Vice - Global Tapas Bar in Juhu, Mumbai is perfect for some lip-smacking tapas and cocktails
Standing outside its door, made entirely of cubes put together in a very interesting manner, we waited for a good 45 seconds, puzzled how to enter this newly opened tapas bar in Juhu. There was no handle or knob, a conscious default that’s present across the entire space. Luckily, the staff opened the door for us and we entered the visual spectacle that Vice - Global Tapas Bar is - the bar table features Mother of Pearls, the ceiling creates an impression of sand dunes and the outdoor dining space features a wall, made of similar cubes.
“This place took about nine months and five and a half crore of investment to be up and running. The idea was to create something that Bombay hasn’t seen yet, something that is very progressive but understated and minimalistic,” says Kaushal Shah, one of the four promoters and adds, “The concept is brutal. If you look at the blocks that form the outer wall, they are concrete. The ones that form the door are made from edges of several layers of ply put together. And, if you put a count, it goes to over 15,000 pieces of blocks that form this structure.”
Designed by Ashish Kambli, Vice offers an outdoor as well as indoor seating, separated by glass windows and doors, sans knobs and handles. “The whole structure here is seamless. The reason we don’t have any doorknobs is that we want people to wonder about the exit and enter routes while they are here embracing their vices,” says Shah and adds, “Vice has always been a negative term but we think it is anything that you overindulge in... For us, it is our attention to detail, a vice we share with our architect Ashish. Our brief to him was that we want to create something that has not been done before and this is his expression. His idea was to take bits from dessert and put them here.”
We were busy listening to him when food started arriving on our table. The menu curated by Chef Rakesh Talwar, who is also one of the promoters, features an extensive tapas menu alongside a set main course menu for each day of the week. We tried Kale Pakoda, Juhu Chowpatty Platter, Gochujang Paneer, Edamame with Yuzu, Hand Cut Sweet Potato Fries and Veg Paella.
While Kale Padoka with a dash of chat masala left us craving for more, the Chowpatty Platter, featuring miniature versions of vada pav, panipuri and pao-bhaji, retained the ‘chat’ element in their flavours but our absolute favourite from the menu was Gochujang Paneer, a fusion between Korean Gochujang paste and Indian Paneer Tikka.
“Everybody in Korea had a tube of fermented red chilli paste called Gochujang and it was a fascinating sight for me. When I tried this, I liked the taste so much that I got two dabbas (container) of Gochujang for my home. For a long time, I kept wondering what to do with it until I decided to make paneer tikka. I think the tandoor uplifted its taste to another level, something I am sure Korean didn’t even know was possible,” says Chef with a wink.
The reason his menu offers an extensive tapas menu is that Chef Talwar wants his customers to indulge in as many flavours as they want without feeling full. “And, it is also why I fought a six-month-long battle with my partners to offer them at a price one wouldn’t mind. But, if somebody wants to have a main course, we do offer a set menu every day featuring three to four dishes,” adds Chef while admitting that it is important to give in to the latest fads. “You might not have ordered Spinach Pakoda but you wouldn’t think twice before ordering Kale. It is important to give customers what they want, the menu has something for everyone, whether you are on a keto diet or want something that’s fancy like Kale. I just brought it to earth and added some masala to it (laughs). All I want is to feed good food to people and make them happy,” he adds.
Alongside food, we also indulged in the wide section of cocktails that they offer and what caught our attention in the menu were drinks like ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘Whatever’ and ‘I Don’t Care’. “Often you go to a bar and you are like, ‘I don’t know what I want’. In this case, the mixologist will ask you about your vice - whisky, gin or vodka and will make a drink for you. If you choose Whatever, he will make a drink with whatever is available at the bar and sometimes your agenda is just to have two drinks and get hammered and that’s when you can go for I Don’t Care,” shares Shah.
We went for I Don’t Care and I Don’t Know and were served Richmond Park, a gin-based drink with pineapple juice and sour mix, and Evening Glory, vodka infused with turmeric, and we loved both of them.
Our verdict: The place is brutal and beautiful and the vibe is just right. Do drop in here to have some good food and cocktails with your friends. Although it is an evening place at present, they have plans to make it an all-day place soon and when they do, you must visit this place during the day, the outdoor seating is perfect for brunches.
Price for two: Rs 3000 with alcohol