When it isn’t constantly finding new ways to kill you, Mumbai is truly an exceptional city. A place where no matter who you are or where you’ve come from, you get to kick back at the end of a long working day with a nice cold beer that helps you forget your company would most definitely fire you to save fifty bucks. But at least it’s a system that works.
As men who’ve built an empire by facilitating a culture of alcohol dependency, we’ve come across our fair share of amazing bars over the years. This is the story of one such dive bar; one that we found in the most not-amazing of places, Kalina. They call it Two Star, and it might just be the answer to everything wrong with the world.
We personally find Two Star’s name to be incredibly pessimistic, it’s at least a Four Star institution, and despite its shabby exterior signboard that looks like someone tried to blow it down, the inside is rather comfortable. We saw no fewer than three ladies in the bar, which is conclusive evidence that Two Star is women-friendly, although we still can’t say the same about Kalina. The seating was very comfortable, & for some reason, the bar had a ridiculous selection of wines.
The alcohol was absurdly cheap, with an entire khamba of Captain Morgan costing exactly 1000 bucks, so naturally, we ordered more than one. Kingfisher Strong, which is the only acceptable beer you can have at Bombay based dive bar without being disrespectful to the regulars was Rs. 270, and the they served practically every denomination of alcohol from 30 ml all the up to 750, just like a liquor store. The menus had descriptions of every single food item with a diction that far surpasses our own, unlike most bars who use names like ‘Chicken Bahubali’ and expect you to work out exactly what that means. Because it is the monsoon season, and liberals would like nothing more than to shame us for ordering fresh seafood because its rude to disturb fishes when they’re mating, we decided to order seafood anyway, for the greater good of right-wing food journalism.
As people with trust issues slowly manifesting in to raw paranoia, we were taken aback when our waiter us promised us that all the seafood was fresh, and it really was. The Bombil Fry at Two Star was one of the finest we’ve ever had, very crunchy on the outside, almost like Sunlight, but tender from within. All-in-all it was just a fresh, delicious bombil fry that won our respect.
Most places we’ve been to tend to douse a clump miniscule shrimp in a ton of batter and then market it as Prawns Koliwada. Two Star on the other hand, as men of honour, use sizable prawns and coat them in just enough batter to add the tiniest bit of flavour so you can actually taste the creature itself, and not just make do with what is essentially a deep-fried paste. It isn’t spicy in the least but rather sweet, the taste of the actual prawn, a very refreshing take on something we should be fed up of eating by now.
Mutton Seekh Kebab
You don’t really expect bar food to be comparable to anything you’d find at a legitimate restaurant, but Two Star has no shortage of surprises. The Mutton Seekh Kebab wasn’t just good but it may have actually been better than places like Nice, an institution which we revere on this site. The kebabs were infused with interesting spices and were soft, succulent & cooked to perfection.
The Decree: Every time we seem to find the best bar in Mumbai, a new contender emerges to take its place. Two Star is quite unbeatable in its pricing and the quality of its food, it’s not too far from civilisation and your lady friends won’t have to worry for their safety for reasons other than your own doing. Should you try it out? Absolutely. Is it worth the venturing into Kalina on a regular basis? Also yes.