As customers who are constantly being bombarded with options, it’s rare indeed to have an experience that’s simply perfect. Yet, that’s exactly what came my way in the form of an invite from Q Bar, the luxury bar and restaurant at VITS, a four-star hotel close to Mumbai International Airport.
I’d never heard of this place and the reason become apparent when the manager explained that it had been rechristened only two months ago. Over the years, Q Bar has donned many names and avatars (Behind Bars, Jalsa Bar) but its current form is particularly pleasing, ensconced in a shadowy space next to the pool. The energetic dance music, purple lights and combination of sofa tables, bar stools and dance floor seek to achieve the quintessential lounge ambience. But be warned, the place can be quite empty when the night is young.
Residents of the area and suited corporates looking for a breather after a long day at work compose the lion’s share of Q Bar’s customers. But the real draw here is their ‘club’ concept. For just 1000 rupees, one can get a six-month membership to The Quarter Club and half of the amount can be redeemed on the first visit. Members enjoy a complimentary mezze platter with their orders and slashed rates on beverages, often at least a hundred rupees lower than the general rate.
Another reason to come to Q Bar, apart from the excellent food and drinks, service and ambience are the thematic festivals every month. For instance, currently they have a pizza and calzone festival and next month, you can enjoy exotic rum-based cocktails. Given that they have a very creative bartender (whose experiments tend to succeed), the rum festival is sure to be a hit. They also have something going on every day of the week such as ladies’ night (Wednesdays) or corporates’ night (Tuesdays).
We arrived on a weekday evening, not too hungry or thirsty. But over the course of three starters, a pizza and two heady cocktails, our appetites were cajoled into happy submission. The service was prompt although the waiters could be a little quicker about serving the remainder of the dishes. Chef Prahlad Saha looked a little disappointed when we expressed our desire for vegetarian food but it definitely didn’t reflect in the delicacies that reached our table!
Paneer chatpatta tikka
A generous portion of eight spicy paneer tikka pieces, green peppers, tasty beetroot and sweet onion salad and green chutney arrived within a few minutes of placing the order. The tikka sizzled on a bed of cabbage leaves and was seasoned with fragrant coriander. The spicy mixture wedged in the soft paneer was full of the excellent flavours of garlic and chilli paste. The result was a delectable tangy taste that went very well with the juicy, fresh paneer.
Panko cheese poppers
Aloy, the manager approved of our choice and when we bit into the first of these crispy golden poppers, we understood why. Imagine creamy sour cheese encased in potato mash and fried. Served with tomato sauce and mint chutney, these poppers left us wanting more. There were eight poppers in one serving.
We were feeling quite replete with the tikka and the poppers but Aloy thought the crispy vegetables would be a nice addition. I don’t like overly greasy fried vegetables but the version at Q Bar turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Lightly fried and coated in a delicious sweet and tangy sauce, the crunchy vegetables came with a carrot, cabbage and capsicum salad. They weren’t heavy at all and come highly recommended if you’re looking for a light snack.
American whisky dry
We asked for a whisky-based cocktail and the bartender served us two glasses of beautiful golden coloured liquid with a layer of foam on top and a carved muskmelon wedged on the rim. The cocktail was creamy with a tinge of sweetness thanks to the pineapple juice used as base and the dash of Italian Martini Bianco. The smoothness of the Jack Daniel’s whisky made itself evident with every sip. I loved the floral flavour of the Martini Bianco, Italian vermouth (white wine) infused with various herbs, spices and flowers.
Pizza chui mui
My friend is a huge fan of pizza and like a famous person (could be me) once said, you don’t have to be hungry to have pizza. We chose the most interesting sound vegetarian pizza on the menu after the chef assured us that it would be delicious. One thing is for sure – the folks at Q Bar don’t believe in scrimping on cheese. The pizza came laden with the good stuff and a healthy layering of sweet and tangy sauce ensured that we didn’t need any additional tomato ketchup. The slices were tasty and only required a bit of pepper and oregano to touch perfection.
We wanted to indulge our love for the oldie but goodie Old Monk and the bartender was glad to oblige. He concocted his own version of Jägerbomb, a bomb shot usually consisting of a shot of Jägermeister dropped into a glass of Red Bull. Only in our case, the Jägermeister was swapped for Old Monk rum and Jack Daniel’s whisky took the place of Red Bull. The result was a wonderfully potent drink that jolted us with its combination of tastes.
All in all, it was a perfect night with all the drinks and dishes living up to and in most cases, exceeding our expectations. The Quarter Club is likely to grow and you should definitely join.
Getting there: If you’re travelling by public transport, walk down from Chakala metro station – it will only take a couple of minutes.
Damages: Rs 2000 for two
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