Address: No 8B & 8C, Groundfloor, Phoenix mall, High-street, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400013 India
Time: 12 Noon to 1 AM
Meals for two: Rs. 2,700
Cuisines: European, North Indian, Continental
Facilities: Wine, Couple Entry Only, Live Music, Wifi
I raise a toast (with fine wine, of course) to the gorgeous super model turned celebrity chef, Sarah Todd and Ashish Dev Kapur’s ‘The Wine Rack’. I raise another toast to my superstar guest Ananya Birla, who, though from India’s legendary industrialist family, is following her dream and rocking the global music world with her songs. I’m all admiration for this young, vivacious, gorgeous, award-winning entrepreneur, singer song writer, and mental health campaigner, who finds time to run a thousand crore Micro-finance Company that offers loans to rural women entrepreneurs. Her very first song made her the first Indian artiste with an English song to go platinum.
With us is Ananya’s brilliant “Sam mommy” — vocal coach, singer and performer Samantha Edwards, who I’ve known earlier as a gifted patisseur. At The Wine Rack, we have a fun, giggly, chatpata afternoon and I am happily surprised to learn that grandad Aditya Birla sang well and father Kumar Mangalam Birla sings brilliantly, too. Mom Neerja is a talented dancer and also ensures they eat healthy and tasty at home. Ananya loves Japanese and Lebanese food, is a well-travelled gourmet, and along with Samantha, has dined in all the gourmet capitals of the world.
We unanimously give thumbs up to ‘The Wine Rack’. I go back on a later date with a friend for a wine paired dinner and come back equally delighted.
The Wine Rack, Lower Parel, Mumbai: DECOR
It’s located in the kitschy culinary carnival of Phoenix High Street. We love its stylish warm colour palette and industrial finish. Three rooms with different moods, (a lounge, bar with a hand painted mural and shop, and a dining area).
The Wine Rack, Lower Parel, Mumbai: FOOD
The menu cleverly toggles old-world charcuterie and classic small plates along with a new world section of celebrity Chef Sarah Todd’s ( Master Chef Australia fame) take on Indian street food.
The world distills itself on our plate; each dish does so with a tempo and rhythm of its own. Crunchy Churros do an amazing jugalbandi with creamy goat cheese. Bouncing with health and taste, Quinoa Snow Peas, hearty and comforting Lasagne Aubergine, delight. Bold flavors of Laal Maas with Karari Roti, Chettinad Vada Pav’s spice is offset by the sweetness of Pineapple Relish. Goan Pork Sausage is spiked with the Northeastern Chilli Bhut Jolokia. The taco-like Kulcha holds an explosion of flavors and textures of duck braised in red wine with cranberry and gorgonzola.
The Wine Rack, Lower Parel, Mumbai: MINUS POINTS
Some of the dishes are overworked and though sound great on paper, jar on the palate… Served on a betel leaf, lamb dish with Avocado Raita and crisp boondi. Ditto for the Prawns with pomelo. Over sweet desserts, be it the Pavlova or the Chocolate Chilli Mousse.
The Wine Rack, Lower Parel, Mumbai: MY POINT
Good news! Having made his mark with Whisky Samba, and The Wine Company in Delhi, Antares in Goa, Ashish Dev Kapur’s The Wine Rack (Mumbai) is the first of its kind wine shop and restaurant (300 wines from across 35 regions, bottles available at wholesale prices) and it makes wine accessible. Even better news is that Sarah Todd and Chef Himanil Khosla’s dishes tastily balance heartiness and delicacy, the elaborate and the straightforward. Here’s the best news: as for the food, decor and wine, the casual and sophisticated are in perfect harmony. Encore!