Thinking about the word ‘comeback’ conjures up ideas of film stars who disappear off the Hollywood map for a while, only to turn up a year or so later in a blockbuster, complete with a new sense of style, a new haircut and a refreshed attitude towards life. When we think of comeback in the food world, we think about restaurants that closed their shutters for a while, went away for a rejuvenating holiday and came back with a new look, a new menu and more to offer their customers.
The perfect example of a restaurant that recently staged a comeback is The Daily Bar & Kitchen in Mumbai. Before its sabbatical, the bar was known as The Daily and was a tribute to newspapers, with placards of positive news stories scattered around the restaurant.
Today, the bar retains its commitment to positive news and vibes, but does so in an infinitely more chic way, with monochrome decor, an ancient type writer nestled in one corner and a wishing well in the bar’s outdoor space.
Adding to its more grown up appeal, the bar has introduced an all new food menu, recognising, as we all do when we grow up, that extensive drinking must be accompanied with constant eating, unless we want to wake up with head throbbing, nauseating hangovers the next morning.
Entering The Jazz Age
Early on Monday night we stepped into The Daily Bar & Kitchen to check out the new vibe and taste the new additions to the menu. Immediately, we felt as though we had been transported to the Jazz Age; the space was reminiscent of jazz lounges from the 1920s that we’ve seen in the movies; indeed with the chic couches upholstered with faux black and white cow skins, tall bar stools and a bartender smoothly mixing up cocktails we felt like we had stepped into one of those classic black and white movies ourselves.
Heavily excited by the vibe, we immediately ordered ourselves some of the bar’s signature cocktails. The Shimmer Ball, a gin based concoction with chamomile tea with hints of cranberry and dates arrived at our table first; with a beautiful balance of sweet (from the cranberry) and strong (from the generous amount of gin) it was the perfect way to start our drinking session. The Elysium had a similarly impressive balance with the strength of whisky and vermouth broken up by sweet apple juice, dates and a cheeky dash of curry leaves.
As we enjoyed our drinks, we devoured a plate of Drunken Prawns served on a slice of garlic bread, made up of tender, soft prawns that were flambéed in aniseed liquor which gave them a subtly sweet taste. Topping the prawns was a buttery garlic sauce that balanced out the sweetness. We then moved on to a plate of Pulled Pork Sliders, in which tender pulled pork, flavoured with a heady BBQ rub was stuffed into a small, yielding bun.
Along with the sliders, we ordered our next round of cocktails, from the bar’s molecular cocktail menu. The Gypsy Queen arrived at our table with as much fanfare as a real gypsy queen would have. Made up of a whisky base with cinnamon, cloves to give it a dash of spice and peach for some sweetness, the cocktail was elevated by the server infusing it with apple wood smoke at our table giving it a heady, woody taste. Similarly, the Pure Refection, a gin and lemon grass based drink arrived at our table with a flask of lemon grass dry ice smoke that enveloped us with a lovely smell and the cocktail with a zesty flavour. Flavours aside, both the smoke and the potent cocktails has me truly believing we were in an old black and white film set in the 1920s.
As I stubbornly tried to convince my dining partner that we were indeed characters in a glamorous film, he decided that perhaps I should have something more to eat. And so, we ordered the Smoked Barbeque Chicken Filo and the Kasundi Flavoured Seafood Flat Bread. Topped with three cheeses and a mix of seafood (calamari, prawns and rawas), the flat bread was a robust dish that would have made a meal in itself.
Meanwhile, we thought the Smoked Barbeque Chicken Filo was the Bohemian Rhapsody of filo pastries; i.e filled with finesse and technique that made for a beautiful, flavourful medley. The buttery filo pastry made a perfect, light wrap for the shreds of BBQ chicken inside.
While we were rhapsodising about the filo dish, our main course of Coffee Spiked Spare Ribs arrived at our table. The ribs were, once again deliciously spiced with that delicious BBQ rub that was accentuated by a not-too-strong flavour of the coffee and serves with a side of fresh asparagus.
Cocktails Over Desserts
The Daily Bar & Kitchen does have some interesting sounding dessert options like the Ricotta & White Chocolate Cheesecake and the Sambuca Spiked Crème Brulee, but we decided to give them a miss, wanting to leave with the taste of the beautifully crafted cocktails in our mouths.
We walked out with the glowing feeling of a night extremely well spent. To be honest, bars can very often get away with serving some not-up-to-the-mark dishes, as they believe that customers’ taste buds will be glossed over by alcohol. The Daily Bar & Kitchen, we’re happy to report does no such thing. The food is completely on par with the drinks, both of which display finesse, a great amount of technique and attention to minute details.
With its delicious fare and sophisticated decor, The Daily Bar & Kitchen is akin to the old black and white classic that it reminds us of; an experience that must be revisited again and again.