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13.02.2017

The pursuit of a perfect cocktail, just like that of a unicorn, is fraught with delusion. But living in Mumbai, you know this already. Now what if we told you that we found both on a new rooftop in Kamala Mills?
 
The bar is called Verbena and the unicorn is a mechanical beast that you can believe is real after downing several botanical potions. But the cocktail on the other hand, is far less deceptive. It’s real, the Root Benefits, a concoction that combines Bombay Sapphire, fresh beet juice, kefir lime, basil leaves and vanilla sugar, and makes a well-mixed Michelada look like a clumsy after-thought. This is the best cocktail we’ve had in Mumbai all year, but it’s also the sole reason to visit Verbena. Pre-drink here before you make your real reservation at the mill.
 
A Hunk Of Gurgaon With A Side Of Flowers
 
Straight out of the elevator and into Verbena’s terrace, you experience Gurgaon deja vu, thanks to the raucous corporate party in a neighbouring banquet hall. The sun might just be setting on our Friday evening, but every square foot of this rooftop is accounted for and the music is at nightclub-level decibels. We scurry past the mechanical unicorn and fake bougainvillea bushes into a more sombre dining room that also houses the bar and brewery where taps are currently running dry. This is when you order multiple rounds of Root Benefits, and if you don’t enjoy gin, Botanical Breakfast (a fruity punch of bourbon, OJ and sangria) or Smoked Hibiscus (a whisky sour with a floral bouquet and wood chip smoking) should do the trick.

Root Benefits, a concoction that combines Bombay Sapphire, fresh beet juice, kefir lime, basil leaves and vanilla sugar, makes a well-mixed Michelada look like a clumsy after-thought.

Forget You Read This
 
The food isn’t worth your time, but in case you’re wondering, signature wings at just half a dozen a dish are wincingly overpriced (Rs 475) and served with ketchup-y (not buffalo) sauce; juniper berry chicken tikkas are little more than four regular tikkas (Rs 490 this time); and aside from the addition of food colouring, a trio of hummus are all identically sour and short on seasoning. Even the dozen or so Casava fries (more like well executed sweet potato wedges with a great job on the double frying) don’t justify their price tag (Rs 475).
 
From the other side of the menu dotted with words like quinoa and soya, we order steamed sea bass, under-seasoned and overcooked Bhetki served with stodgy peas and under-roasted root veggies. We can’t face dessert after this.
 
In the weeks to come, when craft beer is on tap, perhaps the sprawling 10,000 square feet beer garden will mean more. Until then, it’s up to you to decide if a fake unicorn and a real gin cocktail are worth the trek.
 
Getting there: 4th floor, Trade View Building, Kamla Mill Compound, Lower Parel, call 33956113. A meal for two with a cocktail each is approximately Rs 5,000.
 
Accessibility: While there are easily accessible elevators to get you to the rooftop, the place does get awfully crowded and the washrooms are off-location.
 
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
 
This review was conducted by Auroni Mookerjee, copywriter, and chef at Grandma Mookerjee’s Kitchen and The Curry Brothers.

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