Riyaz Amlani’s all day café and bar makes you chuckle right from the time you set foot here. A cycle at the entrance, inverted fan, old Ambassador car seat, swings, booze bottles suspended from the ceiling and hashtags everywhere – Social warms your heart.
Delivering a happy blend between industrial chic and grunge, Social is an urban hangout designed to take you offline while still keeping you connected. The restaurant is 100 per cent recycled/upcycled. Almost everything here including the chairs, fans, lights and artwork has been recycled from the parent company’s godowns and warehouses. What wasn’t found there was bought second hand. So the stools and chairs used by the contractors and the swing used for painting the signages were retained as seating. The lighting reinforces function over form. Naked bulbs dangle from the ceiling.
Social used to be an old antique store. The brick exposed walls, old cement flooring, rusty metal grills, old windows, wooden beams, high ceiling, etc bear testimony to the fact that the structure dates back to the 1950s. “Some of the walls didn’t have plaster and we let it be. No plastic or lampshades. We wanted minimal use of material and see what came out. That’s how Social was born,” says Riyaaz Amlani, founder ofDrinks push the quirky quotient further with the Cosmopolitan poured over candy floss and the Screwdriver which comes with the tool immersed in the drink! The cool quotient continues to the presentation of the food, which arrives on gramophone records, enamel plates and even wooden-spiked boards. . In a way Social was inserted in to the old structure rather than creating a brand new restaurant.
What if you could trade in your cubicle for a cool café? How much more fun would it be to show up if your boardroom had a bar attached? Social is also a collaborative workspace. “I realised that people use a café not just for leisure but also for work – meetings, presentations, group brain storming, etc. But there was always an awkwardness between the café and the person using it for work. So we thought why not make it official and provide the tools needed for work,” explains Amlani. Those interested can apply online and use the space along with the printer, scanner and free wi-fi for a monthly fee of Rs 5,000, which is redeemable against food and drink.
The menu (designed like a tabloid) is both fun and endearing with Nina Aunty’s Mutton Dhansak with Brown Rice (Nina aunty is Amlani’s mother) and the staff meal of dal, rice and subzi for Rs 150.
The spicy baida roti is excellent as also the Awesomosas, a variation of the samosa filled with cheese and mushrooms. The chicken wings with batter fried onion rings alone make for repeat visits. For something more substantial try the Thai Thali with rice, green thai curry, Goan prawn pickle and kimchi.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding is a great way to end a meal here.
Drinks push the quirky quotient further with the Cosmopolitan poured over candy floss and the Screwdriver which comes with the tool immersed in the drink! The cool quotient continues to the presentation of the food, which arrives on gramophone records, enamel plates and even wooden-spiked boards.
What’s not so good
The mini vada pavs smeared with an over powering garlic chutney and sandwiched between mini pita breads are blasphemous. Why would you do that to the quintessential Mumbai street food? Social fills up fast in the evenings and unless you want to stand precariously between tables or wait for a good 40 minutes, reserve well in advance.
HOW TO GET THERE
Ground Floor, Glen Rose Building, B. K. Boman Behram Marg, opposite Starbucks, behind Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Apollo Bunder, Colaba. (5 mins drive from Churchgate station) Tel: 022 2282 8484.
COST: Rs 1500-2000 for two
Nivedita Jayaram Pawar