I’m not done with Mumbai, yet.
It has this mysterious vibe that allures me, wanting to visit again and again.
Being a Punekar, that’s a big thing to say.
Now, this is all about food. If you thought otherwise, well, I don’t know what to say.
A little background
With the rise of the Gastropub, how can one leave behind One Street Over? Helmed by Chef Kelvin Cheung [of Colaba-based Ellipsis fame], this American gastropub in Bandra is a must-visit.
For the uninitiated – Chef Kelvin is Chinese-Canadian, formerly based in Chicago and now in Mumbai. His chef de cuisine is his longtime friend and mentee Chef Boo Kwang Kim, of Chicago-based The Little Goat fame. A humble man of few words, Chef Boo incorporates his Korean influences into Chef Kelvin’s modern American fare.
One Street Over
Finding the place wasn’t an easy task – when I first visited, I went right past it. [I gotta check my eyes soon – OSO was hidden in plain sight].
The dimly lit interiors are tastefully designed, with warm lighting that reflects off the slate walls and mahogany furniture. For a place this subdued, the atmosphere is quite lively, with the banter of the patrons and foot-tapping pop music in the background.
The night begins
The customers here are spoilt for choice with an entire booklet of beverages. Mixologist Arijit Bose [of Delhi-based PCO fame] is the creative head behind these drinks. The selection is quite extensive, both in terms of quality and quantity.
Being a Rum guy through and through, I decided to go with the Old Cuban. Light and elegant [this is how I describe it, although there’s a beverage section by the same name], the cocktail comes in a champagne flute with a refreshing blend of Bacardí Gold Rum, sparkling wine, lime, mint, and bitters.
The food is what I primarily came for. Boy, it was mind-blowing. The chefs have designed the menu intricately, delighting vegetarians and carnivores alike.
We tried the Tofu Buns and the Animal Burger. Fun fact – I’m no fan of tofu. I was, however, impressed the way it was cooked. The silken tofu was marinated in chilli, soy, and garlic, and cooked to perfection. The warm housemade steamed buns [Baos] were laced with gunpowder, the tofu placed on a bed of giardiniera [jar-dee-nee-era] – an Italian style relish.
The Animal Burger was hands-down the highlight of the evening. Fuck, I never have had a burger this ecstatic in my life. The lightly toasted buns loaded with a seared animal patty, with a slice of sharp cheddar. Offset with tomato, onion, pickles and lettuce, the burger dripping with finger-licking good animal sauce. The strong yet balanced flavours delivered a punch to my taste buds. All in all, the balance of flavours was such that I had a major foodgasm.
I also tried the Pork Belly Buns. Belgian pork belly slow-cooked, basted generously with apple butter and served on a bed of kimchi, in housemade baos. Pork belly never tasted so gratifying.
Desserts were extraordinary. We tried the Nutella Crème Brûlée and the Maldon Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Nutella. Do I need to say anything? Actually, I do.The traditional crème brûlée was elevated by the addition of Nutella. Served on a plate smattered with housemade salted peanut butter, the creamy pudding had a perfect crack. The toasted almond crumble was a great topping, although I would have preferred the native hazelnuts [the base ingredient of Nutella].
Cookies are my absolute favourite, and the ones I had were abso-fucking-lutely delicious. With their melt-in-the-mouth soft and crumbly texture, the cookies were a perfect balance of sweet [Chocolate-Chips] and salty [Maldon Sea Salt]. And with the soothing hot chocolate, the Cookies tasted insanely delectable.
All in all, it was time well spent [over two visits within two weeks, that is to say] over good food and drinks. Hats off to Chefs Kelvin Cheung and Boo Kim, and their team who reinvent American flavors using local ingredients. A special mention of Ronnie and his service team [Suresh for his diligent service, and Rohit for his amazing cocktails].
Go check it out is all I’d say.