I was at this iconic establishment last evening on invite but I never expected that it would turn out to be so memorable. Thanks to Sangram, the friendly and knowledgeable restaurant manager, I tasted two Indian spirits of exceptional calibre – Amrut, a peated whisky with a sweet aftertaste and Bira, a citrusy beer designed to please the most reluctant drinker. We also had an innovative fennel seed-infused paneer tikka platter and a large vegetarian pizza, which were all right but not outstanding. But nothing takes away from the fact that Gadda Da Vida has THE best location in Mumbai and a view to die for. Let’s get into the details.
It’s at Novotel on Juhu Beach and all that separates you from the sea is a safety barricade. Earlier, guests staying at Novotel could access the beach from the pavilion but that’s no longer possible. Honestly, the location is what makes Gadda Da Vida the epic bar and restaurant that it is. The sea view makes it a great location for romantic dates.
There is both indoor and outdoor seating but the outdoor tables are where you want to be, to watch the sun go down and feel the sea breeze on your face. However, indoors, there is good music and I suppose it’s a good option during the monsoons. I sat at one of the lounge-style tables facing the sea and it was gorgeous. Ask for one of those tables by the edge – you won’t be distracted by other guests or waiters and your date will be more than pleased. Despite being so close to the beach, the chairs are clean and well-maintained.
They have a really exhaustive menu and you might be really confused about what to order. I recommend Amrut, the Indian whisky of which they have three variants. It’s priced competitively and the taste is stellar, quite different from premium international whiskys and with a pleasant sweet aftertaste. We also tried Bira, a bright and citrusy Indian beer that’s perfect for lighter drinkers and youngsters. Sangram told us that they didn’t start stocking Amrut until a customer asked for it a couple years ago and they had no clue what it was. A little research and fact finding later, Amrut found pride of place in their drinks menu. It’s manufactured by a Bangalore-based brewery and apparently, is gaining much fan following among foreigners as well.
The food menu has quite a few options, considering that Gadda Da Vida is primarily a bar and lounge. They’ve crafted a special menu for the IPL which has some competitively priced appetizers. We opted for the saunfiya paneer, a platter of succulent paneer tikka pieces infused with fennel seeds and served with an excellent green chutney. The paneer was low on salt but tasted all right when dipped into the chutney.
For mains, we had the vegetarian farmers pizza. It was huge and we had trouble finishing it. Quantities here are generous but the taste is not as good as one might expect. Perhaps, the spices and condiments are on the lower side to cater to foreign tastes. Sangram told us that Gadda Da Vida is frequented by many celebrities including Alia Bhatt and Sonakshi Sinha. Beware of the crows – they managed to steal away the last piece of paneer from the serving plate!
The waiters are intuitive and solicitous – no complaints on this front. However, as the night proceeds and the place gets fuller, you might have to expend more effort in order to be heard. Gadda Da Vida is best enjoyed in the late evening. A big thank you to the management for such a beautiful time by the sea. I look forward to visiting again soon.
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