Restaurant Review: The Sahib Room & Kipling Bar at The St. Regis Mumbai in India
The Sahib Room & Kipling Bar signifies Indian food at its best and is an ode to the good ol’ times when oil lamps, ink pens and silver cutlery were a common feature on dinner tables in India!
The St. Regis Mumbai has been setting new standards in the hospitality industry ever since it threw opened its doors. One of the best features in this hotel is the Indian specialty restaurant called The Sahib Room & Kipling Bar created with a literary and historic context. A gramophone along with various authentic artefacts such as a magnifying glass, a pipe, a quill pen, some scrolls and old books placed on a community table right in the centre of the bar give it an unmistakable feel of the ancient times. An empty seat is always reserved for the literary genius Rudyard Kipling in the bar which is named after him. The prolific colonial novelist and poet spent many a years in hill stations observing the country life. His famous works like ‘The Jungle Book’ and protagonists like ‘Kim’ have inspired many a cocktails on the menu. The Kipling Bar is attached to the restaurant and serves as an ideal space for pre-dinner gatherings over drinks. The Sahib Room & Kipling Bar also offers verandah like seating outside the restaurant overlooking the Piano Lounge.
The inspiration for the Sahib Room is the lives and times of the ‘Sahibs’ in the colonial-era, a time when the Sahibs relished rich, flavourful food and traditional Indian hospitality. Elements of vintage old-world décor in this restaurant and bar consist of antique features of the telephone and prints dating back to the late 17th century to mid-1800s. Water-colour paintings from this period showcased in the Sahib Room depict the colonial past of India when writers and poets romanticized the Indian countryside and its people. The British colonial setting of this restaurant manages to evoke a feeling of nostalgia when a diner visits.
Chef Shamsher Ahmad and Chef Vinod Mamgain have captured the eclectic spirit and opulence of Awadhi cuisine with the use of homemade spices, dry fruits, the choicest of vegetables and meats creating a unique menu that stands out with its flavourful preparations. The food menu showcases Indian cuisine at its robust best with specialties from Hyderabad, Awadh and Kashmir. Interestingly the elaborate menu has a lot of choices for vegetarians. The use of traditional ingredients that have medicinal properties like Dried Vetevier Root (KhuskiJhad), Betel Flower Root (PaankiJhad) and Stone Flower (PatharPhool) is unique. The style of cooking is one that skillfully blends innovation, taste, flavour and yet retains the goodness of all the ingredients.
We tried the Lucknowi Seekh, (hand ground lamb mince infused with fresh mint and spices) and the Rajma ki Gilawat (mouth melting patties of red kidney beans flavored with clove, saffron and rose petals) for starters. Preparations such as Sahib ki Khaas Gilawat (avocado & bamboo shoot ‘tikkis’, served with citrus mango chutney) and Broccoli Dak Bangla (Broccoli marinated in Philadelphia cream cheese and kasundi) stand out in the menu as unique unheard-of preparations.
Those who prefer to go for a soup with their meals can try the Phalon ka Shorba (a spiced mandarin orange soup with ‘chili dust’) or the Nalli ka Shorba (A fragrant smoked marrow soup with tender meat balls, spiced with cloves & cinnamon). For mains we tried the Purvanchal Ka Saag, ‘tawa’ (cooked puree of fresh organic greens) which is also one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Lovers of meat will be delighted to see the Sahib ki Khaas Nihari (tender lamb shanks cooked in awadhi gravy infused with khus ki jad and paan ki jad) and the Chulhe Ka Shikaar (tender lamb meat cooked on wooden fire infused with patthar ke phool and nag kesar). Sahib ki Khaas daal Makhni (signature rich black lentils cooked overnight in a copper urn) is a must try preparation. End a fabulous meal with the luscious paan ice cream.
With its Venetian mirrors, gilt and brocade, Ossler chandeliers, deep rich upholstery, elegantly placed crockery on crisp white linen and European formality, The Sahib Room gives you the feeling of being in a luxurious living room from a bygone era, and yet the play of colors and layout add a modern day contemporary touch. Large, exquisite chandeliers brighten up the dark wood furniture and its earthy tones in this interestingly conceptualized restaurant. If you choose to visit the restaurant during lunch as we did, you will notice that the restaurant is flooded with natural daylight through its large window panes.
Address: The Sahib Room & Kipling Bar Level 9M, The St. Regis Hotel, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower ParelMumbai – 400013. India
Timings: Lunch 12.30pm – 2.30 pm and Dinner: 7.30pm – 11.30pm
For Reservations: +91 (22) 6162 8422
Capacity: 54 seats at The Sahib Room & 66 seats at the Kipling Bar