When we heard that the Hard Rock franchise was coming to Bombay, we knew we had to take a look. We have seen the cafes in Vegas, Bali, LA and so many other places. How would Bombay stack up?

This is quite simply the best Hard Rock in the world – for an Indian, anyway.

The setting is an old mill that has been repurposed. This means that we have 30/40-ft high ceilings with multiple levels of seating. The performance stage (meant for live gigs) is above the bar.

The attention to detail at this place is amazing. If you have to wait for a table, they give you an old LP cover of a famous old (60s/70s/80s) rock album, to act as a marker.  Now that’s cool!

The food here is surprisingly good. We would recommend you come here for the ambience, drinks and starters. They have a pretty decent Veg. burger, and its ideal for one person with a decent appetite. We would recommend the Santa Fe spring rolls – a great mexican/asian fusion dish. Also good is the Hard Rock Nachos.

There is a full bar and you get pretty much what you want. We recommend – cold beer! This is the HARD ROCK CAFE. You come here to listen to good – nay, great – rock music, have some snacks and snark down several tall beers. Period!

The reason why it’s the world’s best? In spite of being a few years old, its in impeccable condition, unlike the HRCs in Vegas etc which have become glorified dive bars. The version of rock plays to the Indian taste – Def Leppard, Deep Purple, Metallica, G’N’R, Bryan Adams and Aerosmith all get plenty of air time. You also get the best Indian rock bands playing live many days of the week.

My recco – Get your closest friends and head there now for a great evening of rock!

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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The hippest lounge to open in Bombay in recent times, comes with a twist.

The food looks intriguing, though we did not try anything. The Patatas Bravas seemed the biggest surprise, and I would love it if someone tried it and wrote to us to tell us if it matches the Catalan original for authenticity. Hummus, fusion mediterranean and some asian fusion snacks are what you get to eat.

What you really come here for are the drinks and music. Live music every night on stage in a huge converted mill is a great concept. Even cooler – folks sit in “pods” rather than just at tables. You need to book these in advance. Each circular pod has unobstructed view to the stage and there seemed to be about 20-30 of these of various sizes. The walls of the pods change colour with the music and that adds to the lounge ambience.

The drinks looked innovative and we highly recommend the Thai Mojito. An asian rendition of the caribbean classic, it uses dark rum, chillies and coriander leaves to make a peppy, refreshing adaptation, which we really liked.

The music was great with Pune based DJ Ma Faiza lighting it up along with some dude on live saxophone. Great fusion there as well.

The energy overall is high, the prices are ok considering how hip this place is, and the ambience “one of a kind”. Definitely visit this place soon.

My recco – Book a pod, grab 4-5 close friends and spend the night having exotic drinks and grub at a fairly exotic lounge.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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The ITC Sheraton group is known for the Bukhara and Dum Pukht. With such a pedigree of Indian food, would we dare to enter their Chinese joint?

You bet we would.

The Shanghai Club is easily the least marketed, least known 5-star chinese restaurant in Bombay. No one knows it exists and you get zero bragging rights by saying you dined there.

Its literally your last stop at the ITC Grand Central in Lower Parel. You walk all the way through the indian restaurant, meander past their glass-walled kitchens with buttery kababs and fluffy naans until the decor suddenly turns oriental. You cross the India-China border and there you are!

The ambience is very nice. Great lighting, good room between tables, lovely limitless tea. The cutlery gleams and the crockery has some quaint chinese design elements.

Your journey here has to start with the appetizers and for me, they stole the show. The dim sum is dead-on. Only one veggie option, but the steamed veggie dumplings are as good as anything you get in Singapore. Another nice starter are the crispy, chilly pepper vegetables. Just the right mix of spice and flavour.

We tried the Gong-bao veggies and the Ma Po Tofu. The tofu is silken and the sauce delicate though not as spicy as the original. The Gong-bao is a poor cousin of the real deal – Kung Pao is meant to be a fiery mixture of dried red chillies and peanuts. This fell short! The rices have decent options, though they lacked a pot rice option. We had the ginger peppers rice and it was nice.

The pricing is high, but not as high as you would expect.

TIP: By investing in an annual ITC Sheraton Plus Card you get great discounts on your meals (upto 50% off for a couple meal). If you like their food, worth coughing up the 6 grand.

Overall, a decent experience, but you could get better chinese elsewhere.

My recco – Worth a visit, if you are a regular to ITC for one of the expos. But, if you visit rarely try the indian place first.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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