When you look upon us, what do you see? Captains of industry and renegades of journalism who put their lives on the line each day so that the people of Mumbai can finally know which chicken shawarma on Carter Road is marginally better. Men who’ve spent countless hours on the front lines of food blogging; calling out those who dare serve sub-par crispy chicken with strongly worded essays. You may want to thank us for our service, but sometimes even we like to put all the criticism aside and just have a good time. And what better way to kick back and enjoy one’s fleeting will to live than at a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously? Somewhere that might not necessarily have the best food or drinks, but still manages to win you over with its charm and whimsical atmosphere? We’ve always loved themed restaurants. There’s just something refreshing about putting your rational thoughts aside as you get partake in copious amounts of lazily named cocktails and foods; but naturally, some do it better than others:
A jungle themed buffet in a dilapidated mall in Oshiwara may seem odd, but its location is not even the fourth most suspicious thing about Wild Dining. There are animatronic gorillas, creepy jungle noises emanating from the walls, and questionable statues of blacks that will likely be destroyed by a mob of peaceful protestors. Weird as it may be, you can’t really fault Wild Dining for investing so much money into trying to look like a real jungle. The food may not be exceptional, but it’s certainly well above average, and we particularly enjoyed the Fish Koliwada and Mutton Tanatan. We can’t really say why Wild Dining exists, but we still love it nonetheless for bringing the joy of a theme park to an otherwise mundane experience.
There may be more Pop Tates in Mumbai than stars in the sky or warrants for our arrests, but the only one we really find even remotely charming is the outlet in Lokhandwala. Having a good time at Pop Tates is a fairly complicated process, but rewarding if you can figure out the numerous loopholes on the menu. Our advice would be ignore the main course because everything we tried was rather terrible, and instead focus your attention on the starters; which are substantially better. Still, for all its glaring drawbacks, Pop Tates is still a charming place if you know what you’re getting into, and it can’t really do a greater disservice to the Archie Comics than the writers already did themselves.
Most dive bars in Bombay follow the exact same formula. They’re shadowy and dingy spaces with barebones tables and chairs, with the occasional tissue holder if you’re a valued customer. But Akshaya is no ordinary dive bar. It is in fact modelled around an Irish pub, even going so far as to incorporate an ornate hardwood door. Unlike their contemporaries, Akshaya proudly displays their stock for premium liquor for all to see. As far as food goes, they’re far from the best, & they never seem to have any of the seafood mentioned on their menu. Still, the chakna is free, so we’re willing to let it slide.