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Bars to Watch: Nksha puts Indian flavours on the map

July 31, 2023

Priya Pathiyan scopes out the bar programme at Nksha, and finds that it brings in scads of Indian flavours into on-trend cocktails that will please any mixology enthusiast.

The gorgeous exteriors and stunning interiors of Nksha, with their distinct Deco and warm Wes Anderson-esque hues root the space in its location on a street where Mumbai’s early Jazz scene and Art Deco architecture made for a heady vibe in the 1930s. Today, almost a 100 years later, the stylish restaurant and bar embodies the same vibrant spirit.

Owner Pranav Rungta is clear in his vision — homage to the history via the design by Neesha Alwani and Shruti Jalan of ns*a Architecture and Interiors, and Chef Vikram Arora’s thoughtfully curated, largely North Indian menu with premium ingredients that goes toe to toe with the ambitious bar programme crafted by mixologist Varun Sudhakar.

Bar bites are sorted
The complexity of the roasted sweet potato tikki chaat, the springy texture of the creamy gucchi (Kashmiri morel mushrooms, that are almost worth their weight in gold), and truffle essence cheese-stuffed kulchas that are so good, that I don’t even sample the meat and poultry part of the menu. I do enjoy a luscious lobster curry paired with the best lacchha parathas I’ve ever had for the mains later.

Nksha makes for eye candy, day or night. Image: Courtesy Nksha.


Raising the bar

But, while the food at Nksha is good, it’s the bar that brings you back ‘bar bar’, as we say in Hindi. The signature cocktails are executed and presented to perfection by an ace mixology team headed by the affable bar manager and sommelier Anurag Godbole. Each exploration has been exciting and satisfying, with the final taste more than living up to the ideas behind each.


Nksha bar
The beautiful bar is high on energy and experience. Image: Priya Pathiyan.


The Khari Baoli is an absolutely scrumptious concoction that is a hat-tip to Indian non-alcoholic drinks. The 100 per cent blue agave 1800 Silver Tequila surprisingly complements Turmeric Kombucha and an innovative cumin and saffron syrup beautifully. The result? A cocktail with a silky mouthfeel that lingers on the palate the way a heady fragrance leaves a hint of pleasure on the mind’s eye. Sweet, but not overpoweringly so.

Nksha bar
The Khari Baoli makes you smile. Images Priya Pathiyan.


The Desi Ghee which I try next, actually uses white rum that’s been ghee-washed, along with Japanese Umeshu and Thums Up. Churchgate blends El Salto Mezcal that has been infused with the zing of Bhavnagari chillies, with an equally strong syrup that flexes black cardamom.

Nksha bar
Anurag Godbole, Bar Manager and Sommelier at Nksha. Image: Courtesy Nksha.


Nksha also has a well-stocked bar with a good selection of single malts and blended whiskies, an impressive wine list, and all the best spirits, both international and indigenous, you’d expect from a fine-dining establishment.

Recipes for success

30 Best Bars got the mixology team to divulge the recipes of two of Nksha’s most popular cocktails…

Nksha bar
Churchgate by Varun Sudhakar. Image: Courtesy Nksha.

Name of the signature cocktail:
Created by: Varun Sudhakar, Bar & Beverage Consultant, Nksha
You need: 7.5 ml Mezcal infused with bhavnagari chili, 50 ml Fundango Mezcal, 20 ml black cardamom syrup, 15 ml lime juice, 30 ml soda, lemon zest.
You must: Chill the glass. Add the Mezcal infusion into the cocktail shaker, add Mezcal, black cardamom syrup, and lime juice. Mix well with a bar spoon. Add ice and shake and pour into the glass with cut ice. Add soda and mix. Use lemon zest to add flavour. Garnish with an edible stamp.


Nksha bar
Gordon & Co by Anurag Godbole. Image: Courtesy Nksha.

Name of the seasonal cocktail:
Gordon & Co
Created by: Anurag Godbole, Wine Sommelier and Bar Manager, Nksha
You need: 50 ml 1800 tequila, 30 ml green grape juice, 10 ml lemon juice, 10 ml sugar syrup, two betel leaves.
You must: Chill the mixing glass. Add the green grape juice, lemon juice, sugar syrup, betel leaf, and tequila. Double strain the drink and pour into a textured cocktail glass. Garnish with a betel leaf and ice block.

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