggest you talk the staff into bringing you a Choco crunch sundae from the café kitchen. It will change your life, we promise.

Wine, ice cream, the new-car smell in an old-school favorite spot: all you need to make an evening of it. See you there soon, yes?

Getting there: The bar at Kala Ghoda Café, Ropewalk Lane, Kala Ghoda, Rs 2,000 for a meal for two with drinks.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.

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Food & Drink