Slink & Bardot needs no introduction. It has always been at the top of Mumbai's list of recommendations. But if you have never heard about the place make sure to add it to your bucket list as there is plenty for you to explore and experience. On my first visit to the restaurant, I lost my way in the small alleys of Worli Koliwada. That's when I realized that even Google Maps had no clue as to how to get out of this maze.. After 15 mins of pacing the same lanes over and over again, I was asked to look for a red door. At this point my hunger was my only motivation to keep looking, owing to the glowing reviews I have heard before. And, true enough, there was the red door, ready to welcome and teleport me into Chef AliAkbar Baldiwala's world, where I later savoured a hearty meal.
Just like the closet doors were an entrance to the world of Narnia, this red door held the secrets to a magical culinary experience. As you enter, a passage leads to the main room, where you can locate the bar in the corner. Since I am always looking for areas that are somewhat isolated, so that I get some space to myself, this spot instantly became my favourite. A vintage piano flanked to the side, littered with a couple of books and candles, as two red lamps stood on each side to guard it, this was just the beauty of one spot. Apart from this the restaurant has three more sections and a cigar room, all adorned with the same robustness. There is also a VIP area, as this place is a popular choice among celebrities. And lastly, the Hawaiian themed room, where you can gup with your pals about your current Netflix watch or sit in the diner across the kitchen as you witness the magic of Slink & Bardot, rolling out with each plate.
Vicky Singh, partner at Slink & Bardot has over 20 years of experience in the field, which does translate to the magic he has created and recently he partnered with restaurateur Riyaz Amlani. This partnership has given us the new Slink & Bardot without changing our emotions for the place.
Chef Ali joined as an executive chef in February 2022. Before ordering we asked him what could we expect from the new Slink and Bardot? To this he replied, "We haven't boxed the new menu. It draws inspiration from all across the world so you can always expect something different each time." And that was that, We couldn't wait to get started. After placing our order I headed to the bar to get myself a drink. Slink has always been a hotspot for cocktails because of their round-the-clock experiments with spirits, seasonal fruits, and mixers. Their signature cocktails are designed to specially cater to a refined taste. 'Paanch' as the name suggests is a mix of 5 ingredients: turmeric infused gin, ginger, honey, citrus and tonic. It has a beautiful golden-yellow color and balances well with the small plates.
I personally love cocktails with cucumbers in it, for no specific reason but it just tastes refreshing. Slink has one such on their menu named 'Jackass', which is a mix of vodka, yuzu umeshu, cucumber, basil and honey. And to my surprise this drink was served in a steel mug! Quite contrary to the name, I found the drink to be simply enlivening.
By the time I could soak in the flavors from my drink, Chef Ali came in with our first course, okra and potato. In simpler terms this was aloo bhindi, but after eating it you could definitely say that the flavours gave the dish a significant upgrade. The leek and potato foam in it was the highlight for me. Before we could sample the star of the evening, we tried the green hot chili poppers, crumbled feta and me so morel. All so excellent and exquisite in their own way, I could be content just on appetizers. But let's talk about the wings! Stuffed with goji berries and glazed with berry hot sauce, the wings truly stand out. With the large plates you aren't spoilt for choice. There are only a few but significant options, like a classic chateaubriand steak or a smoked chicken with chipotle, rice and beans.
Chef Ali's cooking style is influenced by Asian, Middle Eastern, European and South American cuisine and flavors, which you can distinctly taste as you take in each morsel.
I'd recommend eating light as you won't be able to stop with just a nip of the dessert. I bet you'll keep digging in trying to summarize, and with each bite you will have a new discovery. The cheesecake incorporates goat milk, gooseberry and starfruit, which simply melts in your mouth. To feel the warmth on a chilly evening, go for porcini toffee pudding and you will leave no trace even of the whipped ricotta and candied ginger on the side.
Before I could bid adieu to this beautiful place, their perfectly camouflaged cigar room! With the light reflecting from a spirit cellar, the room held a certain vibe I couldn't put a finger on but was truly amazed. There is a buzz that comes along with the people walking in and then there is preserved old world charm of the interiors. Every element placed here is contrasting, familiar and fun. Walk in here on a Friday night to kickstart your weekend. And don't forget the red door, because if you do you will then be missing out on all of this.
Aayushi is that friend who won’t let you take a bite without capturing it. For her, the easiest but still thoughtful way of making someone feel special is by cooking or getting them their favourite food. Currently, she’s on an expedition to integrate all her favourites: food, social media and marketing, so that you don't miss the hottest spot in town and you know where to eat those crispy and juicy chicken wings.