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Critic's Review

Updated 36 minutes ago

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Hakkasexysan

He ate here, the night before, with Deepika Padukone, who loves the brand new Hakkasan. As does Katrina Kaif who is already a regular here. And both were first talent-spotted by acelensman Atul Kasbekar, who makes it a ritual to eat in the London Hakkasan whenever he is there. Lunching with us, today, is yet another protege of his, Kingfisher calendar covergirl and budding actress Anjali Lavania at Hakkasan - Japanese food and pranic healing fan. Passionate about perfection and food, Atul waited tables at restaurants in California while studying photography in the prestigious Brooks institute.

I admit upfront, I've been a fan of the culinary trailblazing founder Alan Yau ever since I met him and ate in all his London-based restaurants (both the Hakkasans, Sake no hana, Yauatcha, the VFM Wagamama and Cha cha Moon). Does the fact that he has sold Hakkasan to the King of Abu Dhabi who (with Kishor Bajaj) has opened in Mumbai change anything? I eat here thrice to find out.

FROM LONDON TO BANDRA

It's obviously just a short step away. Everything is identical (almost). Awkward location (in the basement in London, on the second floor in Mumbai). Both have an uber cool crowd in a sultry oriental space, manned by stylish waitresses. Both, are more of a night out, with pulsating music rather than a quiet fine dine. Profusion of intricately carved wooden screens, dim, mood lighting, rich wood-paneled furniture and rippling light on the walls complete the decor.

The food? My favourites original Hakkasan classics sparkle with the yin yang balance of textures and flavours. Showmanship is in the DNA of the dishes. Be it the sweet heat of the unerringly roasted silver cod with champagne and honey (Rs 2850) or the grilled Sha cha silver cod in a barbecue sauce (Rs 2850) or the Chillean sea bass. Pipa duck, pork belly too, but for me it's the deeply flavourful tenderloin, (Rs 1,950) moist with dark soya sauce, crispy duck salad vibrant with pomelo and pine nuts (Rs 1,650), which works the magic. Plump with flavour dimsum (especially the scallop and the seabass) too. The hugely popular deepfried soft shell crab with its slivers of almonds and curry pata is reminiscent of aamchi 'chivda”.The importing of the chefs, the recipes and the ingredients pretty much ensures that London has come to Bandra.

BANDRA MUCH BETTER

In many ways, I prefer aapun ka Bandre version …neither the bar area nor the dining area is as pitch dark nor the seating as uncomfily low as that in London. Enter the fragrant lift (which has music) and you are whisked into a more refined version of London. They've specially created 25 per cent of the menu for vegetarians here. Lofty peaks are reached with the edamame dumplings cloaked in the epircurean equivalent of mink, velvety flavourful with truffle essence. Colours and textures of stir fried sugar snaps and cloud ear mushrooms seduce as do the tofu dishes and the crunchy yet tender fillings of crystal dumpings. Dark chocolate mousse with masala chai granite and refreshing Mandarin sorbets complete the experience.

BANDRA COULD DO BETTER

While some of the dimsum are lacklustre, the 'crispy lotus dumpling” is a deepfried 'bhajia" of strips of wanton skins in a pool of tomato chilli sauce. It bends over backwards to get popular vote and topples into Chindian territory. 'Hand pulled noodles with enoki” comes sans enoki. Plenty of unavailable dishes...gailan, aubergine and okra, mock chicken, jasmine creme brulee to name a few. Pricing? I ate here twice (Rs 9,000 +13,000 for two of us and no alcohol) and once with Atul and Anjali ( paid Rs 11,000, two cocktails included). The pricing of the drinks and the seafood could definitely do with some paring down.

BANDRA BUZZES

Kudos to the elevated Chinese food, in some dishes crunchiness frames succulence in others creaminess is thrust into relief. Hakkasan is all about a sexily glamourous nonstop carnival of sensations and superb cocktails, but it also makes you pay dearly for the adventure, showing as little inhibition with prices as it does with everything -except portions. But it still has us coming back for more.

Critic Review

Nightlife Review

Buzz: 3/5| Décor: 4/5

London’s Michelin-starred Hakkasan, in the middle of 2011 made huge waves when it set up on the second floor in Bandra. However, it has not been rocking as it was when it first set up. Like the other Hakkasans, this one also has an uber-cool crowd in a sultry Oriental space, manned by stylish waitresses. And within the restaurant is Ling Ling… the Lounge which reflects the old-school decadence of Chinoiserie. Here, the 16-metre bar, a mystical melange of blue glass and stainless steel, is the centre of attention. An extraordinary wall of sawn slate provides a dramatic backdrop to the nocturnal bar activity. Ling Ling is punctuated with signature traditionally drawn panels. Profusion of intricately carved wooden screens, dim mood lighting, rich wood-panelled furniture and rippling light on the walls complete the décor. Over 900 bottles of wine and a selection of 125 labels especially chosen to complement Hakkasan’s menu and the sommelier ably assists in doing so. Check out the elegant mirror-panelled whiskey cabinet with its exquisite selection of over a dozen rare old and exclusive Single Malts. Plenty of munchies with the drinks, from crispy rock shrimp and hand-pounded Rock Corn Cakes to Chilli Tamarind with (oven-roasted) Baby Aubergine. Salad Samplers and more. Do ask for over 35 varieties of cocktails prepared with seasonal fresh fruits exotic ingredients. Bartender will shake or stir your martini on your table too (the Litchi and Lemongrass Martini is recommended).

Updated 59 minutes ago

  • Food
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Service
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  • Decor
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The High Street Phoenix location of China Town by Noodle Bar in Lower Parel is now open and completely revamped with a new look! The Khar location continues to "Wok it Up" much to the delight of those who appreciate their tasty VFM fare (please don’t go expecting authentic flavours). Pre-select your vegetables, meats, noodles, rice and sauces and then watch with wonder as chefs toss up your sizzling meal with panache. Sure to make a filling meal, and you can go back to try different sauces and variations in your created dish! Just the way you like it. These contemporary and casual restaurants in mahogany, cream-and-black hues have decorations and upholstery inspired by Chinese calligraphy. From Tom KhaGai to Tom Yam Goong, a wide selection of soups awaits (including the usual suspects like Veg Sweet Corn Soup and Chicken Hot and Sour). Noodles pop up in soups, starters and even sizzlers, taking on many tasty avatars. They are stretched, tossed, pan-fried and served as Hakka, Schezwan, Pad Thai, with Mixed Meat, as Chinese Chop Suey or even American Chop Suey if you prefer. Great choices in rice (too) from Pineapple 'n' Chilli Fried to Moon Fan, San-Am and Peking. Many dishes are priced at Rs.350 or less. Seafood is on the down-low here.

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