Friday, April 17, 2015

An Evening at Coral Lounge, Vashi - Review

Though I've been living in Navi Mumbai for many years now, I haven't really checked out the bar and lounge scene here. So when the opportunity arose to check out the Coral Lounge at Vashi with the Navi Mumbai Foodies, I went.

Located above Navaratna, one of the oldest and best known restaurants in Vashi, in Sector 17, this is a lovely little lounge that's perfect for after work drinks or a fun weekend evening out with friends. The music is really loud so I would't choose this place for a romantic evening out unless the two of you are looking for an evening of music, drinks and good food without the conversation - which, to be honest, can be great fun.

Coral Lounge is on the first floor, and the way up is on the side of the building. Finding it was a bit of a hunt for me because there are no boards or signage to guide people. But that was a minor hurdle and I found my way up eventually.

The place is small but there's enough comfortable seating with low tables and sofas, and regular restaurant style higher tables and seats too. I must mention, they also have a clean loo.

The bar menu is quite extensive with a selection of wines from Sula, and most of the popular spirits, both imported and local. They also have a decent selection of classic cocktails, shooters, and a line up of their own concoctions too. If you're not into alcohol you can have regular soft drinks or try out their mocktails.

Once everyone had arrived and we'd settled in we ordered our drinks and snacks. We asked for small tasting portions of the snacks so we could try out a lot more before we were totally stuffed! I started my evening with a classic Mojito. It's among my favourite cocktails and I wanted to see how well Coral Lounge made it. I have to say it was pretty good!

What really caught my attention as the evening wore on was the food. We'd ordered a mix mix of vegetarian and non vegetarian fare and while the non vegetarian stuff was quite good, the vegetarian snacks were really the winner for me. What impressed me the most was the fact that the options were not stuck at paneer tikka and hara bhara kebabs like at most places. The chef was happy to play with ingredients and ideas and with good results.

We had Veg Kurkuris - Crisp pastry cigars stuffed with cheese and vegetables served in shot glasses with a sweet chilli sauce at the bottom. These were finger licking good and I actually liked the contrast of the sweet chilli sauce with the savoury cigar. I could have had a dozen of these quite happily.

The other Vegetarian starter I liked was from their tandoor section - Paneer Makhmali Bharwaan Roll. Thin sheets of paneer rolled up around a mixed vegetable stuffing, these were delectable.

We also tried their Rock Corn Tempura which I thought was strictly okay. Corn kernels in a red batter is not what I'd call tempura, but apart from the technicality of the nomenclature, I found the dish itself pretty mundane. Not bad, but just nothing great either.

The non vegetarian starters were all quite good. We started with Squid Koliwada, followed by Awadhi Seekh Kebabs, and Chicken Dimsum.

The squid was superb and this spicy Koliwada version packed a punch. The squid had been sliced thinly and we had succulent perfectly fried squid rings and not chewy rubbery rings that are a struggle to eat (especially because you cannot spit out gobs of chewed up food when you're out in public!).

I'm not a fan of seekh kebabs but Coral Lounge does quite a good version and I was glad we'd ordered the Awadhi Seekh Kebabs. The Chicken dimsum was nice but not spectacular.

I didn't want to have any more alcohol do I tried out the Sundowner from the mocktail menu. A blend of orange, lime, peach and cranberry with sugar, it turned out to be a bit too sickeningly thick and sweet. I guess something fizzy in the mix would have lightened it up and if they leave out the added sugar it wouldn't hurt.

It was Bollywood Night on Wednesday so we had a mix of the latest Bollywood hits playing at (what I consider) a deafening volume. It's a relatively small space so maybe that's why I found the music oppressively loud. I must mention that the place was quite full and the other guests were having a good time. In fact, we noted that it was quite full considering that it was the middle of the week. They also have Karaoke so if you want to sing they have quite a selection to choose from.

The good news for old fogies like me is that it's Retro Night on Sundays and I might just drag the hubby over one Sunday for a deafening date night!

Coral Lounge has a discount offer for my readers that's valid for the next few weeks. Quote the code when you visit and get a 15% discount on your bill! The code is RDX15.

Disclaimer - The evening was hosted by Coral Lounge for Navi Mumbai Foodies.

Coral Lounge
First Floor, Nirman Vyapar Kendra
Above Hotel Navaratna,
Sector 17, Vashi

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