Nestled in Bombay’s IF.BE, an experimental place for art, architecture and dialogue, Native Bombay makes regional expressions of India come alive with a contemporary flair. Prepare yourself for an encounter that is ‘everything but dull.’ Paying homage to Bombay, it gives you an experience that has been hand-picked to pique your interest.
One-of-a-kind Negroni Bar
Native Bombay is divided into two parts, the Negroni Bar and the main restaurant area which is perched on the first floor. As you enter the restaurant through its old and giant ice factory door, you’re greeted with another entrance to the Native Bombay Negroni bar and a flight of stairs leading you to Native Bombay. The Negroni Bar was created in collaboration with Stranger and Sons in order to introduce to people with the different stories and flavours a negroni has to offer. The space is minimal yet rustic. When you enter you stand witness to a giant bar with a couple of bar stools where you and your partner or friends can sit and interact with the bartender, and learn more about the drinks you’ll be having.
Beginners can opt for the Passion Sbagliato with gin, Campari, fresh passion fruit and prosecco or the Pandan with gin, Campari, pandan leaves and rosso soda. If you’re looking for something bold, then try the Marmite that uses the newest technique in the Negroni world – barrel ageing. This marmite-infused Negroni is barrel-aged for two weeks, resulting in an audaciously bold, flavourful drink. Coffee drinkers prepared to be wowed with a Kaapi which allows you to enjoy the local coffee flavours of Chikmagalur made into an Americano-style Negroni with gin, Campari, aromatised wine and soda melding into a bittersweet rush. You can also enjoy a few bites sized snacks while you sip on your negroni, I personally recommend the cheese naan bombs, as they were light, fluffy and cheesy, paired perfectly with my negroni. But remember not to eat a lot as an entire feast waits for you on top!
Rustic interiors, inventive food
The outcome is an inventive starkness that has come through by peeling away layers of plaster and paint to disclose a beautiful brick and wood structure, giving it newfound life while conserving the history tale, under the direction of Kamal Malik, Founder of Malik Architecture and Partner at IF.BE. The menu, like the process of developing the space, is unabashedly ‘Indian’, made up of cross-country cuisines and presenting the finest on the plate.
Chef Bhairav Singh, an award-winning chef, oversees the kitchen with a great desire to deliver recipes that are jewels of the past in their original essence in the present. At Native Bombay, he uses his extensive knowledge of Indian spices and ingredients to interact with the modern food enthusiast eager to explore the country’s gastronomic treasure trove. “We’ve handpicked recipes from all regions across India so we could bring different local ingredients to the forefront. Rediscover punchy flavours of sizzling curry leaves from a South Indian kitchen, charred meats glistening on the tandoor from a North Indian dhaba and techniques that make you look at the food of the country with renewed delight when you dine with us at Native Bombay.” he says.
At Native Bombay, they explore India’s flavours with a twist. Naturally to get a true essence of Indian flavour we had to start of with a chaat. We tried the Baroda Khakra Chaat, made with indigenous potato from Talegaon along with sweet-spicy chutney that is served on a bed of Mumbai’s Chowpatty beach special channa jor garam. The chutney gave our palate a kick and we were ready to take on the menu. For small plates we had some spicy maska prawns, NH48 Chicken Tikka and an interesting Paan Panner Tikka, which was paneer stuffed with a banarasi betel leaf stuffing, sweet fennel chutney and then grilled to get a smoky paan flavour. You can also try a traditional Maharashtrian treasure in Kolhapuri Mutton Chops where fiery kharda-rubbed lamb chops are served with khamang kakdi salad and sabudana crisps or the Parsi household favourite Patra Ni Macchi served true-to-style in banana leaves.
We also tried the Jodhpur ker Sangria, made with ker berries, sangria beans and cheese stuffed into chilles, served with a garlc sauce. If you want you can also try the delicious Salli Murgh which is a parsi style chicken made with jardalu and crispy potato salli. The Kafuli Paneer, a lush paneer curry made with indigenous fenugreek leaves, is another must have. If you want to get your hands dirty, opt for their assortments of breads like Chur Chur Naan or Lachha paratha.
If you have enough space, also try their rice dishes like Lucknowi style cooked mutton biryani or their spicy Mumbai style Prawn Tawa Pulao.
Indian ingredients meet global techniques
Native Bombay also offers Native Cocktails, created by Head Mixologist Hemali Bendre, which combine Indian ingredients and global techniques to create tipples such as the Native Sour, a clarified whisky sour topped with an Indian spice foam, and the Tamangrita, a concoction with Tequila, imli-khajoor chutney, and Guntur chilli shrub. Cochin Street is served with a gin, curry leaf cordial, and citric acid. You may also have some fun with your drink by trying The Kadha, which is a concoction of whisky, spice mix, sonth powder, and kesar jiggery.
All in all, I rate Native Bombay a must-visit if you simply want to enjoy and indulge in delicious Indian flavours with a contemporary twist. I recommend heading to Native Bombay for lunch if you’re going out with your group of friends, as the large glass windows which allow natural light to flow in just makes it a fantastic space to feast with your friends. If you’re heading out on a cute date night then visiting Native is a must as when the sun goes down the place is dimly lit with candles and soft orange lights making the setting a romantic and intimate for you and your partner.
Address: 10 – 12, Cochin St, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001 Timing: Native Bombay Lunch 12 PM TO 3 PM and Dinner 7 PM TO Midnight
Native Bombay Bar 5 PM to 1.30 AM Reservation: +91 9619066000 Social Handle: @nativebombay