The city of Mumbai has a new Negroni Bar at Ballard Estate. Kamal Malik, Shahrom Oshtori and Tony Singh have opened doors to Native Bombay – restaurant on first floor and negroni bar on the ground floor.
What once was a bustling office precinct during the day and a Bollywood director’s paradise during the night, is quite quiet now.
However, the Calicut and Cochin streets are buzzing now – day and night. What used to be an ice factory encompassing both the streets in olden days, has been converted into two restaurants, one bar and one art gallery. It also has an open space that can be used for events.
The entrance to the Negroni Bar is from the Cochin Street. Rustic interiors of the ice factory have been maintained to give the Negroni Bar an agrestic appeal. Wooden bar, complete with a wooden Campari cask, (used for one of the offerings) is quite appealing.
“Idea was to do give the old, unsung cocktail the rightful place it deserved,” says Shahrom Oshtori, Managing Partner of Native Bombay. “We wanted something that will suit the rustic, nostalgic ambiance of the place. Negronis are trending now, and yet have retained the old-world charm."
Passion Sbagliato | Pic: Manasi Mastakar
White Negroni | Pic: Shruti Pandit
The bar offers eight negroni creations that include the Classic Negroni as well. They have infused the Campari, Vermouth and Gin inhouse along with other homemade liquors.
The ‘mistake’ by Italians, Negroni Sbagiliato, is always a hit if you get the ratio of vermouth and sparkling right. For the uninitiated, Negroni Sbagiliato ‘happened’ when a bartender by mistake poured prosecco instead of gin in the classic Negroni. The result was tasty and appreciated and named Negroni Sbagiliato as sbagiliato means mistake in Italian! At Native Bombay, they get the sbagiliato right but with a twist. They keep the gin, and replace the vermouth by prosecco, and add a dash of passion fruit juice to make it a perfect negroni for the beginners.
Their creative twists to the negroni include Marmite Negroni, Grapefruit Negroni, Coco & Curry Negroni, Pandan Negroni and the Kaapi.
The Original | Pic: Shruti Pandit
Full marks to the Marmite Negroni. As the name suggests, the Marmite Negroni has the good old marmite in it – yes, the same one that probably your mother or grandmother made you consume to increase your probiotic and B12 levels. The marmite yeast brings out the flavours of the herbs in Campari and vermouth in a distinct way. This negroni is cask aged in the Campari wood cask before serving, to give it a subtle, smoky flavour.
Kaapi, as obvious, has filter coffee as its main. It is mixed with Campari, Gin, aromatic wine and topped with soda. The coffee lovers should try this as it surely gives your taste buds the coffee kick.
The Pandan Negroni starts like a classic on your palate and leaves with a rice flavour and fragrance, typical to the pandan leaf. The reason is the use of carbonated Pandan infused Rosso Vermouth.
Smoked Cheese Naan Bombs | Pic: Manasi Mastakar
The Coco & Curry Negroni is an interesting concoction. They use coconut infused Campari and curry leaves infused Rosso Vermouth. If you don’t mind a lingering coconut taste, you should go for it.
The bar has about 14 starters to go with the negronis. Be sure to order the Smoked Cheese Naan Bombs. These balls are a tasteful explosion in the mouth. The Tandoori Momos are edamame and truffle momos marinated in red tandoor masala and grilled in a tandoor. Interesting part is that the truffle is not lost in tandoor masala.
Lamb Tacos | Pic: Manasi Mastakar
Native Kasundi Tikka | Pic: Manasi Mastakar
Meat lovers should try the Rogan Josh Lamb Tacos, which are a good companion for the Grapefruit Negroni. Prawns Ghee Roast and Native Kasundi Tikka are must for seafood lovers. The prawns are perfectly cooked in the masala that bursts on the palate delighting it. Kasundi Tikka, fish marinated in mustard and the prawns pair well with Pandan Negroni and the Coco & Curry Negroni. Matar Khasta Rolls and Paan Paneer Tikka are also recommended.
One wonders why the White Negroni, which has Gin, Indian Vetiver Bianco and homemade Suze is included as it doesn’t have the basic negroni ingredient – Campari. And the taste too doesn’t really fulfill the craving for a negroni.
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