Before being the queen of suburbs, Bandra was a little fishing village known as Vandre and had a small population of Christians, Muslims, migrants from Goa and the west coast, and kolis who are the fishermen folk of Mumbai.
It was only in the mid 20th century that this tiny village transformed into a prestigious address with celebrities like Rajesh Khanna and the Kapoor clan calling it their home. As more stalwarts took a shine to this quaint ’burb, it’s rustic bylanes turned into tony neighbourhoods with restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and popular hang-outs.
Last week, a Bandra native and a recent migrant (read, I) were invited for the opening of a bar and restaurant that draws inspiration from quintessential American speakeasies. The Little Easy will remind you of a typical American diner with booth-style seating, nouveau wooden chandeliers, and an ‘almost’ discreet entrance with a guard peeping out of small hole in the door to let you in. Complete with a saxophone player and neo-retro music that set the mood, it was easy to slip into the happy vibe of the night.
My fish-loving dining partner and I could not get enough of the pan seared sea bass with wilted spinach and creamy potato mash. The crust was caramelised with just the right amount of sugar giving it a slight crunch and hint of sweetness, as we nibbled on the soft meat. A perfect balance of flavours and textures, this dish got full marks from someone who knows her fish and celebrates good food like most Bandraites.
The Asian Salad of green, yellow and red bell pepper, crunchy sprouts and red cabbage with a generous dose of peanuts, topped with crispy noodles and seasoned with a honey chilli dressing, hit the right taste notes. Washed down with the Moonshiner – a light gin-based cocktail stirred with fresh orange juice and flavoured with rosemary, bitters and hibiscus syrup, this is bona fide guilt-free indulgence. Teetotalers can opt for The Blizzard – a concoction of orange and cranberry juice with a smidgen of lime, lemongrass and star anise. You could request them go easy on the sugar.
So far the review is in the order of our favourites, and the mini naan bombs also qualify to be on this list. Stuffed with cheese and chilli, and baked to perfection in naan dough, they disappeared from the table in no time.
When one is dining with a true-blue Bandraite, there will be more seafood involved. Pan tossed prawns, doused in a creamy and cheesy white sauce laced with lemon and garlic was part of the small plates category. Delicately flavoured, it scores high with its simplicity.
Chicken Long Legs – a big piece of chicken leg served on a bed of potato mash with zucchini on the side and red wine jus will be applauded by meat lovers. Less spice and more flavour was the mainstay of all the dishes that we chose to order, and it was not a deliberate move.
Being happy with the appetisers and mains would inevitably lead to preparing ourselves for an equally satisfying last course – desserts. The menu read that the classic Philadelphia cheesecake will be accompanied by fresh blueberry jus. The cheesecake seemed like work-in-progress while the blueberry jus was good old store-bought preserve. There was some respite in the crème brulee, although it was a dense pudding and a far cry from the real deal.
We would write-off these glitches as teething trouble, for The Little Easy opened its doors yesterday, The good news is, your sweet surprise lies in the straightforward and simple first and second courses.
Where: Linking Road, Bandra West, Mumbai
Tel: 022 30151113
Wallet Alert: Price for two, INR 1500 plus taxes without alcohol and INR 1900 + taxes with alcohol (approx.)