Friday, October 26, 2007

A possible new haunt

I usually walk home from Vashi station. Nowadays, with the colors and sparkles of Diwali emulsifying through every shop, home, cart, and mall, the walk is rather pretty. Sometimes I may make a stop at Centre One and have a glass of green apple and wheatgrass juice (which is too tasty to be healthy). But most times, I try to avoid getting run down by people and cars and just get home. Until something tells me I need to take a detour.

The other day I noticed an insipid looking edifice called ‘The Tunga’.

Why anything in Bombay, a city where space is receding like most hairlines, has so many buildings named after vastness (Eternia, Olympia, Coliseum, Large Horizon, Wild/ Big/ Green Acres, Tunga, etc.) is beyond me. But I saw a shimmer of frosted pink fairy lights, so I decided to peep in. The hotel has a few restaurants, a small gym for the people staying at the hotel, and a Kerala Ayurvedic spa (why are all spas so immersed in ‘Kerala Ayurveda’? Is there any other kind of Ayurveda? What are they? I would find Pune Ayurveda very amusing.) One of the restaurants there is Crimson or Crimson Tide or something. All that cursive print and modern abandonment of line spacing makes things difficult to read. As Tunga describes it, Crimson’s a place for grills, coffees, and drinks. The stylish italic font and a cute little fishie picture next to it made me want to go there.

I entered into a decent but strangely posh area. There was a bar area that had wooden flooring, a metal tree with liquor bottles placed as branches, rows and rows of medicinal orange Bacardi Breezers, and a grave bartender wiping martini glasses with a snowy napkin.

There was a preppy arrangement of chic black chairs by the bar. A couple of alcoves were done up in black, copper, and rust with low, glass tables – items that are so essential for the swish factor. Next to the bar was a dining area that, thankfully, came with an uncomplicated ambience of tables without inflammable pots and wicks, music you could listen to and not be flurried over, and straightforward menus. The best bit about the bar is that I happened to be there around 10 in a room full of men, yet didn’t feel odd. No-one stared, no-one spoke in hushed tones or threw me lurid glances. A techie-sort of guy enjoying his drink looked at me quizzically, undoubtedly trying to place me from somewhere. He later gave up and went back to his drowsy comfort.

I settled in a corner and wondered if I should have a quick drink and scoot. This was, after all a new place and I wasn’t sure if I should be frequenting bars alone in Vashi. But the place looked safe. Or more than safe, it looked regular. The lighting was adequate and ambivalent enough to make it suited for a restaurant, lounge, or pub. The service, though slow, was polite and unobtrusive, and the crowd (peppered with a few eloquent French people) seemed harmless.

So, I decided to have a long, languorous time having a drink and reading my book. I sipped a ‘Chilli Mocker’ (a Kermit-colored mocktail that came with an immersed chilly) and ate some besan and corn fritters. I peeled through page after page of ‘The Diana, Chronicles’ stopping to look at a yummy platter of grilled shrimps and sausages ordered at another table. I cleared my head a little, muddled it up some more, and took in the nice, quiet buzz of eating, reading, and thinking in a bar alone.

I think I’ll frequent it more often. Seems to be a good place for grills coffee, and drinks. Just like what the poster said.

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