Finally, a wine bar in Mumbai that can afford to act corky. And yet it doesn’t. The Wine Rack, Lower Parel’s, new bar and restaurant, stocks 300 vino labels from over 45 regions around the world, and still manages to be... quite cajzh.
The napkins, for instance, aren’t too starched and noses aren’t high up in the air. In fact, the vibe at The Wine Rack is deliciously relaxed, unpretentious, and downright fun. The bar also stocks some of the coolest single malt, cognac and gin brands, staffed by a mixologist imported from Thailand.
Tonight, captain-on-service Dipankar takes us on a tour of this tannin salon, proving that he not only knows his way around the wine, but the food menu too, curated by former Masterchef Australia contestant and Goa restaurateur Sarah Todd.
Getting us started on this wine flight is a Piccini Merlot, warm, fragrant and fruity, with enough body to match the restaurant’s moody setting and a portion of soft-shelled crab pakoras from Ms Todd's Indian street food menu. Great on paper, but in reality the dish is ruined by stale crab meat. Making up nicely is a salad with peanuts and green arugula cutting through millennial pink pomelo.
An Argentinian Malbec, crisp and bold, with a nice acidic finish, is perfect against the eye-wateringly spicy greens of Father-in-Law Eggs, ie, Thai Son-In-Law Eggs that skipped a generation. These are made from quail eggs that are coated in minced chicken and deep-fried to perfection.
If it’s indulgence you’re after, don’t miss this: plump chargrilled tiger prawns, drunk on champagne, made to rest on fettuccini with slivers of radish. This is exactly the sort of sophisticated dish you’d expect at a wine bar and is best paired with a honeydew basil vodka martini, cushioned by a pillowy head of froth: balanced, mellow and utterly delicious.
If you prefer a light main dish, order crusted snapper with chipotle and fries. The fish, we note with some relief, is fresh and flakey and the fries, crisp and perfectly seasoned.
Although chocolate and chilli may no longer be the exciting duo it was a decade ago, it can still take your breath away when done right, and the chocolate chilli mousse at The Wine Rack is a prime example. Imagine rich, creamy mousse with a sheath of vanilla and paprika anglaise that slides off like a velvet coat but also cuts through the chocolate.
Winter is almost be over, so we hang on to this lingering chill(i) in the air.
Getting there: Ground floor, Highstreet Phoenix, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Meal for two, with drink is approximately Rs 4,800.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.
Accessibility: One step off the main walkway.
This review was contributed by Anisha Rachel Oommen, co-founder of The Goya Journal.
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