When it comes to Bombay’s watering holes, I’m firmly of the thinking – old school, old’s cool.
One of my favourite haunts is Wink, the timeless Asian-inspired bar at Taj President which is still as trendy today as when it opened ten years ago.
I recently swung by for a long overdue catch-up with my bestie over sushi and cocktails. What followed was a fabulously fun evening that really went to show why Wink is likely to mark several more anniversary milestones in this city. I’ll chalk it down to five simple reasons…
Let’s start with the obvious – Wink’s signature range of martinis, which span an eclectic set of flavour profiles from the earthy (think martinis infused with curry leaves, herbs or spiced tea decoctions) to the adventurous (wasabi martini anyone?) to downright luscious cocktails featuring fresh fruit juices!
Upon the visiting mixologist Tug’s recommendation, I took a walk on the green side with a Grassy martini – an unusual but flavoursome vodka-based concoction of litchi juice, curry leaves, ginger and lemongrass. While Hena indulged in a taste of the Forbidden Apple – a heady mix of scotch whiskey, fresh apples, hazelnut syrup, lime juice and a touch of sugar syrup!
2. From high to low energy, in just a wink.
Coincidentally – my prior visit to Wink a few months back had also been with Hena and her hubby, whence we’d enjoyed a more raucous night out on the town over the weekend. Our most recent visit was on a Tuesday night, with the relaxed yet lively ambience well-suited to our laid-back mood.
Indeed, the versatility of this space is a core element of Japanese designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu’s running theme across the bar, which you’ll find seamlessly divided into two interconnected areas – a high energy bar area and a rather zen lounge, which you can move in between, in just the wink of an eye!
3. Bar bites
It’s safe to say that the bar menu is a big draw as well, with Wink specialising in some of the best sushi in the city. We’re told that each piece is hand-rolled precisely to weigh exactly the same!
Hen made quick work of her prawn tempura roll; while I absolutely loved my rainbow Uramaki filled with asparagus, cream cheese and cucumber, with delicate layers of carrots and avocado on top, that textured each bite beautifully.
The only critique we could offer? The kitchen were far too generous, rendering the sushi pieces (almost) too big to eat!
4. Only the most epic pizza in Bombay ever.
So in my humble view, Taj President is one of the most attractive dining destinations in Bombay – from offering a taste of Konkani coastal fare to serving up the best Thai food in the city.
And let’s not forget the pizza fiamma at Trattoria. The hotel’s Italian restaurant is one that we’re all as likely to visit with friends for a 3 a.m. pizza fix on the weekend, as we are for a Sunday family lunch – the love for a fiamma is truly timeless and transcends generations!
Well, the good news is that if you request them nicely (or badger them enough!), Wink’s unflappable staff will pop by to Tratts next door and bring one over to you by the bar!
A sharp martini and an epic fiamma, baked to a thin-crust, crisp perfection with the simple, comfortingly familiar toppings of onion and chilli flakes… yep sometimes, it really doesn’t get much better than that.
In fact, it’s pretty much the one and only occasion when my staunch but long-suffering blog supporter Hena hasn’t allowed my camera to eat first! I guess a pizza fiamma waits for no one.
5. Top notch service
Finally. A special shout out to Wink’s incredible team from the visiting mixologist Tug to the long-time staff who’s passion for and dedication to the bar really shines through.
We especially enjoyed chatting with our server Vikram, who’s been with Wink since its very beginning and so knows everything there is to know about the bar!
Needless to say, our lovely evening was enhanced by the friendly and impeccable service that we’ve come to expect of the Taj group of hotels. I’m already looking forward to my next visit back, this time to celebrate the bar’s ten year anniversary on the tenth of this month!
Wink, Vivanta by Taj President, 90, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai 400005
I was hosted by Taj President, but as always hog full credit for my opinions.