A friend of mine tempted me to Versova the other day with the promise of a new launch. One generally avoids going there if one can, what with Juhu chokepoint and the Metro digging things up but, as I reminisced fondly - it was once a centre of much social life. Versova has long been a dining and drinking hub. The anchor was Legacy of China, but the entire strip always sported an eclectic collection of cuisines and drinking holes from Avadhi kababs to Kerala appams, from quaters of whisky to wine bars.
The three bodies in question were Prashant, his wife and I – and the launch in question was that of Trikaya, unrelated to the ad agency or the buddha's three bodies. Around the bend from WTF, Mia Cucina and Urban Tadka, this is a pan asian restaurant recreated from the remains of a forgotten lounge. The brand is originally from Pune, establishing its first Mumbai footprint with a handsome dimlit blondewood space; a loaded bar armed with plenty of beautiful people. Running the show were brother, sister, friend trikaya along with a bar designer and some fairly competent service staff.
And what a bar.
Designed indeed, glowing with over 360 brands of alcohol, it is a thing of beauty. Stacked with aged tequila to obscure liqueur, small-batch bourbon to Japanese malt (yes, there are indeed such things), the bar is a worthy of powering the thick black cocktail menu. The mixes, surprisingly enough, used offbeat combinations to good effect such as in the "Waky Baky" – a combination of gin, banana liqueur and Lagavulin single malt that was really rather good. Fruit cocktails abound too but happily not the usual sugar loaded ones; most had actual fruit pulp involved.
The food promises to be modern Asian; and the choices on offer varied between competent and great. The dullest of the lot – a pumpkin and peas starter that had all the visual appeal of dishcloth, tasted surprisingly pleasant while sea bass in spicy sauce was the prom queen of the starter show. Main courses came with the most wonderful burnt garlic jasmine rice I've had in a long while – fragrant and tempting all on its own. The chicken with kimchi was nice enough but the prawns in green curry did a better job of shining. The veggie options came loaded with mushroom, and the broccoli-laden burmese curry was worth a mention.
All in all, the real star is the bar. The food will do a decent job of not disappointing, but even the layout is one that invites confessions over cocktails.