Bar Review: The Daily
It takes a certain skill or rather tenacity to score a round of drinks at a Mumbai bar on a Friday night. It was a miracle of sorts then that at Bandra’s new pub The Daily we got our order without having to hustle past a capacity crowd and a fairly raucous one at that. Part of the reason is that The Daily has assigned a server to each table; in fact the attentive staff is remarkably polite.
However, such is their desire to please (we suspect it’s part of the opening week fervour) that you’re barely left alone to have a conversation or quietly nurse your drink as there’s constant intrusion (albeit of the friendly kind) by the staff that checks up on you more often than necessary. You can also abandon all hopes of staying anonymous in the indoor section of The Daily, which is so brightly lit – no doubt to highlight the collection of good news bulletins that cover the walls and ceiling – that no one can miss your drunken indiscretions. This can be problematic as their cocktails are quite potent. The booziest of the three we tried, was the Coconut Mountie (Rs500), a milky tiki cocktail that tasted like a rum-infused Bounty chocolate.
If we were rating them in descending order of deliciousness, the Oriental Passion (Rs650), a molecular concoction involving a bar trick with a smoking gun, would place second. The smoking gun dispensed a kaffir lime-scented cloud that hovered over the pale green vodka cocktail with subtle notes of passion fruit and orange. It’s gimmicky, as our drinking buddy rightly pointed out, but the outcome was unarguably yummy. However, once the cloud dissipated we were left with a glass only quarter full with the drink not justifiably priced at Rs650. The bartenders at The Daily clearly have a disdain for syrups as there was not even a hint of sweetness in our white rum-based orange and dill mojito (Rs375). The preparation was savoury with a bitter edge and had enough alcohol to hasten our inebriation.
Forget pairing these boozy cocktails with dainty nibbles. You will want to match these tipples with sobering fare such as their juicy, cheddar loaded beef burger (Rs250), or a pile of their slender fries heaped with basil-flavoured chicken mince (Rs190). A variation of the fries with a pleasantly sweet port wine-infused gravy was excellent in terms of flavour but somewhat icky in appearance (the liberal use of cornflour caused the gravy to congeal). The nachos (Rs260) with in-house made tortilla chips were let down by clumps of bland cheese, beans, and strangely, boiled sprouts. While we laid waste to the fried, cheese- and gravy-smothered pub grub, our health-minded drinking companion noshed on the lemon pepper fish (Rs335) that had thick, well-cooked squares of pepper-crusted basa moistened with lime juice.
Groups of women outnumbered the men the night we visited The Daily and a small army of bartenders deftly handled their ceaseless orders for cocktails. And all the while buoyant banter competed in loudness with the ambient electronica. All in all, The Daily had a good mix of people – the crowd was mostly folks in their mid-20s to early 30s – and cocktails. We can’t think of two better reasons to return.