Of bespoke decor and quirky food

It is easy to miss the narrow flight of stairs leading to Junglee Billee amid the sea of people at Greater Kailash’s M Block market; and that’s exactly what happened when we decided to check out the new boutique-studio-in-bar, a concept never heard before in the city.

But after some assistance, we finally reached the place, which is being described as “India’s first, stylized designer eatery and lifestyle destination dedicated to the deserving divas of modern times.”

Greeted by an effervescent staff, the first thing that caught our eyes was the place’s quirky yet elegant interiors done by designer Nida Mahmood. The wallpapers to the furniture – both done using soothing shades of soft blues and pinks to lemon and orange; the light fixtures (made of tiny cups and saucers hung upside down); the crockery and even decor elements comprising cameras, typewriters, and women vanity items, everything seemed to be in perfect sync with each other.

“The idea was to create an original space keeping in mind the nature of Art Nouveau. We had to pick up the correct elements that defined Bombay Velvet – an era when India was a melting pot of various foreign influences. Each decor element has been acquired from collectors and are valued at very high prices,” Mahmood tells Metrolife.

After a quick look around the place, which has been conceptualised as a space that celebrates women, we were escorted to the terrace for a tasting of their new BBQ sundowner menu, which had delicacies being prepared on a live grill on lava stones. The setting on the terrace was perfect, the setting sun, a grill set up next to little pool, a band playing live jazz music.

We settled next to the grill, and within minutes were served Lavash with Hummus and Baba Ghanoush and recommended to try their Sangria and mulled wine, which were perfect in every way.

Unable to resist the smell of the grill, we ordered Garlic Thyme Marinated Fish. Served within minutes, the basa with a topping of garlic aioli was extremely tender and succulent.
While we were relishing the fish, an array of bite-sized appetisers namely Chicken and Cream Tart, Mushroom and Spinach Tart, Dill and Fish Canapé, Keema Puff and Fresh Tomato Pesto Bruschetta’ were served. A piece of each, along with sips from our wines, transported us to a world of flavours and mild fragrances.

We then opted for Chargrilled Mushrooms, Cajun Spiced Chicken Skewer and were recommended to try the Grilled Chicken Sausage by Chef Pawan Bisht. The chicken skewers were a little chewy, but the mushrooms and sausages (with hearty dose of BBQ sauce) simply melted in our mouths and had a distinct, lingering aftertaste.

After so much munching, we decided to call it a day but the chef advised us to try a few items from their regular menu and we could not resist the offer. He led us to the first floor where he helped us through the menu, which offers everything from the gullies and café’s of Mumbai — be it the chaat and other street food items to exotic Italian.

Since we were almost full, we requested him to suggest his favourites, and he smilingly obliged. What we were served next were probably the best from his kitchen.  For drinks, he advised we try the Sparkling Lollipop, a concoction of rum, figs and grape-lolly and sparkling wine. Served as an ice lolly, the signature cocktail had a overpowering grape flavour which was balanced by the wine.

Next up were the Khandvi Chaat (from the menu’s Patel Bhais Farsan Korner section), Bhaijaan Seekh (from Mumbai Dabbawala section) and the Mh. Ali Chicken Boti Kebab (from Sion Koliwada section). The savoury Gujarati snack was given a street-side snack twist and was served with a mix of peanuts, tomatoes, sev, papdi. The mutton seekh kebab and the chicken boti, served with onions and mint chutney, were a bagful of flavours, and had us licking our fingers.

And when you have had such a wonderful experience, how can you leave without having anything sweet? So there we were, digging into a serving of the Bombay Mava Cake. The sweet cheesecake with a crushed cashew crust and butter frosting served with berry sauce was definitely the icing on the entire culinary experience.

Address: M-24, Greater Kailash 1.

Cost for two: Rs 1,800 (without alcohol)

Timings: 12 pm to  12.45 am.

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