With its Bollywood sounding moniker, the barely six-month-old JLWA turned out to be a revelation. Not only does it offer some great experimental Indian-continental cuisine and kickass cocktails, but has also become party central for millennials of Bandra post 10pm.
The brainchild of Priyank Sukhija (who’s also behind Tamasha and Lord of the Drinks), it is spread over 4,500 sq ft with a huge bar taking over one entire end. Done classily in turquoise, green and gold with trendy aerial lighting, a key focus is the music they play – often bringing down renowned DJs and having theme nights.
Cocktails & Cuisine
An entire new menu has just been rolled out by Chef Sagar Bajaj which includes a special Jain menu. But first, the cocktails which are truly ‘mind-blowing’. Banarasi Paan Beer with its combination of paan infused vodka, maple syrup, bourbon whiskey, egg white, apple juice and topped up by beer is a clear winner. I was hesitant to try it initially since I’m not a fan of paan, but once I did I could only happily nod to a second. In this season of the king of fruit, Achaari Aam has vodka with kafir infused tequila and aam panna, while Melon Ball is a refreshing buzz of vodka, midori, watermelon juice and passion fruit syrup. There are many more equally enticing concoctions (Lemongrass Babylon Cooler and Hello Darling) and this is probably the best roll call of cocktails I’ve come across.
Besides soups, salads and pizzas, there’s an extensive range of starters. Mushroom and Truffle Croquettes were crispy pellets that were really well flavoured, Ghee Roast Chicken Steak Roll was wrapped in tiny tawa parathas and not oily at all, Greek Style Chicken Kebab came on a bed of pita unusually, Bhuna Gosht Mini Sliders had pepper chilli cheese and were accompanied by masala fries while Jack Daniel Prawns were doused in a creamy mix of the bourbon whiskey though the prawns unfortunately hadn’t absorbed much of it. In mains, I just managed a bite of the tasty Cantonese Style Char Sui Chicken that was bursting with an amalgamation of spices and came with a cauliflower puree. Gulab Jamun Crème Brulee (which included some buddhi ka baal) and Textures of Chocolate (brownie, dark chocolate, bitter chocolate mousse) ended the meal perfectly.
The creamy Caesar of Baby Cos salad was a sheer delight not only for its malai chicken chunks but also for the crunch of tandoori bacon bits.
½ Dozen Pin Wheel Pizzas were a disappointment.
(JLWA, 3rd floor, VN sphere, Linking road, Bandra West, Mumbai; Tel +91-22-33715961)
By Farhad J. Dadyburjor, Mumbai