Science Lesson: Masalabar’s high octane lab of molecular cocktails opens in Mumbai

MAR 18, 2016 | By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Sunset@Carter is made with whisky, a rosemary orange concoction, topped with almond foam. The long black bar features reflective glass cut in geometrical design. The Bollywood Bhang is relished by smoking vodka basil fumes, then sipping the drink made with vodka and a homemade herbal mix.

It’s tough to go around a bend in Bandra without bumping into a new bar or restaurant. Last weekend, as we made our way towards another launch at Carter road, we spotted tall windows, warmly lit up from inside. Faint progressive trance was wafting through the open doors as we were guided to the first floor. While making our way into Masalabar by Zorawar Kalra, we spotted three steps, decorated with lit candles with melted wax artistically splattered all over the stairs. Equal parts eerie and intriguing, we instantly knew this place was going to be different.
First impressionMasalabar is a happy aberration in the rapid bar-ification in the city. This copper tinted semi-circular space spells elegance and opulence. While the interiors were designed by Ayaz and Zameer Basrai of the The Busride Design Studio, Zorawar takes a leaf out of the science lab to introduce molecular drinks by using special machines and techniques with local ingredients.
The interiorsOverlooking the sea, the glass facade of the restaurant offers panoramic views of the horizon. Tiny reflective mirrors decorate the walls and the entire area is lit by only candles; over 800 organic ones. “The idea was to create a modern-day Sheesh Mahal, as a fitting backdrop to the fantastic Indian tech-infused cocktails,” explains designer Ayaz Basrai. The all black bar takes central focus and the ceiling above, installed with candles illuminates the place.
The drinks and serviceAll cocktails pay an ode to Mumbai and are named after different places and events quintessential to this city. As we stood, watching wide eyed, the bartender ran the alcohol through machines and for some, he even passed it through smoking pipes and finally, poured them into funky glasses – all a part of the theatrics. Our favourite, the Malabar Point, tells a story of the place it takes its name from. Made with vodka (signifying air), chamomile (for earth), topped with foam infused with thyme (representing clouds), it completes the landscape of Malabar Hills and leaving behind a divine taste. The second drink that we loved was the Bollywood Bhang, also made with vodka. But before you take a sip, you are made to smoke in the basil infused fumes. Once your palate is full of the basil flavour, the real pungent taste of the drink comes through. The tapas menu has a selection of various dishes. From classic bar bites like fish fingers, mini pizzas to chicken lollipops and paneer tikka, the place offers a modernised take on the regular street cuisine.
ED’s final verdictThose who love experimenting and crave new experiences will love this place. For those unadventurous few, we still recommend popping by, after all, they do serve the usual beers and wines. Most of the finger food does not live up to the hype as the central focus is on the drinks. Masalabar shows Mumbai how to enjoy their drinks in a different way…against the dreamy backdrop of the sea and the drama of a chemical laboratory.Website:
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