Mumbai’s Andheri West has more than its fair share of cool hangouts. But I believe that Glocal Junction, the one I got an exclusive first look at before it opened its doors to the media or patrons (you can read my curtain-raiser piece on the place in The Hindu today – Jan 14, 2016), is going to be an enduring destination for all-round enjoyment. Of course, that’s all still up in the air. What’s tangible and tantalisingly close is the news that this restaurant will be opening on Saturday and there’s a lot to look forward to.
The concept, just as the name suggests, is all about going global while essentially being local. While a few restaurants have tried to dabble in this ‘international meets desi’ space, we think this one could actually be getting it right. Here’s why…
1. They’re sharp shooters!
Restaurateur Sanjay Vazirani, CMD of Foodlink Restaurants (the man behind Bungalow 9, China Bistro and India Bistro), has brought in some big guns to make sure you get a big bang for your buck. Gaurav Gidwani, Chef – Projects/Concepts, comes preloaded with a heavy artillery of experience, expertise and the temperament to experiment. Shishir Rane, Group Head – Beverages, is dynamite when it comes to bar concepts and rapid-fire cocktail ideas. Faizan Khatri and Samir Raut of Studio eight twenty three are bang on target with the way they’ve utilised the 5,000 sq ft space that can accommodate even upto 350 people when packed to the rafters.
2. It’s the first, but not the last
What’s interesting is that the Glocal Junction these guys have created together is a scalable model that will be the first of many similar offerings across the country. After launching the flagship in Mumbai, the team is setting its sights on launches in Bengaluru and Hyderabad by mid-2016, with others to follow. Each one will be customised to suit the tastes of the locality and city it is located in. But for now, early movers get bragging rights. Who knows, by next year you may be telling your friends how you were the first legit customer in the door of this fast-growing chain!
3. The food’s fantastic on the tongue, light on the pocket
Here’s a place that does fusion food but does it just right. There are no forced marriages here, just love affairs that meld tastes and textures, regions and ingredients, ideas and execution into a perfect relationship that promises forever. Some, took me by surprise. Who would’ve thought that good ol’ sabudana wadas (albeit with a Thai twist) and a wasabi raita would taste so good together? Idli muffins or Masala dosa waffles! Or tiramisu with beer foam? Others seemed to me like ideas just waiting to happen. A makhani ratatouille lasagne? Absolutely! Barrah kababs cooked like Tennessee-style barbecue ribs. Perfection! A juicy sheekh served like a traditional hot dog. So much better than the original! There’s also the fact that Chef Gaurav was given just one mandate when thinking up a concept for Foodlink – not to stint on quality. With creative freedom, a talented team, a mega kitchen and a churrasco grill at his disposal, he’s really got a great menu going… Plus, there’s an in-house bakery that makes everything from hand-rolled breads, sourdough, wood-fired pizzas with unique base sauces. To get such a global, gourmet experience at affordable prices is quite a good deal.
4. The bar sets the bar real highhhhhhh!
4. The bar sets the bar real highhhhhh!
Perhaps the only (or at least one of the very few!) restaurants with a satellite bar to support the main one (this one is suspended in mid-air!), Glocal has placed a lot of emphasis on finessing the drinks too. Expect a lot of fresh fruit mixers (SO much healthier than those synthetic sugar-laden sodas!); smoked infusions; specially made ice that’s frozen with various fruit oils and spices embedded inside so they release flavour as they melt into your drink; and a whole lot of really innovative ways to serve them.
Shishir, who has come up with these concepts, has made sure that the drinks in the day menu are more interactive and relaxed (the waiters get to impress you with the drama and the details!) while the night menu is all about more voluminous drinks that are easy to manage so you spend less time with the bartender and more with your friends.
5. It’s going to be one of the hot hangouts of 2016!
By day, it has lots of sunlight and a very relaxed vibe, thanks to high ceilings and more mellow music. Just right for a peppy breakfast or a languorous liquid lunch. By night, the huge swathes of high-energy space across levels and even pouring into the spacious smoking area outdoors will make for the really buzzy vibe that most revellers crave. And given it’s location, you’re surely going to be surrounded by a lot of good-looking faces from the modelling and film world too (not that it matters to you, I know).
I know I’m going to #GoGlocal again soon. See you there?
Address: Morya Bluemoon Building, in the lane opposite the Tanishq showroom, New Link Road, Andheri West Tel: 022 32331999 Timings: 11 am to 1 am on all days Social Media: @GlocalJunction on Instagram and Twitter