Food

A return to jazz

On offer: Pepperoni pizza

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Mumbai’s latest music café recalls a time when the city truly listened to music, says Dhara Vora Sabhnani

“I am that friend who will make you sit down and listen to his music recommendations,” laughs Amar Sukhi. The businessman, musician and now restaurateur, Amar’s love for jazz and his desire to create a new performance space for live jazz music in Mumbai led him to opening the Bluebop Café with his younger sibling Essha.

Although Amar runs an established security services company, Sukhi’s heart lies in jazz. He’s been a musician for two decades now. “I like jazz, but not as much him. Which is why I left music and gig curation entirely to him, as we didn’t want to be one of those bars who promise a genre of music but go back to loud dance music nights on weekends,” says Essha. The siblings make an effective team, as Essha comes with a marketing background, having worked with a popular Danish high street company, a fashion magazine, and the launch of a coffee giant.

A return to jazz

It’s easy to get Amar, who plays the clarinet and the saxophone to talk about music. Tonight, Amar will join an old friend, Ernie Flanagan, and play popular tunes to ring in 2020. “Jazz performances were always fun and energetic in Mumbai, I remember my mother getting dressed for a night out to listen to live gigs. As a performer, I have great memories. One comes to mind when we were performing at Not Just Jazz by the Bay, and the beautiful Sophiya Haque started dancing. Poor Joe [Pereira, legendary city musician known as Jazzy Joe], being his shy self got so awkward,” he chuckles.

A return to jazz

Amar wants to bring classic jazz and blues from the 1920s to the 60s back. “Today, musicians just pick a beat on an app that suggests chord progression and make songs that they know will work. But there are many good young musicians too who are creating truly good, international music,” says Amar. But is Mumbai, a good city for music venues? “It’s not that there isn’t an audience, but real estate prices and blurry rules and regulations makes things difficult,” he laments.

A return to jazz

The café’s interiors have art deco elements and a colour scheme reminiscent of a classic American restaurant. A performance space in the centre is surrounded by a cosy seating space, co-exist with a dining section. The siblings have picked dishes that recall the Italian cafés in America. The Seafood Bisque (₹ 450) we try has a tender aroma of the shrimp and calamari and the Barley Millet Salad with cream cheese, chives and pomegranate fills us up just about enough to split a main dish (Bacon Wrapper Chicken, Australian Lamb Chops or Lobster Thermidor). Appetisers are crowd-pleasing picks such as Jerk Chicken Tacos (₹ 410), Peri Peri Skinny Fries (₹ 380) and Chicken Wings (₹ 440).

A return to jazz

For the festive season, Raturi has created classic dishes with a twist – Stuffed Turkey Calzone, Christmas Goat Cheese Ball, Christmas Spaghetti Carbonara, Prawn Tabbouleh Salad, Salted Caramel Tart and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Behop Café, Noon to 1 am, NYE night performance 9.30 p.m.; free entry free; 318, Satyam Building, Linking Road, Khar West; 62366444

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:41:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/a-return-to-jazz/article30435313.ece

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