South Mumbai's 'farm-to-table' bistro

Friday, 10 January 2014 - 11:53am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Locally grown, farm-fresh products are the norm at Nico Bombay.

Nico Bombay, the vintage bar at Kala Ghoda, which threw open its doors recently, is not your traditional-style bistro. Tucked away in a corner of an elite neighbourhood in South Mumbai, Nico—owned by husband-wife duo Nico Goghavala and Kamal Sidhu—is at the forefront of the farm fresh produce boom. From the Neapolitan flat breads and pizzas baked in a wood-fire oven to fresh veggies sourced from farmers living in the outskirts of Mumbai, cheese flown down from Coorg to popular salads made from freshly sourced ingredients, Nico Bombay fits into the movement of freshly-sourced eating.

The rugged exteriors and charming interiors—complete with a cement-tiled bar being the centrepiece of a narrow 1500sqft room with 11 tables—suggest nothing out of the ordinary until you sample a dish from the menu. Fresh is the norm here. The menu, which lists some of the most organic fare, is changed every three months to keep up with the supply provided by farmers. 
Nico, who owned a beautiful bistro and beach club in Galle, Sri Lanka, says, “Our ideas are classic with a hint of contemporary flavours. Nico Bombay in a sense is an urban evolved version of what we created in Sri Lanka.”

The kitchen is lead by Head Chef, Sinclaire Pinto, who is convinced that the relationship between the farmers and Nico is the key to running the successful ‘farm-to-table’ bistro. Pinto says, “We keep tweaking the menu based on the locally available ingredients. Last season, beans were a rage. Farmers had stocked plenty of them, so we incorporated items in our menu which had beans as an ingredient. As the seasons change, certain ingredients fade out and new ones emerge. Now, as beans have gone out of stock, we have replaced those dishes with items containing ingredients that are available this season.” 

According to its owners, Nico Bombay looks and feels like a classic bistro at par with global standards. “We always believed that a real bistro, in the true sense of the word, never really existed in this market and we strive to fill that niche,” says Nico. Kamal and his love for Mediterranean food always meant that they would tailor the menu in the direction that it has taken with 1920s inspired cocktails in vintage glassware and clean simple food, focusing on real depth of flavour. Quality without charging the earth is their USP, of course apart from the fact that they are a ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant.

Nico and Kamal spent a year researching and travelling around India, mostly Maharashtra and the South, and built relationships with some incredibly like-minded people. “Buy fresh, serve fresh. That is how we like it and hopefully enough people in the city and country will appreciate it,” says Nico. The flat bread, a speciality at Nico Bombay, is prepared with freshly baked dough in a wood-fire oven imported from Naples, during one of Nico’s visits there, where he mastered the art of the Neapolitan pizza from the master himself, Enzo Coccia, and later handed down the skills to his team.

The drinks and desserts at Nico Bombay are unique. They serve classic and improvised concoctions like the potent-aged Negroni, Sinclair’s duck (bourbon or canadian rye infused with duck fat) and the grilled margarita that uses woodfire oven-smoked lime. For your sweet tooth, there is the chocolate fondant with strawberry granita, white chocolate amoretti cheesecake with pomegranate jam, and mini savarins with citrus jam and tropical fruits, to name a few. 

Nico Bombay
105 Apollo Street, Bombay Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda
Tel:022 2262 4466

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