Food

Tipple at the turf

Well priced bar snacks and a mid-town location make Tote on the Turf’s new bar, an appealing pit stop, says Dhara Vora Sabhnani

“I remember the time when the party would get over late at night, and just before heading home, people would pick up hot baida rotis from a special counter we would put up,” says Somnath Bhattacharya, COO of deGustibus Hospitality. The bar Bhattacharya fondly speaks about is Tote Bar at Tote on the Turf, which shut down last October, and is now back as Tote Talli.

Reinventing space

For 10 years, the bar had been one of city’s the most buzzing nightspots, attracting swish 30-somethings. And it was a true bar, as they didn’t even have a separate food menu, only serving small bites from Neel (their Indian restaurant below). And when Tote on the Turf would serve as the venue for the offsite shows of Lakme Fashion Week (before they changed the venue to grander locales such as The Royal Opera House a few years ago), the bar, would also serve as the perfect spot for post-show rendezvous. The empty floor that earlier turned into a dance floor is now occupied by tables, and Bhattacharya tells us that they will host performances in the future. “We have seen a whole new generation come here over a decade. With a new crowd coming in, we felt the need to reinvent the menu and reach a newer audience,” says Bhattacharya.

With Tote Talli, deGustibus also wants to focus on food, and the brief for their chefs was to go crazy and design something fun, and well priced. The focus being the bar, small plates and finger foods dominate the menu. And there is a section dedicated to chakna which are served in the form of bento boxes. Whether it’s papad, peanuts or chaklis, they have a bento box (₹195 each) dedicated to different versions of each of these common snacks. The usual suspects such as poutines (you can choose from sweet and regular potato) and nachos come with the basic cheese and guacamole topping options, in addition to some Mumbai style versions such as kheema (₹275) and nachos with Akuri Scrambled Eggs (₹225).

Small eats

Bhattacharya says that they were conscious of including different Indian cuisines to reinvent bar food, which can be seen with options such as Chettinad or Bhut Jolokia Chicken Wings served with thecha sour cream (₹295), or the Chilliya Mutton sliders (₹350) inspired by the late-night stalls at Reay Road, which are often frequented by their staff who work out of their office in the vicinity. As an ode to the earlier avatar, they still offer Baida Roti in paneer (₹350), chicken (₹375) and mutton (₹395) variants. More Mughlai food finds its way to the menu in the form of different kebabs (₹250 onwards).

If cheese is all you wish to eat, call for any of their burrata offerings (₹375) which come with a variety of flavour pairings such as tomato concasse, chilli oil, chutneys and a brulee burrata too. “We have included more small plates in affordable prices so when you come in a group, you can freely order and choose from various options rather than just one main dish,” says Bhattacharya. The desi inspirations make way to the cocktail menu too with cocktails such as Mucchad (₹335) a vodka and paan drink; and Golmaal (₹335), a refreshing concoction of vodka, orange juice, tamarind, cilantro and chillies. Just in case you aren’t into small plates, you can call for Tote Bowls that offer tried-and-tested options such as Burnt Garlic Triple Schezwan Rice (₹325) or Thow Suey (₹325), which is Khow Suey made the Thai way.

Tote Talli Tote on the Turf, Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Mahalakshmi; 91369 33274; 6 p.m. onwards

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:47:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/tipple-at-the-turf/article29648715.ece

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