There is a new restaurant opening up in Mumbai almost every other day, but none has stirred anticipation as much as Indian Accent. A restaurant that popularized modern Indian cuisine across the globe, Indian Accent first opened its doors back in 2009 at The Manor in New Delhi, before moving to The Lodhi, eight years later. It is widely regarded as the world’s premier modern Indian restaurant, and with outposts in London and New York, the celebrated restaurant has finally made its way to Mumbai and is located in the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) in BKC.
Heritage Art Deco Design
The food, is without a doubt, the best part about Indian Accent. However, it’s impossible to sideline the Jazz-age inspired ambience of the restaurant. London-based Russell Sage Studio worked in collaboration with EHV’s Design Director Rohini Kapur and Director Development Vikas Bhasin for the interiors. Incubis Consultants were the local architects.
Capturing the aesthetics of Mumbai’s glorious past, the interiors of Indian Accent mimic the city’s Art Deco heritage during the 1920s-1930s, paying tribute to the design, music, and cocktails of that era.
A long corridor with an elegant marble archway seems as grand an entrance as ever. There are two private dining areas on either side, followed by an open dining area with a glass-windowed view of the immaculate Fountain of Joy.
The restaurant is decked in a brown and cream colour palette with generous pops of gold tone elements that elevate the jazz aesthetic. The bar definitely takes the cake with its large mirrors, plush barstools and dim lighting, creating the perfect jazz bar aesthetic. The ripple water ceiling is the icing on the cake!
The open dining area has a seating capacity of eighteen while ten others are attached to the interactive show kitchen.
While Culinary Director, Chef Manish Mehrotra managed the Indian Accent kitchen in Delhi, Chef Rijul Gulati worked under him for about eight long years, and is now heading the kitchen in Mumbai under the guidance of Chef Manish Mehrotra. “We are most excited about bringing Indian Accent to Mumbai. In addition to Indian Accent’s signature dishes, Chef Rijul and I have taken care to craft a menu that features more seafood and many more vegetarian options, recognizing the dining habits and seasonal produce of this great metropolis,” Chef Manish adds.
Given the anticipation for Indian Accent’s launch in Mumbai, getting a reservation can be a challenge. Nonetheless, I had a chance to dine at Indian Accent in BKC and was not once let down. Sitting down and taking in the ambience, my dinner date and I were presented with the menus, however, we decided to go with the non-vegetarian chef’s tasting menu.
First up was an amuse bouche — a blue cheese naan served with a sweet corn shorba. Prior to visiting the restaurant, I’d already heard enough about the blue cheese naan and while it was an interesting creation, it was hardly the shining star on the menu.
Our first course followed soon after. This comprised four appetizers that were a nostalgic tribute to Indian street food with a twist. Smoked eggplant with maple plantain, churan ka karela with rice cracker, chhole bhature with pickled green chilli, and dilli papdi chaat concluded all items on the platter. Each of these had a fun, contemporary twist to them. While the chhole bhature was a creamy serving of chhole in a crispy bite-sized bhatura, the papdi chaat featured a tart-shaped papdi with a dilli style, sweet, tart and spicy chaat. The latter was my favourite dish from the first course.
The next course comprised three dishes, each of which had very unique flavour combinations. The first – a murgh malai, Gobindobhog & mushroom payesh with summer truffles can be easy to mistake this for a risotto, but is a thoroughly Indian both in terms of ingredients and flavour. The creaminess of the Gobindobhog & mushroom payesh melded well with the murgh malai giving it a comprehensive flavour palate.
A smoked duck shami with crispy sevai and barberry chutney followed after. Crispy, tender and full of flavour, this was one of the standout dishes for me that evening. The pulled lamb dumpling and aab gosht dish was beautifully plated but fell short to the previous dish.
An anar and churan kulfi sorbet served as a palate cleanser just before the main course. It arrived in an adorable mini cooker, and was nostalgia at its best!
The main course had two options, pork and seafood, and my dinner companion and I had the opportunity to try both. One was a seafood stew comprising gunpowder fried prawns, crab and scallops served with raw mango and smoked chilli curry, while the other was a braised pork kofta served with Punjabi lobia and a bacon chilli glaze.
As an ardent seafood lover, I opted for the seafood stew and was pleasantly happy with the dish. A final addition before dessert was a duo of Indian accent kulchas served with a black dairy dal and wasabi and kakdi raita.
Rounding off our meal with a sweet indulgence, we had to try out the restaurant’s famed tart. The warm doda burfi treacle tart came with a serving of sweet homemade vanilla bean ice cream. A picture hardly does justice to this very indulgent treat. We also had a mishti doi cannoli and daulat ki chaat served with rose petal chikki, and roast almond. The bite-sized mishti doi cannoli was an unusual but delicious treat, while the latter — a cloud-like milk treat was served with fake Indian currency notes.
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Jazz age cocktails
Varun Sharma, the man behind the award-winning bar at EHV, heads the bar programme at Indian Accent. He introduced a host of signature cocktails that revel in nostalgia. Jazz Age Cocktails, as they are called, include some spirited concoctions like proper copper 2.0 (vodka, kaffir lime, spiced tea, ginger shrub, carbonated water), passion sour (tequila, chilli, passion fruit, cucumber, chilli dust), and Irish colada (Irish whiskey, cacao liqueur, fennel, pineapple, pistachio, milk, coco lopez, nutmeg).
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