The eponymous Harry’s Bar from Singapore has opened its second Mumbai bar in Juhu.
Located at the site of the former Penne, the interiors have undergone substantial refurbishment to emerge all shiny and new.
Largely marketed as a relaxed sports bar with prices that don’t break the bank, the cuisine sampled comprised mostly bar snacks conceptualised by chef Vicky Ratnani.
In line with Harry’s Bar original design philosophy the decor is standard: no bells and whistles here.
Simple light fixtures and the odd orange brick wall, with the focal point an amber glowing bar – a pleasant change from the blindingly ostentatious neon varieties found at upmarket restaurants nowadays.
The music soundtrack is a collection of slow 90’s love songs which evoke a range of feelings from indulging in romantic depression to inducing sleepiness.
Let’s get cracking.
Both cocktails sampled are authentic and heady.
Blood On The Rooftop comprises the basic elements of a Long Island Ice Tea with an added twist of peach syrup and a red wine float, while the Dirty Harry contains the perfect balance of alcohol with with lychee.
I summise that if all cocktails in Mumbai were this well made, the world would be a better place.
The buffalo wings hold a more lubricated texture than usual; the taste does not quite reach the level of spicy sourness found in authentic American buffalo wings but the overall flavour is just about good enough.
Combined with the creamy blue cheese accompaniment (constant finger dunking into the bowl reveals the dip to be just as delicious on its own) these guys are reassuring and fun to eat.
I’m pleased to see that the paneer dish served is more complex than simply frying a bit of cheese and adding some masala.
The Wasabi Paneer consists of light, fluffy cheese encased in fried, battered balls of spinach.
I dunk my ball into a dot of wasabi and my tastebuds prepare for the
notorious enslaught of heat.
It’s surprisingly tame, with the entire dish eating like a more sophisticated, more delicious version of a potato gem.
This one is a winner.
The prawns are presented very prettily on the plate with the perfect concentration of sauce so as to not encourage mushiness.
Popping neatly into the mouth, the palate is flooded with sweet tones of citrus balanced by the acidity of soy.
An afterhit of spice makes for an interesting dining experience; those unaccustomed to chilli may reach hurriedly for their drinking glasses to reduce the fire.
The Pattiya Beach Fish Fingers hold distinctly Asian flavours of soy, galangal, tamarind and chilli paste.
The overwhelming resonances of heat fail to charm, while the texture of the fish is soggy and insipid.
When I think of nachos, I envisage a pyramid of corn chips smothered in an abundance of gloriously stringy melted cheese, tumbling with richly red tomato salsa, guacamole and lavish sour cream as the shining star on top.
Harry’s version of this classic bar snack stir up feelings of disappointment – highly simplistic, covered in gluggy cheese spread and a few remnants of salsa too few in serving to make any kind of an impact.
The taste is just that – nachos and cheese spread, with a bit of chopped tomato.
The Chicken Lollypop is fried to a perfect crisp, resulting in a sonorous
crunch when bitten into.
There is a certain amount of carnal satisfaction gained by ripping into flesh which inside, is warm and succulent, spurting juices with each piercing.
The accompanying Schezwan sauce adds a sassy dash of fire to a dish which leaves one smiling and satiated.
The service at Harry’s Bar is great, the waiters are knowledgeable of both food and drink and are clearly happy to work there.
If you can stomach the music, the vibe is positive and relaxed, the food inexpensive and mostly good.
Service 9, Food 8.
Harry’s Juhu is located at 14 Silver Beach Estate, A B Nair Road, Juhu Post Office, Juhu, Mumbai.