Travel + Leisure India & South Asia brings to you #TLFinds—that will get you a sneak peek into either new or interesting places and experiences across the country and abroad every week—for travellers to discover. The next in the series is Ekaa – a modern restaurant located in Fort, Mumbai that takes you down the memory lane in style. By Ishika Laul
A contemporary restaurant with a bar in South Mumbai, offering an India- inspired, ingredient-driven dining experience.
Everyone–friends, get-togethers with colleagues, dates, families, solo meals.
A meal at Ekaa unravels like a pre-loved copy of your favourite book. The chapters are familiar but each time you read it, you come across a line you’ve never read before. Entrepreneur Sagar Neve & Chef-partner Niyati Rao’s brainchild is bound to take you on a fantastical journey, where you experience more than just a good meal.
Nestled in the old-world charm of Fort, Mumbai, Ekaa sports a new-age dining experience with an experiential menu and a carefully woven ingredient-led story. Instead of a cuisine, the hero at Ekaa is the ingredient–pushed to its full potential to give you something unique and unexpected. An homage to the memories, journeys, and travels of Ekaa’s diverse team, each dish on the menu tells you a story. More on that later.
The setting of Ekaa is highly representative of its name (Ekaa (n.) meaning “One” or “Unique” in Hindi). Up the stairs in the quaint 131-year-old Kitab Mahal, the restaurant blends into the classic architecture with its deliberate minimalism and elemental nuances. The space is dressed in earthy tones with an open-kitchen set up, where you can step in and chat with the chefs, and a bar tucked away to give guests a private mixology experience.
The entire décor is based on the ideology of ‘less is more’. The lesser the distractions around, the more you focus on the food, and its textures and colours that are widely in contrast to the décor of the space, they believe. The interiors have been sourced locally and are in collaboration with indie artisans to bring to you something real, rustic, and authentic. I see a broken piece of crockery filled with copper and converted into art; glass jars filled with fermenting ingredients and concoctions; small bunches of pampas grass & baby’s breath flowers sprinkled across the shelves, among other pretty things.
Inspired by the cultures and seasons of India, Ekaa showcases an interpretation of food that is new and creative. “It’s very exciting when you go to markets, look for seasonal things, and when you get a new ingredient. It’s all about what you can do with it and in how many ways can you troubleshoot it”, says Chef Rao. Since Ekaa is cuisine agnostic, the dining experience is broken down into three menus–the À la carte that remains constant, the Tapas menu, and a 10-course Chef’s tasting menu that changes seasonally.
Tapping into nostalgia, each dish is personal, and it shows. Take for instance, Sweet Morning from the Tapas menu–a potato cake faux toast topped with cornflakes and a house-made ice cream, an interesting take on something that reminds you of that post-school meal your mother would whip up out of thin air. The House Sausage, farmed pork with a honey glaze, again inspired by Chef Rao’s mother’s recipe, is a tempting balance of spicy and sweet. We also relished the Churro and the Pork Mince with Tingmo, each with their own distinct flavour and an interesting use of even the most common ingredients such as cauliflower and potatoes.
Beyond the food, the bar menu is also highly inspired by our country, categorised into seven ecosystems, with each concoction representing a unique terroir. A must-try is Solace–a light bodied rum-based cocktail with extremely well-balanced flavours of pomegranate and almond liqueur, and Mirage–a gin-based cocktail inspired by the freshwater ecosystem of India with infusions of dhagad phool and jasmine. The cozy, snug, and intimate setting of the bar is further ideal for those looking to unwind and relax.
Kitab Mahal, 1st Floor, D Sukhadwala Rd, Azad Maidan, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
Chef’s tasting menu starts at INR 3,750; cost for two, with alcohol, INR 1,800 approx.
9987657989 | 022 40022744
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