If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Bandra’s Escobar can indulge in a smug smile. Escobar is one of the most rocking lounges in town with a chilled outdoor terrace and a hot indoor dance floor. Now Apicius is trying to replicate that magic in Andheri – and it seems to be working. Ringing to Bollywood and pop tunes, we found a Saturday night Apicius dance floor filled with young eye candy and a peaceful outdoor terrace occupied by dance refugees grabbing a breather under the stars.
It was good fun, but Apicius barman Jocelyn, who has previously worked at Escobar and served us titbits of wisdom with our cocktails, observed that the Andheri crowd didn’t quite have the style of Bandraites. We wouldn’t be so mean. But in other ways, Apicius does lack Escobar’s flair. Designed by Villa 39’s former chef Philip Gomes, its food menu draws inspiration from fifth-century Roman recipes called Apicius, which in turn take their name from a Roman gourmand who loved a bang-up orgy and a spread of the finest foods. Yet nothing among the menu’s falafels, pastas and pizzas seemed gourmet. Indeed our basil and cheese Manakish Bi Zatar (R320) was bland and doughy, tasting like cold white dhokla.
Similarly, Apicius’ sleek but uninspiring decor doesn’t boast a feature to match Escobar’s beautiful wooden bar. But the terrace is far roomier, with trendy low set couches and a great view from the eighth floor windows. It also has a big, square bar perfect for socialising. Barman Jocelyn was able to whip up three yummy cocktails – Sunset (whisky, triple sec and orange juice, R300), the Apicius Green (basil and apple vodka martini, R350) and a custom-made, fruity blend of watermelon syrup, lychee and strawberry, vodka and sprite (R350). The only catch was that Apicius was operating under a one-day liquor licence and doesn't expect a full licence until after May 1. Once that comes, Apicius – with a dance floor that ended in a mass “Macarena” – is most likely to be a big hit with the hordes of trendy suburban yuppies on the lookout for new places to party.
By Ben Leahy on April 27 2012 4.30am