Have you heard? The clangorous thoroughfare of Lower Parel is home to the city’s new Town Hall. Residing within the shiny new Lodha World Towers Complex, the 150-seater bar & restaurant has all the trappings of becoming Bombay’s next vaunted haunt.
It’s certainly an arresting space, with interiors channeling the vision inspired by the original (immensely-popular) establishment in Delhi. Pride of place is commanded by the behemoth bar at the centre of the room. Indeed, we’re already thirsty to revisit over the weekend, just to sip our way through the expertly-crafted cocktails that we’ve been hearing so much about!
This being a Wednesday afternoon, we forlornly pass on the drinks list, instead drinking in the details of the well thought-out surrounds – from rattan chairs and low-hanging chandeliers, to the nostalgic touches adorning the walls. An installation of CST’s façade (fashioned entirely out of gold screws!) is unmissable, as is the line-up of old Air India adverts promoting their first flight from Bombay to London. The throwback is particularly poignant at a time when the airline industry is in shambles and the national carrier is seeing a surge in bookings for the first time in its modest history.
So, what’s good to eat here? Well I’m always a bit baffled when I come across menus which confidently offer both Asian and Italian cuisines. Truth be told, there’s a “trying too hard” undertone to the all-encompassing selection, which is overwhelmingly extensive and striving to offer everything for everyone.
Still, it’s gladdening to see that vegetarians are thoughtfully well-catered to with new thought rendered to old classics and Asian staples, manifesting in a creative combination of complex flavours and colourful textures!
One of the most action-packed sushi rolls I’ve had in a while, the aptly-titled Mt Fuji sees a vibrant assembly of mixed lettuce, tofu, shiitake and thinly-sliced cucumber “furikake”, its virtuous quality thrillingly-foiled by the delicate wisps of tempura flakes and crisp shards of rice crackers coating the rolls. Pan-fried gyoza are immaculate, their bottoms sporting just the right touch of char; while our infatuation with avocados continues over a summer-appropriate salad, laced with a startlingly-spicy mango verde which delivers a whack of heat!
The highs of an otherwise gratifying lunch are let down by a seemingly lacklustre selection of desserts. Un-enticed by the sound of a pandan cheesecake or kaffir lime mousse, we timidly order the raspberry chocolate. The muted flavours of the milky mound of chocolate – cocooned within a shiny sheath of raspberry – don’t hit the right notes for us; but we fare better with the sugar-free chocolate mousse we order next. Made with sweet potato to impart a natural sweetness, it’s a decadently-dense dessert – the sort that has your body begging for a nap right after!
If the litmus test of a new restaurant lies in whether it will draw guests back, Townhall will no doubt pass with buzzworthy colours. To level with you, it’s no specific dish that will have you hankering for a revisit – rather the feel-good factor and zeitgeisty undertone at this trendy new establishment, which is fast fashioning itself as the place to sink a cocktail & sushi on your next night on the town!
Town Hall, Lodha World Towers, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel | 8879725166
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