Bandra Born: a culinary transformation in the heart of Mumbai
Redefining the dining experience with its fresh concept, innovative menu and ambience, this pop-up resonates the essence of Bandra
The story of Bandra Born begins with the end of an era. In September, the iconic "Salt Water Café," a beloved Bandra landmark, made way for a dynamic reinvention. Leading this revolution is chef Gresham Fernandes, the Culinary Director and Co-Owner of Bandra Born. With an impressive background that includes stints in the kitchens of The Leela and even Copenhagen's renowned Noma, chef Fernandes brings a wealth of experience and creativity. His passion for innovative dining experiences is evident in the new menu and concept at Bandra Born. Chef Fernandes, in collaboration with restaurateur Riyaz Amlani, has created a space that is designed to surprise and delight patrons with each visit. The result is a dynamic and ever-evolving dining experience.
The restaurant's interior is entirely revamped, featuring vibrant graffiti, hip design and a striking sign that reads "Bandra Born." This transformation marks a significant departure from the previous vibe, signalling a desire to evolve and create a dining experience that is as unique as the Bandra community itself. The restaurant aims to cater to a diverse clientele, creating distinct vibes for evening dining. Whether it's a relaxed family dinner or an evening spent sipping cocktails at the bar, Bandra Born promises an ambience that suits the occasion.
What We Tried
Bandra Born isn't just a restaurant; it's a 12-week pop-up extravaganza. This limited-time concept allows the culinary team to push the boundaries of creativity and take calculated risks. While Bandra Born currently offers dinner service post-8 pm, there are plans to extend the experience to include lunch service.
The menu at Bandra Born is designed to capture the feeling of Bandra as a village, where community, heritage and local flavours come together to create a unique experience. The dishes are inspired not by specific cuisines or ingredients, but by the emotions and stories that make Bandra special.
We started our meal with Beets Meat, which, unlike the name, is a vibrant salad with beetroot and fresh greens and a kick of chilli oil missing that meat quotient that you would otherwise think the dish would include. We then moved on to try The Shippy’s Sandwich, a sandwich that’s inspired by fridge raids, a perfect combination of cheese, fig jam and brown butter. The Bandra Fried Chicken is nothing compared to your regular chicken, served with a plum hot sauce, these chicken pops were definitely addictive. For mains we devoured the Pretty Fly Rice a wholesome rice dish with bacon, prawns and gochujang. And just like that we made our way to the dessert section and dug into some Caramel Custard with Spiced Glaze and a Venus Jam Cake served with Mixed Berry Sorbet.
Just like each dish at Bandra Born has a story to tell so do the cocktails. From Patricia's Pussycat, a citrusy cocktail named after the legend of Ms. Patricia and her pet leopards in Bandra, to the Buzz Bazaar paying homage to Bazaar Road, the menu is diverse and full of flavour. The cocktails and dishes aren't just about ingredients; they're about capturing the essence of Bandra as a community and a way of life. The bar menu also boasts brewed beers, including the crisp lager Nimble Girl from Great State Aleworks. Fans of savoury cocktails can try the cheekily-named Gresh’s Juice, a perfect blend of tequila, mezcal and vermouth. The bar nibbles, inspired by the bars of Bandra, offer a perfect complement to the cocktails here.
We particularly love the combination of beets with crispy chilli oil in the beets' meat. We were a sucker for the balanced desserts and unique pairings that hit all the right spots. As we indulged in the delectable Venus Jam Cake with its Mixed Berry Sorbet, there was a sense of excitement and nostalgia.
Creating a great cocktail involves a combination of flavours, balance and presentation and Bandra Born ticks all these boxes.
With 40 new dishes, a fresh wine selection and a refreshing vibe, Bandra Born is here to make a statement in Mumbai's culinary scene and chef Fernandes' excitement is contagious.
Bandra Born is more than just a restaurant; it's a journey that captures the spirit of Bandra and offers an ever-evolving, innovative dining experience. As the buzz around this Bandra-hued establishment continues to grow, it's clear that this pop-up is a culinary transformation that Mumbai's food enthusiasts can't afford to miss. So, if you're in Mumbai and looking for a dining experience that's fresh, creative and deeply rooted in the local culture, Bandra Born might just be your next culinary adventure.