Colaba Social is the latest offering from the Impresario family; a group reputed for catering to minute detail and nailing every single element of the hospitality experience. I am waiting with bated breath to see what this one has to offer.
Located bang opposite the Taj, the environment has been transformed to the extent that it is hard to believe Bombay lies right outside the door.
Splashes of orange contrast with dark wood; a functional swing at a chessboard-cum-dining table swishes dreamily back and forth held afloat by a thick jungle rope, mirroring another rope placed right outside the bathroom for diners to swing from, Tarzan-esque, down the stairs.
Brightly coloured fold-out chairs adorn dark brick walls slathered with bilingual graffiti.
On first glance of the butcher paper menu, I am struck by the prices – nothing crosses the 500 INR mark, with most dishes a paltry 150-300 INR. I’m a mixture of curiosity and disbelief.
The breakfast choices grab my attention: English breakfast with bacon sausages and eggs, French breakfast with croissants and egg toast, traditional Indian breakfast and good old healthy brekkie; each a massive spread dedicated to starting the day like a champion or killing last night’s hangover. I wish it weren’t three in the afternoon.
I start with an Acharoska – a kooky interpretation of the Brazilian caipiroska, with an Indian twist.
A little ice-heavy, the beverage is fresh and minty with a sour hit of lime pickle at the end.
Once I fish out half of the ice and get the bartender to add even more pickle (I have an addiction, sir!) the drink really gets my rocks off.
The presence of a Staff Meal on a Colaba Social menu baffles me. Why go to a restaurant and order ghar ka khana? It is explained to me that some people grow tired of eating out all the time and like to have uncomplicated, home-cooked fare.
Today, it arrives in the form of simple daal, rice, alloo, pickle and papad.
The flavours are spot on with what you’d get at mama’s house, minus the oil.
Each day the Staff Meal changes to keep things interesting. My respect level for this place just went up another notch.
The sound of the Anda Shammi Sandwich doesn’t exactly bowl me over with excitement, but at the waiter’s insistence I decide to just do it.
I bite into a lightly buttered pav stuffed with a veg patty and a double fried egg. My tastebuds break out in a grin. So spicy!
Mint pesto binds red onion and mozzarella cheese together in a lubricating sauce which
makes meat look so yesterday.
The Colaba Social BBQ platter arrives sadly minus the pork ribs, but I’m not disappointed by the rest of the guests on the plate; thick, juicy pork and chicken sausages drizzled in sweet barbeque sauce (my heart finally accepting that chicken sausages can be great if fat enough) chicken wings which are more sweet than spicy, but excellent quality in terms of size and flesh.
The potato skins are out of this world.
Melted white and yellow cheddar are tucked snugly into a warm, hollowed out bed of potato and squiggled with a BBQ sauce smiley face; each bite takes three seconds to wrench the cheese from its potato slumber and swallow in one gulp.
The OTT Dawg is a bacon-wrapped pork hotdog topped with an abudance of Mexican lamb, chilli and cheese, with BBQ sauce.
There are, as the menu declares, a ton of elements which renders the entire dish mouthflaming with a tinge of sweet from the BBQ sauce.
The bacon gets a little lost in the flurry, perhaps due to the pairing with a pork
Beef would have provided an extra dimension of flavour but again it’s difficult to cater to religious restrictions.
This is a hot dog definitely not for the faint-hearted, or those teetering on the verge of heart disease.
The Surf & Turf doesn’t look as pretty as it normally does in restaurants, and my nervous twitch starts to set in. I shut my eyes, lean in and take a bite.
Why was I even stressing?
Robust, evenly cooked tenderloin slathered in buttery, creamy mash with lightly seasoned prawn held together by a candy-sweet jus knocks my tastebuds out, sending them into a happy daze.
Granted, the prawns appear underwhelming with their tails off and are placed a little haphazardly into what looks like too much mash, but taste-wise, there’s nothing to
I end with dessert. What materialises before me leaves me baffled. Are you sure this is right? Yes, madam, these are the bacon-wrapped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with vanilla ice-cream.
I don’t want this casual dessert dalliance to ruin my passion for bacon in its usual savory setting. I poke at it gingerly with my fork – yep, this is the good stuff, fantastic quality, thick rashers which cleverly conceal what lies beneath.
The saltiness of the bacon neutralises the sweetness brought by the peanut butter and jelly sandwich within.
The textures are foreign, exacerbated by the pairing of bacon with melting vanilla ice-cream studded with pieces of roasted almond.
Guilty of solely consuming peanut butter straight out of the jar, the idea of pairing it with anything, let alone jam freaks me out.
A dessert conservative, this offering does not win me over. But points for creativity and taking the risk to provide a unique dish which would probably appeal to someone who is more appreciative of classic American snacks.
The mantra of Colaba Social is ‘underpromise, overdeliver’.
The idea behind the food at Colaba Social is tasty comfort food – and that it is – with every aspect of presentation deliberated upon and executed in a quirky, fun manner : whether its the orange printed toilet paper roll napkins, the ‘CAUTION’ containers which house soups and cocktails or the cheeky WIFI password (“Get back to work!”).
Surpassing more than just a place to eat, the vision was to create a collaborative work space where people could hang out all day as if it were their own office, unobligated to spend a great deal of money; offering facilities such as wifi, scanner and a printer for a food-redeemable monthly fee, to a select number of pre-screened candidates.
The ultimate aim of Colaba Social is to cater to those limited by the overheads of running an office space; giving an opportunity to stay connected.
The service is of international standard: professional and timely, with plates being whisked away after every course and replaced with new ones. Even the steak knives are imported and monstrously large, perfect for hacking any steak to pieces.
Service 10, Food 8.5.
Colaba Social is located at 24, Ground Floor, Glen Rose Building, BK Boman Behram Marg, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.