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‘Bartender, there’s fungus in my drink!’

September 20, 2023

Don’t be alarmed… it’s only Priya Pathiyan unearthing the magic of mushrooms that you can sip and savour at Perch, Mumbai.


The things they put into your drink these days. At restaurateur Vaibhav Singh’s Perch Wine & Coffee Bar in Mumbai, they’ve gone ultra creative with a mushroom menu that transcends the trite and developed not only appetisers, salads, mains, desserts, shakes, and even a cocktail selection that infuse mushrooms in the most delicious way imaginable! The ace concept has been created by Gautam Mansinghani, General Manager, Operations & Development, with Executive Chef Arun D’Souza and mixologist Pradeep Joshi, with the aim of adding some excitement for regulars, especially those who know the menu backwards and have tried and enjoyed every single thing on it.


The limited-edition selection featuring ‘Earth’s little umami-packed treasures’ as the team likes to call shrooms, is on until November 5, 2023, after which only a few of the items will be retained on their regular bill of fare. Nine mushroom varieties — Porcini, Shiitake, Reishi, Portobello, Shimeji, King Oysters, Baby Bella, and Enoki — freshly sourced from The Mushroom Co have been cleverly used to ensure that you get every ounce of flavour and texture from them.


I spice up a Sunday with their Baby Bella Picante, which teams up Don Julio tequila with grapefruit, and then mushrooms it up to the max with a Portobello infusion, shiitake liqueur, mushroom bitters. The dash of chipotle only ups the ante on this hot and smoky concoction that is served with a sliver of Porcini leather.


mushroom cocktails
Sunday zing with the Baby Bella Picante mushroom cocktail off the limited-edition #focusonthefunghi menu at Perch. Images: Priya Pathiyan.


Next, I try the Penny Bun Highball, already popular apparently, which blends Broken Bat and Greater Than gin-infused porcini, vermouth, porcini cordial, topped with porcini soda, and garnished with a toothsome porcini-parmesan croquette. Intensely ‘yum’ami, and potent, the team offers to add some extra mushroom soda if you like it less sweet and potent. But I love mine just as it is, thank you very much.



mushroom cocktails
Mixologist Pradeep Joshi puts the fun into fungus, as he creates a decidedly dynamite Mushroom Mixology menu using diverse techniques and a variety of shrooms. Image: Priya Pathiyan.


mushroom cocktails
The Oakwood Old Fashioned, rich and complex, sweet and spiced. Images: Courtesy Perch Wine & Coffee Bar.


While all of their fungi cocktails sound fun (that Reishi Sour with orgeat, vegan foam and reishi dust!), the rest of the menu is pretty enticing as well. I request Chef Arun to bring me tasting portions so I can try a variety. Be warned, even his halfsies are generous, though, in case you’re planning to split with a friend.


From appetisers (Braised Oyster Mushrooms on Sourdough and the Truffle Mushroom Panzanella) to dessert (Tiramisu), every dish heroes mushrooms. Images: Priya Pathiyan.


I’m especially floored by the fresh Truffle Mushroom Panzanella Salad, and the Tagliatelle in truffle butter. The sandwich, on their stellar sourdough, such a hit amongst regulars and newbies alike, is simply delicious, topped with the smokiness of roasted eggplant, even though they’ve replaced my fave portobello mushrooms with less complex mushrooms.


The intensely ‘yum’ami Penny Bun Highball (left) is a G&T like no other, and (right) this is a creamy and comforting al dente tagliatelle, rich with shroomy goodness. Images: Priya Pathiyan.


Even their signature Tiramisu has room for shrooms, with a layer of Reishi and a drizzle of truffle oil! And if you’re in the mood for coffee after an eminently satisfying meal like I am… rest assured that you can get a fungi-laced cuppa from their Sippin’ Shrooms section.



Perch in Mumbai | Timings: Noon to 1.30 am | Address: 12 Union Park, Hotel Oscar, Off Carter Rd, Opposite Hakim Aalim, Khar West, Mumbai | Call: +919321375915.

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