The good folks behind Brooklyn Shuffle, Jimmy Hu and WTF!, now bring the nearly year-old The Bombay Bronx from Mumbai to Pune. This is an all-day bar where everything, from the interiors to the food unbridles the soul of Mumbai. Enter the bar, and it feels like you’ve chanced upon a set of a movie that is an ode to the maximum city.
The Bombay Bronx is fitted with installations reminiscent of the city – take for instance the local train-style booth seating with train handles suspended from the ceiling, Irani café-style tables and chairs, a wall-sized painting of Amitabh Bachchan in his Deewar attire, tin fittings on the bar resembling the roofing of Dharavi’s slum houses, train routes mapped out on the ceiling, lights fitted into loud-coloured dabbas and the neon signage of the iconic Eros theatre. Clearly, subtlety was not the brief to the interior designer. It is little wonder that we caught many wild-eyed walk-in diners taking a tour of the place before settling in a comfortable spot.
We called for a round of their signature cocktails – the vodka-based Pani Puri Caipirojka (Rs 290) was an honest ode to our favourite street snack pani-puri. Kokum Sour (Rs 350) was a pinkish-red, pleasing-to-the-palate drink; the Iced Peru (Rs 350) was served in a glass rimmed with chili with the vibrant fruity punch of guava evident in every sip.
Aam Panna (Rs 350) was brimming with the familial tangy flavours of raw mango, and the Jaljeera Sour (Rs 350) was a strong whisky-based spicy concoction. The cocktails were quite boozy, were served chilled and worked as absolute summer refreshers. They also serve complimentary tasters before you decide your order. Their drinks menu, aptly titled Maal, is elaborate with Indian and imported selections.
The quick-on-their-feet waiters whose uniformed shirts have the word ‘Boss’ imprinted on them, also placed some chakhana on our table. Wrapped typically street-style in newspapers, we got spiced boiled groundnuts, kothambir wadi and sev – perfect accompaniments to the drinks.
The underlying theme behind the food here is to recreate Mumbai’s street food and serve it with spunk. Their menu has ‘Vez’ and ‘Non-vez’ categories. Their signature Dhokla Pakoda(Rs 150) is soft and spongy, sandwiched with green chutney in cute white tea cups. The Bombay Dabba (Rs 550) is a great social platter of anda pakoda, chicken lollipops, chicken tikka and masala fish fingers – the crispy mildly spiced fish fingers being the highlight here. You also simply must order the Shetty Mulgapuddi Idli (Rs 150) where tiny idlis are tossed in ghee, sesame seeds, curry leaves and spiced with mulgapuddi powder.
If you are not a basa fan, skip the Stuffed Basa Thecha Rolls (Rs 220) where the only hero of the dish was the spicy thecha. For something heavier, order the Bombay Chicken Pijja (Rs 250) served with ketchup – the pizza has lots of Amul cheese layered over diced tomatoes and yellow bell peppers doused with dry red chili garlic powder (the type that normally accompanies a vada pav). The home-style Bhuna Mutton (Rs 350) had a rich gravy of browned onions but it’s the chewiness of the mutton pulled down the dish. What was disappointing however was to note the lack of desserts in the menu. A chai popsicle for instance would’ve made for an apt end to our Mumbaiya meal!
Evocative reminders of Mumbai will jolt you even right before you leave in the form of the bill which is a BEST bus ticket. The outlet has a lot in the pipeline – the paan tapri may become more than a prop double-shifting as a DJ booth. For office-goers looking for a fun lunch break, a khau galli themed lunch buffet is in the works. A topi-sporting bartender will occupy the golawala cart from where he will whip up different concoctions.
Very reasonably priced, Bombay Bronx has definitely filled the void for ‘concept-restaurants’ in Pune. Next time you find yourself missing Mumbai, no need to get on the first bus out of the city; simply drive by to the Bronx!
Must Try: Dhokla Pakoda, Bombay Dabba
Meal For Two: Rs 1,500 + taxes (with alcohol)
This meal was sponsored by the restaurant.
This review was published on Burrp.