It’s a new visual space, a new team, a new menu, and a whole new vibe. But the feeling of home remains at Slink & Bardot.
Think home, but the aspirational kind from catalogues and Pinterest mood boards. The only constant at Slink & Bardot is change, right from the colours to the vibe and more.
An innocuous little building stands right before the entrance of Mumbai’s famous fishing spot. The lack of a sign doesn’t prevent you from stopping, curious to explore further. And you’re not left disappointed as you walk through the little red door. Immediately, it’s like a different era, one reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour.
What veteran restaurateur Vicky Singh and Riyaaz Amlani have cleverly managed to do is revamp the space to make it more ‘grown-up’, whilst retaining all of the ‘I’m out but still at home’ vibe. So you move from quietly beguiling rooms of deep red, green, and blue, with everything from lounge chairs to a grand piano, two bars and even a secret cigar room in the mix.
As we make our way into what’s soon to be a limited access space, the dull gold accents on a large bar immediately grab your eye. With the promise of refreshing cocktails by mixologist Santosh Kukreti looming large, it’s already shaping up to be a promising evening. The painstaking art on the menu is worth noting as well, and offers guests a chance to sample classics from different eras.
My newly teetotalling friend opts for a virgin Meloma, a clear cocktail made with tequila, mezcal, and a few citrus notes. It’s simple looking yet complex tasting, well-balanced overall. The Punch immediately catches my eye and doesn’t disappoint. Made with five ingredients, the cocktail is soothing and refreshing, perfect for the current Mumbai humidity. Another cocktail worth mentioning is the Devil’s Share. Made with tequila, agave, lime, jalapeno, cilantro, and birds eye chilly, there’s a warm aftertaste of spice preceded by a gentle slide of flavours.
Complementing the cocktails is a stellar food menu, helmed by Chef Aliakbar Baldiwala. The sparkle in his bespectacled eyes is instantaneously telling of his experimental nature, and we’re proven right as the plates start coming out.
With Slink & Bardot opting to be a trendy cuisine-agnostic eatery this time around, the focus is heavily on global flavours and influences. For those with opposing food preferences looking to grab a bite, there’s a Personal Plates section just for you! These one-bite wonders are where Chef Ali’s skills truly shine. It’s also where you get to see the prowess of his imagination and knowledge of technique, culminating in a delightful plate.
The Slink Ceviche is a hit straight off the bat, each bite a delight as the tender red snapper mixes in with the coconut coriander sauce, with a unique potato salli topping. This is the first of many dishes that boldly explore textures and flavours, and successfully so. Where most would consider toying with chicken wings sacrilegious, the Slink & Bardot team have managed to elevate it and how. Here, you get one juicy piece on your plate, but it’s the hit of goji berries as you bite into the wing and the fermented berry hot sauce that really whets your appetite.
We also sampled the Cottage Cheese and Baby Corn dishes, each with its own distinct and refined take. While the flavour profiles are nailed, it comes across as a little too simplistic on an otherwise adventurous menu.
What really stood out to us, enough to repeat our order, was the Okra and Potato. A gourmet nod to the humble aloo bhindi, this dish is best explained through sight and taste. Truly the best and perhaps most innovative item I’ve come across in Mumbai, and definitely strong enough to merit a visit for it alone.
As the story goes, the mains arrived to find us a little full, but extremely excited. I opted for the Eggplant, cooked with XO, pomegranate molasses, and black-eyed peas. It wasn’t the banger I was expecting, but everything was cooked and seasoned to perfection. There’s also a slew of chicken and seafood options available, something to try on our next visit!
The desserts at the time of our visit featured a Goat Milk cheesecake and a Coconut, Passionfruit, and Yuzu tart. After a meal that catered to the truly elite gourmand in me, these, unfortunately, fell a little flat. But Chef Ali’s promise of additional desserts to come, especially in collaboration with the renowned Chef Prateek Bakhtiani, is well worth waiting for.
As I sipped on my Aeropress Negroni, the nightcap was the perfect way to bring an intimate hideaway experience full circle. Slink & Bardot truly embodies Vicky’s vision of providing an ideal space for any kind of mood you might walk in with. The elevated seasonal produce and flawless cocktails are simply perks.
Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars)
One dish we loved: Okra and Potato
One thing that didn’t work for us: Cottage Cheese