I remember when I first visited a brewery, I thought a hospitality concept couldn’t any better. I mean beer is where the proverbial buck stops when it comes to alcohol, then how a place that makes and serves beer be anything but the best! But the best is the best only till something tops it off and breweries have seemed to have fallen to the same curse off late. Enter the youngest and perhaps the best concept in town – beer gardens!
A haven for beer lovers irrespective of their favourite brew is perhaps the only way to bring together beer aficionados amidst the brewing war of preferences in a world of brand loyalists. And a beer garden is just about that.
So last week on a chance outing to Bandra, I was face to face with yet another entrant into the hottest genre in Mumbai’s hospitality scene – Deja Brew! With all the bells and whistles in place, Deja Brew’s offering includes a great many labels of beer along with fancy food and an ambience that has something in it for just about every occasion. Sounds kind of interesting, doesn’t it?
Here’s a bit of a rundown on my experience at Deja Brew.
The ambience and decor of the place is anything but that of your typical brew pub. It is contemporary and classy, yet comfortable enough for you to unwind and knock a few pints down! Without any visible partitions drawn into the setting, the layout is well arranged to give individual sections some private space. Well at least you don’t have to be party to the next table’s chatter or have them eavesdrop on your conversations.
The place is made even better by the nimble yet un-intrusive service which ensures you are well catered to without a man marker constantly hovering around you.
Well in terms of the brews, Deja Brew manages to bring together quite the assortment of labels. Their craft brews come from The White Owl and Gateway Brewing Company, which are both excellent I tell you. While they stock up almost every commonly found domestic label, the premium international labels include Hoegaarden, Stella, Erdinger, Amigos, Erdinger Dunkel, Shepherd’s Neame (Spitfire and Double Stout). Some pretty decent offerings I’d say!
Although beer is a very personal choice, if my opinion is to be asked I’d gladly recommend the following
HALCYON –White Owl’s classic German Hefeweizen. True to the typical hefe, this is a cloudy amber brew that’s crisp with a citrusy twang. A mildly herby palette and a very mild phenolic after palette, makes this a perfect accompaniment to a vegetarian course or lighter meats.
ACE – White Owl’s take on the French Apple Cider. This has to be the best apple cider you’ll have in Mumbai. Why I like this over other ciders is because it is more robust and fruity as compared to other ciders and most importantly, it is lower on the spritz.
WHITE ZEN – Gateway’s German Hefeweizen. Cloudier and somewhat more robust when compared with the Halcyon, this hefeweizen has a more pronounced citrus note and a stronger phenolic after palette where you can actually make out a hint of clove in the back of your throat.
The food largely stayed on the higher side of decent with a couple of really delicious offerings that have been carefully curated to go along with your brews, though I’d say I wasn’t totally bowled over the food at Deja Brew.
Bacon Wrapped Prawns – You just cannot miss this on their menu. About as simple as it gets, prawns wrapped in bacon crumbed and fried, that’s it. Perhaps the simplest route to nirvana!
Peri Peri Prawns – The perfect balance between mild and hot flavours, this grilled prawn offering pairs beautifully well with their mango salsa.
Cream Cheese Radish and Dill Toasties – I had no idea how much of a peppery punch a thin slice of radish could add to the already awesome cream cheese and dill combination. But know that I know the answer, I can’t help but recommend this appetiser wholeheartedly. Pairs beautifully with the dunkelweisen!
Turkish Lamb Meatballs – If there was one thing that had a variant in almost every cuisine in the world, it’d have to be meatballs. Just about every culture does them and boy are all of them simply fantastic. Ditto for the Turkish ones at Deja Brew! Just mind the dipping sauce, which isn’t the best thing in the world for sure.
Pear Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad – One of my favourite combinations – the pear, walnut, and cheese trio was such a delight, especially with the apple cider. Is there anything that can get as basic as this yet manage to charm you every time, I hardly think so!
Pizzas – Zucchini Capers and Feta / Salmon Spinach and Egg Pizza – I was a little surprised when they couldn’t get a simple construct with zucchini, capers, and feta right. I mean aren’t capers and feta a match made in heaven anyway.
Also, we have quite a resounding answer as to why you don’t see sunny side up eggs being used in pizzas. They make everything a gooey sticky mess. Not only that, the salmon, spinach, and the egg didn’t really sit well together even in terms of the taste.
I’d avoid either of the pizzas!
Pulled Pork Sliders – It is very rare that someone manages to sully a pulled pork slider but somehow the kitchen at Deja Brew managed to do it. Barbeque sauce has a velvety sweetness to it that coats your palette before the spice hits it, yes! But a sauce with a dessert like sweetness is good for only thing – desecrating the heavenly pulled pork.
Deja Brew is priced fairly well in the sense that you can manage to have a good time here maybe a few times a month. But is it your everyday watering hole, no it isn’t. In fact it isn’t intended to be so, and that’s what makes it such a great place to unwind and knock down a few pints or to have a casual conversation over a pint or two.
Deja Brew as a place has more positives than negatives overall and recommending it to be tried out at least once is only fair to the effort that the team has put into the concept. Plus there’s a lot of beer and some decent grub too, so why not!