Mumbai Nightlife: Havana – Viva la Peachito!

Havana Cafe & Bar - The Gordon House Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It was years since the zoman had discussed Hemingway with a friend, when off the beaten path a rousing discussion on his best work started brewing. Debating for over an hour, the zoman and his posse failed to pick between “The old man and the sea” and “For whom the bell tolls”.
 
Needing a break, the zoman dawdled around on his phone only to find something that was too much of a serendipitous coincidence to occur at that precise moment. For a flash, he drifted off from a highly interesting and climactic conversation into the mysterious machinations of life and the signs it provides at every turn along the way.
 
Back to reality, the zoman was indeed a happy camper indeed having been invited by the Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) to the launch of Havana Cafe & Bar’s new Boozy Menu. And coming at a time when Ernest Hemingway was the subject of conversation, this couldn’t have been timed more fortuitously.
 
The zoman’s knowledge on all things Cuban virtually began and ended at a couple of Che Guevara merchandise items he possessed and he was quite keen on sampling the boozy delights that lay in store for the FBAI guerrillas laying siege to Gordon House’s in house watering hole – Havana Cafe & Bar.
 
Moving on…. Here’s a detailed take on Havana and their new boozy menu that a posse of FBAI invited peeps attended.
 
 
AMBIANCE
Havana is a stark contrast to the subtle elegance of Gordon House in Colaba. A tiny glass paned door greets you at the entrance and from there on begins the feeling of entering a revolutionary hideaway. Cuba’s old school charm that we sampled in 007’s Die Another Day is evident throughout the decor at Havana. Replete with archaic looking telephones, spacious wooden panelling all across, a rustic looking defunct fountain smack dab in the middle of things, and fedora clad lighting, no stone has been left unturned in building up the Cuban feel.
I didn’t enjoy whatever music was playing but thankfully it wasn’t too loud for me to get really bummed.
 
 
SERVICE
Not the best that there is. That being said, it wasn’t too bad either. The best I could say, is that it was just about average.
Good thing. The servers know what’s on their menu and what goes into what.
Bad thing. Order taking and service is quite slow. Even without considering that Havana is located in a star property.
 
 
F&B
We had quite an interesting mojito master class hosted by havana’s bar boss and it was a fun time we had making our own versions of mojito after tasting the awesomesauce straw-jito made for the master class.
Im going to lead the F&B proceedings with what I made.
 
PEACHITO
Perhaps the most romantic of all mojitos. Made by none other than yours truly, the zoman.
An extra tipple over the jigger or rum, some limes, a hint of sugar syrup, and peach crush, went into the making of a dreamy looking peachito. With an ochre gleam to it, the peachito was a blend of sweet n sour, laced with a potent dose of alcohol.
Overall, what can I say. I’m the proud parent of this creation and it shall forever have my bias. I do hope the folks at Havana take a cue and add this to their menu.
Bottom line… I made this and I’m bound to like it!
 
STRAWJITO
A new addition to Havana’s bar list and a berry fine one at it. While I wouldn’t trade a chilled pint of beer for this, I’d pick this up happily on a hot summery day.
Freshly pureed strawberries, a hint of sugar syrup, a zesty dose of lime, the fragrance of mint, and a potent measure of Bacardi white. You get the point, right.
Totally recommend this!
 
BAHAMA MAMMA
Havana has quite an interesting twist to the classic Bahama Mamma recipe both in terms of colour and flavour. The reddish amber from the mixture of Grenadine, Pineapple, and Orange is replaced by the Bluish Green hue that comes from the mixing of Curacao, Pineapple, and Mango.
Whatever it is that they have done, the drink tastes great and is certainly worth trying.
 
HAVANA COSMO
Me likey likey what the Havana folk have done with to the cosmo. To be honest, the cosmopolitan tastes so much better with white rum instead of vodka. Besides, the use of pomegranate juice instead of cranberry makes the drink less tart and somewhat sweeter, which goes better when using white rum. Yeah, it does look a shade lighter and more feminine. But there’s no such thing as perfection, right!
A must try!
 
HAVANA SUNRISE
Oh how the mighty have fallen. After mixing up some really awesome cocktails, this was a sour let down. The egg white wasn’t mixed well into the drink and I could smell & taste it very distinctly.
All the other drinks we tried at Havana were quite potent but this one was totally watered down.
Also, this is a pink drink which comes in a champagne tulip. Consider that before you think of asking to have this.
I’d suggest staying miles away from this.
 
