As a website that successfully incorporates the city’s name into our own to sound more relatable, we find ourselves obliged to defend the honour of our hometown the only way we know how; by threatening Biharis & their families on social media. But ever since this monsoon, that rendered many of our most distinguished field agents dead, wounded, or missing, we’ve realised that in these trying times, looking to the rest of the world for inspiration isn’t necessarily a bad idea. And coincidentally, that’s exactly the philosophy behind Woodside Inn’s Beer & Burger Festival.
Woodside’s Inn’s Beer & Burger Festival is one of the few staple Mumbai traditions that have survived the trials of time and deluge. Now in its 11th year, this food festival, where each burger and its corresponding beer pairing is inspired by a beautiful region of the world (and Ethiopia), has been on our radar for as long as we can remember. On reaching the venue fashionably late as always, we noticed it was already infested with influencers & food bloggers, many of whom had far bigger DSLRs than we did, but we were unfazed because it’s not the size, but how you use it that really matters. After strategically positioning ourselves near the bar and marking our territory with tissue paper and toothpicks, we could finally observe the event in all its glory.
Say what you want about Woodside Inn, their commitment to interior decoration is almost obsessive. As connoisseurs of model ships, we were quite impressed by the ones they had hanging from the ceiling, & the 1950s music blaring on the speakers gave the place an unmistakable charm. After taking in the sights, sounds, and smells, and desperately trying not to get into a fight with the LBB writers at the next table, we were ready to get to business.
Representing India, The Pondicherry was an elegant looking lobster burger. While we’ll never truly understand the lives of lobsters, which taste like some sort of prawn-crab hybrid, we liked how it made us feel. The gentle coconut curry with the sharp Pondicherry Gruyere would likely have made this our favourite burger of the day if the charcoal bun hadn’t been a tad bit too dry. The hyper-crispy, & faintly sweet cassava chips were a welcome addition, but the kale salad was not. Still, as with anything involving fresh lobster, the Pondicherry was amazing and very different from any burger we’d ever eaten, definitely worth a shot if you can spare the expense.
La Mancha, Spain
Named after the legendary home of Don Quixote, a fact that none of the ‘influencers’ at the event found even remotely interesting, the La Mancha burger was without a doubt the best, and most inspired dish of the afternoon. The minced, pickled pork belly patty was rich, juicy and flavourful, and charred just right, while the fries and beautiful fried egg contributed to the overall experience. It was also one of the few ‘true burgers’ at the festival because unlike a lot of the others, it incorporated an actual meat patty. In all honesty, it’s an item that we think truly deserves a promotion to their year-round menu. If we had to stake the entirety of our reputation on just one burger at the festival, it would undoubtedly be the La Mancha.
The Decree: Despite our distrust of foreign cultures, the Woodside Inn Beer and Burger Festival really is something worth braving the very worst of the monsoon to be a part of. The variety of burgers is unparalleled, the craft beer is cold, the music is sublime, and the props are fun, even though they will object to you trying to play with them. We certainly had a good time, and we bet that you’ll likely have a very similar experience.
Where: Woodside Inn, Colaba & Andheri
When: Till August 12, 12 pm to 1 am