THEORY is South Mumbai’s latest, new-age cocktail hotspot, impressing stylish connoisseurs, ever since, its launch in December 2016. Exactly a year later, I set out to explore this posh tavern enwrapped in a curvy charcoal-colour decor, exceptionally delicious flavours, and an inescapable bar. A few blocks from Kamala Mills is this crowded neighbourhood favourite, a mecca of serious and swanky cocktails. You certainly need to dine and drink here once before you die! (or leave Mumbai, whichever comes first).
At THEORY (The Experience) swirl, sip, swallow a wide variety of fermented Whiskies, Gins, and other healthy herbed spirits. Their art of molecular mixology (herbal and organic concoctails) will never fail to surprise you with endless options. I tried a ‘straight up’ Gin cocktail garnished with fresh thyme, citrus peel twists, and star anise.
A drink that will make you love Gin! Not only, did the cocktail evoke a beachside vibe, but also, released an intense botanical brisk flavour taking you back to the colonial India era. When most British officers drank gin with tonic, as a refined medicinal drink. I love that surprisingly versatile Gin is making its way back into the future.
THEORY is run by trendsetters, Akash Sheth and Mickhiel Pinto, inclined to dazzle the world with their unconventional upshots. Whether you want a few drinks or a full-course dining experience, this lounge is the perfect place to have a night’s rager. The lounge bar further leads into a fully serviced restaurant, where THEORY expresses its European bent through its curved ceilings, teak wood tables, and intricate vintage seating. The centrepiece is their long dreamy menu!
I took my indulgence a notch above by giving rein to the skilled Chef Jagdish, who introduced me to some of the THEORY’s signature dishes. The splendid menu of THEORY features an unconventional soup, carpaccio, small-plates, large-plates, and desserts segment. I started with Truffle-scented Wild Mushroom and Chicken soup. Here’s what makes this soup entree so yummy! Not only, does the soup appeal as an adventure, but is also, exceptionally fragrant, delicious, and luxurious. Evidently making it my favourite soup recipe in Mumbai.
After the steamy soup, a “small-plate” menu tasting session followed. The selection of elegant appetisers began with a serving of a low-fat, Moroccan Pumpkin & Quinoa salad, with crunchy Kale leaves, roasted buckwheat, pomegranate, orange segment, dehydrated beetroot and chilly lime vinaigrette. This savoury (heart-friendly) salad is a protein-rich vegan meal, designed with wellness in mind. One salad, you want to eat all summer!
From the Carpaccio pick, the Chef made me taste a delicate pepper tenderloin dish featuring basil marinated tenderloin. Bovine Carpaccio, as the name goes, is a tenderloin speciality dished out with arugula, gherkins, capers, shaved parmesan, and balsamic vinaigrette. This tenderloin with Maldon salt is so fantastically tender that it curls up to your fork right away.
Small plates arrive from a sharing culture, where people could relish and share small portions, as light as bar snacks. Although, in THEORY, each small-plate item is a revitalising meal that lasts a long time. From this menu, I happened to taste the moist Elephant Yam Gnocchi, accentuated with roasted crispy Kale, and sesame seeds. I love that this healthy Gnocchi Pasta came with sweet Yams instead, of potatoes. On top of that, the chef drizzled a flavoursome honey-balsamic salad dressing over the Gnocchi, adding a glamorous glaze.
Next small-plate dish, was the succulent, smoked Zucchini and Almond Tortellini. What more, the small rings of Italian tortellini came with toasty almonds in a blue cheese dressing, bursting with fresh, creamy flavours.
Next on table, was this creative Goat Cheese Fegatini with sage butter foam. Fegatini’s are a Tuscan special pasta with rustic chicken liver pate. Another mouthwatering Italian dish served with dried cranberries, figs, and walnuts. I was strung on the sage butter foam for a while. Never have I ever tasted foam with flavour before, therefore, cherished a new experience.
My small-plate tasting ended with this fantastic Japanese Tuna Tartare. This impressive, chilled, and saucy gourmet dish was ladled out with fresh cubes of bluefin tuna, guacamole, sesame seeds, and a drizzle of ponzu dressing. One dish, you must certainly, try at THEORY for its insanely fresh ingredients that awaken your senses with each bite.
Now, coming to the large-plates selection! The tasting began with the pickled Beetroot Risotto. Gordon Ramsay, once said, who needs meat, when you can cook a healthy vegan lunch that’s simply indulgent. Ironically, he was referring to the vibrant Beetroot Risotto, I was to taste, on this very day. This isn’t a strictly Italian dish, but it does extract a nostalgic European essence from arugula, pine nuts, and crumbled goat cheese.
Next up, was the best-ever “Saffron Fettuccine” put together in a scrumptiously luxurious creamy sauce. This divine pasta came plated up with roasted bell pepper, baby aubergine, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and bocconcini cheese. This vegan delight was stunning, as much as, I would love to taste the shrimp or scallops variation also someday.
Braised Australian Lamb Shank, was an exotic spicy change, from the subtle European flavours. This large-plate main-course is slow-cooked with burnt garlic mash and gremolata, in rosemary jus, which releases intense Mediterranean flavours. This warm dish is both gorgeous and comforting!
Lastly, came this sumptuous Smoked Chilean Sea Bass from the large-plate menu. It’s a beautiful preparation that requires the fish to bake on the indirect-heat side of the grill, so that, it retains its moisture despite, acquiring a bronzed crunchy texture on the surface. This delicious gourmet treat, came along with, cauliflower puree, bok choy, poached egg, and mornay sauce.
Desserts can be a lavish affair if they make your jaw drop without making your wallet cry! In THEORY, you have the luxury of spoiling yourself to some of the world’s best desserts. I indulged in both the bittersweet Chocolate Cremeux and the very palatable Passionfruit and Salted Caramelised Popcorn Mousse.
The French Chocolate Cremeux is a dense, soft, chocolate flavoured pudding that’s the new darling of pastry chefs. Today, I had a chance to devour this super-chocolaty version with hazelnut mousse. On top of that, the Cremeux comes with an aromatic chocolate crumble.
My last course of the day was none other than, an exciting ‘deconstructed’ passionfruit and salted caramelised popcorn Mousse. That’s some classic comfort food with a modern twist! Indeed, a luscious, caramelly Mousse adorned with gooey raspberry jelly, passion fruit curd, cocoa nibs, cocoa tuile, and coconut ice cream. (with a final sprinkling of sea salt)
Such extravagant culinary delights deserve to be eaten only, by a diamond-encrusted spoon. Pretty sure, it was one of the best dinners I’ve had in a very long time. Besides, this tasting was like taking a world tour with authentic flavours. THEORY was indeed an experience, I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Each one of you must experience this restaurant for its herbed cocktails, food with fresh ingredients, and sophisticated ambience.