After an amazing round of cocktails and the really fun mojito master class we had, the expectations from the food were kind of sky high. Sadly, the food didn’t deliver per our expectations.
 
SCREWDRIVER GRILLED PRAWNS
They could have just served us shrimp cocktail with a tiny tipple of screwdriver, but no. Sometimes being innovative makes no sense and this is precisely one of those moments.
The prawns were marinated in a mixture of vodka and orange juice (screwdriver), grilled, and then served dripping in the marinade (somewhat like a dipping sauce).
The entire construct had become bitter and the prawns didn’t really go well with the vodka.
A fancy looking dish if you’re looking for an instagram click but a bad choice if you’re looking to eat some prawn.
 
GARLIC & WHITE WINE TOSSED MUSHROOMS
Served a la crostini style, this dish helped relieve some of the pain that the prawns had caused.
Spot on presentation but a tad bit greasy.
The duxelles mixture was a tad bit more buttery than it should have been but was seasoned perfectly. The crisp garlic bread held everything together really well and apart from the greasiness this could have been excellent. Nonetheless, this was quite a scrumptious preparation.
I won’t call it a must have, but a great choice if you’re looking for a bar nibble.
 
BEER BATTERED ONION RINGS
One of the nicest onion rings I have had in a very long time.
The batter was of perfect consistency and the frying done to just the right point. More so, the seasoning mix they used was heavenly.
The onion rings were so perfect that I didn’t need to reach for the aioli that came as a dipping sauce even once.
Absolute must have!
 
JERK VEGETABLE CUBANO
The jerk spiced marinated vegetables were not really awesome. The spice rub kind of made them bitter on the grill. The dill pickle and the half hearted helping of cheese couldn’t really save this disaster.
I didn’t like it one bit!
 
CHICKEN CUBANO
Havana’s take on the classic chicken and mustard sandwich.
This is one preparation which is really easy to make yet equally easy to completely mess up. Thankfully, Havana’s kitchen nailed this down perfectly.
Not too pungent, the house mustard went perfectly with the chicken, and the olives (tapenade’ish) were a great addition to the dish too.
Totally recommend this!
 
SEARED FISH
The fish was just about perfect, with the right amount of flakiness and softness. The sauce that accompanied it was great too.
I would have preferred rucola over spinach, but it did go well with the fish.
I was quite keen on the jalapeno mash, but it was a little too spicy for my liking. I guess the kitchen has some serious love for jalapeno and they overdose it wherever they use it.
Apart from the mash, this dish was perfect. But with it, just above average maybe!
 
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST
While I had my apprehensions about the whisky sauce, this turned out to be quite a dish.
The chicken was grilled well although it did leave a little room for betterment. The sauce was done well and the while the whisky contributed its bit to lend some robustness to the sauce, it didn’t make it bitter. Loved that!
Overall, this deserves a chance for sure!
 
ROKEBY STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING
The toffee sauce was silky and gorgeous and the cake was pudgy enough for the sauce to seep through. We did leave it for a bit too long while clicking pictures and this made a big clumpy puddle of the dish. But that’s not Havana’s flaw, it’s the downside of being a blogger.
I’d give this dish a definite try if I was in the mood for dessert!
 
CHURROS
I liked them, but I didn’t love them. I guess it was the overpowering cinnamon that did it for me.
I wouldn’t mind having this again, though it’s certainly not going on my “churro” list for sure.
 
There were a few other samplings on the menu but since I didn’t try them, won’t venture talking about them.
 
 
PRICE
To my surprise, Havana is quite the value for money in terms of the quantity of their food.
The alcohol pricing is great too and if you consider its location and that it is a part of a star category hotel, the pricing is quite attractive.
 
 
OVERALL
Havana exudes every bit of the charm that a cigar toking muchacho from the barrio would want in his favourite watering hole.
The cocktail menu is seriously attractive and is great value for money too.
The food does leave a bit to be desired, but isn’t bad by a scratch.
Whatever you say, the place does end up leaving you feeling like you’ve been on a trip to a different time, a time of cigars and lengthy Cadillacs, a time of revolutionaries and fedora clad mobsters, and a time where you’d certainly want to linger for a bit longer. Of course, with your favourite mojito in hand,

With https://fbai.wordpress.com/

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