Irish House, Mumbai: Guzzle, guzzle, eat, eat…

Irish House, which had only one Mumbai address till now – in Palladium at Lower Parel, now has an outpost in Kala Ghoda. My friends and I dropped by on a weekend and were pleased to see that Kala Ghoda now has another cool joint to unwind in. Looks and ambience wise, both the joints are almost identical, a common trait with most restaurant/pub chains. Dim lights, super cool music and plate full of food pretty much summarises Irish House. Yes, Ireland is a cold place and the guys like their food to arrive in big portions and they have a soft corner for beer and all things meaty. Irish House doesn’t disappoint when it comes to recreating Ireland to the core, and dare I say, it does bring to life a small yet significant piece of the local Irish culture in Mumbai. I mean think about it, aren’t you fed up of being served six pieces of perfectly sliced fried potato when you order French Fries in most joints. Ask for Nachos and you’ll be staring at a plate with 10 triangles with creamy sauce on, if you’re lucky, four of them. In Irish House, one serving of Nachos is enough to keep you going for the next hour or two.

Irish House - KalaGhoda, Mumbai

Irish House – KalaGhoda, Mumbai

On the drinks front, the joint has several types of beer for aficionados. Murphy’s and Chinese beer to name a few. Ask for an assortment of Beer shots if you are in the mood to sample ’em all. The bar boasts of over 30 varieties of beer, Irish whiskies and single malts. Cocktails such as the Chocolate Martini (recommended) and several spiced Mojitos are also on the menu. The Mexican Mojito was a hit with those who like their drinks laced with a tangy minty flavor. We also loved the Smoked Chicken Crostini, Rs250 (smoked chicken and artichoke with mozzarella on toasted bread) and the Rolling Duck, Rs 425 (aromatic roasted duck wrapped in a spring roll and served with chili plum sauce). Lamb Pie, The Irish Lions Chicken Tenders and the Prawns Chermoula are a few of the other must-haves from the menu.

Lamb Pie

Lamb Pie

On the down side, the Onion rings, which is listed as the World’s Best Onion Rings, Rs 200, on the menu is a disaster with oil dripping on the edges and street side bhajiya like coating to them and are an instant put off.

But who really goes to a bar to enjoy a hearty meal? At least not anyone I know… So, generous portions of good food are just an added reason to visit Irish House. The real reason, of course, is to soak in a distinct vibe that each bar/lounge/pub emits. Irish House has an unmistakable laid back Irish charm to it. Wooden décor here plays a very vital role in establishing laid back and gung ho in the same space. Irish House doesn’t compromise on space either. There are all types of seating, near the bar, corner tables, bar stools and regular tables laid out for guests. You’ll find young collegians, corporate groups, foreigners and even senior citizens in designer garbs letting their hair down at Irish House. Obviously, a haunt that is attracting people from all walks and age groups, has to have something to write home about, no?

The Irish Lions Chicken Tenders

The Irish Lions Chicken Tenders

Address:

The Irish House, Rampart Row,

30 K. Dubash Marg, Kalaghoda,

Mumbai 400023

Tel: (+91-22) 49150001/02

Timings: 12 noon to 1:30 am

Starbucks Mumbai review: Strictly OKAY coffee, good food and could-do-better seating.

Star Club Sandwich


There’s so much hype surrounding Starbucks that I, like many others in Mumbai, just had to check it out. But I decided to wait for the excitement to die down to avoid standing in a long queue to enter The Coffee Shop.
So, I went there on a weekday and after spending a good an hour and a half in the coffee shop, I still can’t understand why would anyone want to wait over 30 minutes to get into this place or take pictures of its every nook and corner, behaving like star struck Bollywood fans. Starbucks serves you beverages disposable cups with your name written on it and one wannabe friend of a friend actually took a picture of herself with the cup and kept the cup as a souvenir for a good week at his work desk, till a colleague who couldn’t stand her admiring a week old used coffee cup anymore, crushed it and threw it in the bin. Yes, Starbucks mania has hit coffee fans in Mumbai. I am a coffee fan and love sitting in coffee shops for hours together. As I gather, most people like me, looking to spend lazy evenings with friends in a coffee shop want comfort, relaxing ambience, good coffee and decent food to match in the outlet.

Twin Barrel Sausage Roll

Here’s what we liked about the Starbucks standalone outlet at Horniman Circle, Mumbai.
* The ambience is very tavern like, laid back, rugged and casual. Coffee mugs, cups and beans up for sale are neatly dumped in large containers.
* Lights, yellow, are dim and muted.
* The outlet is spacious, with a mezzanine level too.
* The staff is friendly, courteous and have mastered the ‘I’m-ever-ready-to-help-you-out’ look on their faces.
* The menu has interesting options and most of them deliver on the taste front too.
* The Salmon and Cream Cheese Croissant is yummy. Priced at Rs 130, the croissant is soft and oozes thin layers of cream, cheese and bits of salmon into your mouth. Sharing this croissant is highly recommend because a) it’s stuffed with cheese and cream – distribute the calories. b) all that cream and cheese makes you feel stuffy in no time.
* Star Club Sandwich — a star shaped burger of sorts, has egg, chicken patty, cheese and a layer of green leaves in it. One of my favourites from the menu, it balances all the elements excellently. You can have an entire one by yourself and still be game for more. Rs 160.
* Twin Barrel Sausage Roll, Rs 90, is sausage rolls with flaky exteriors. A bland sausage taste envelopes your mouth with each bite, so have it with ketchup to avoid feeling bored.
* My total bill came to Rs 798 and 76 paise. And Starbucks rounded the amount to Rs 798 instead of Rs 799. Unheard of in today’s times…


What didn’t work:
* There is only one billing counter, which means a never ending queue to place your order and another one to collect the beverage!
* The seating styles are weird and uncomfortable. Some tables have regular chairs around them, while some have majestic wide-width ones circling them. These chairs are so far apart that you can’t help but notch up your volume a few decibels more than what is considered decent and invite stares from fellow patrons.
* The Vanilla Latte and Caramel Macchiato taste identical or so similar, you can’t tell one from the other. We were tempted to ask for a replacement, but the thought of standing in that ever growing queue to even get an opportunity to talk to the staff made us gulp down the twin beverages, without a sound.
* The music. It’s a coffee shop. It’s Starbucks. Don’t make us feel like we’re in the lobby of a 5-Star hotel. Play some peppy numbers, pleaaaaase.
* Ooh!!! And my friend and I spotted a couple of tiny creatures hovering in the coffee beans container near the blenders. By the time we could draw our fellow companion’s attention to them, they disappeared. We’re still wondering if we were the lucky recipients of coffee with insect juice in it that evening! Guess we’ll never know. Sigh!

The Salmon and Cream Cheese Croissant

Bottomline: Starbucks… just another friendly neighbourhood coffee shop.