Italian-American Cuisine At The BlueBop Cafe, Mumbai

Rubina A Khan reviews The Bluebop Cafe, Mumbai: “Italian-American gluttony at its authentic best, with live jazz performances.”

The Bluebop Cafe is a new jim-dandy of a bar cafe in Mumbai, serving Italian-American cuisine along with a musical side of jazz blues and bop, live. Inspired by the musical evolution of jazz, which came to mean jazz music in Chicago, USA, around 1915, and bebop, which is a style of jazz that came to be in the United States of America in the 1940s, Eesha Sukhi, the owner and creator of The Bluebop Cafe, decided to name her first independent culinary space thus.

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The Bluebop Cafe entrance | Photo: Rubina A Khan

The restaurant is located right on Linking Road, Khar, and not on some long-winding inner bylane with the dreaded no-entry signages. As you walk into the inviting, verdure (a rare sighting in Mumbai) courtyard with wrought-iron benches and an old Peepal tree leaning into it, you are instantly drawn in. I can just imagine myself sitting on one of the benches on a December night, breathing in fresh oxygen from the Peepal tree that it produces at night.

I fell in love with the Asparagus and Polenta that set the tone for the Italian-American food gluttony ahead – the crunch of the freshly sautéed green asparagus spears, along with the polenta and the manchego cheese was beyond delicious. There’s grits of the American South, and then there’s the vegetarian, Indian version, of the classic Italian polenta right here in Mumbai at Bluebop. I’d order two the next time around!

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Asparagus & Polenta | Photo: Rubina A Khan

The Spaghetti Aglio Olio was flavoursome, right down to the last spiral and chilli flake as was the creamy Mushroom Risotto, accompanied by a delightful cocktail called the Citrus Spritzer. The New York style pizzas, and I’m not a pizza person at all, as I owe all my indulgent allegiance to burgers and fries, were delicious. I tried the Goat Cheese and Spinach as well as the Jerk Chicken pizza and the dough was so good that I never thought I’d say that except of course when I’m talking money! Bluebop bakes all their breads in-house and that made all the difference to the pizza crust really.

The desserts are innovative, particularly the Matcha Mousse with fresh Blueberries. The Tiramisu, with a caramelised head with dustings of coffee powder, served with a wine biscuit is as good as it can get outside of Italy. Bluebop sources all its produce locally, all the time staying true to the  regions of Italy and America that the dishes originate from. 

The wine walls, patterned flooring, cane-backed chairs with arm-rests and seating booths lend a 70s vibe to the cafe, but not entirely, as the illuminated bar breaks away with its contemporary design, with mixologist Dinesh Mondkar concocting and crafting the heady cocktails. The culinary team is led by Chef Saurabh Raturi, who interestingly, also moonlights as a musician (a guitar hangs above the kitchen entry) when he’s not developing and perfecting a new dish for the cafe. As I see it, the Bluebop team is poised for culinary greatness as it is knowledgeable, curious and willing to adapt, without a trace of the “I know it all” affectations, in an ever evolving and extremely competitive business.

You might slip up on the ‘gram at this swingin’ cafe, diving into the Italian-American cuisine at its authentic best as soon as the dishes are placed on your table, overcome by the gluttony of it all. But then again, it’d be sinful not to give in! 

The BlueBop Cafe is open all days, from 12:00PM-1AM.
Sunday Brunch: 12PM-3PM.
The BlueBop Cafe
318, Linking Rd, Khar West,
Mumbai 400052 India
+91 22 62366444 | 93 722 02586

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@Rubina A Khan 2019

RUBINA’S RADAR | DESI GIRL PRIYANKA CHOPRA’S OFFICIAL NEW CHOKRA IS PARDESI BOY NICK JONAS

RUBINA’S RADAR

There’s been a lot of hip-holding of Priyanka Chopra’s pageant-winning waist by American musician Nick Jonas in New York, Mumbai, Brazil, Singapore and London that made for super photographs splashed across tabloids in recent months. Chopra was, after all, the Jealous singer’s and erstwhile Disney actor’s new love – he being the guy who’d dated Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Kate Hudson, maybe even the stunning Kendall Jenner and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo before her. Chopra had only been dating the Dallas-born Nicholas Jerry Jonas for a haute second, and then, bam! An engagement!

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Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas | Photo: Instagram

She played desi girl to the hilt with her pardesi boy Jonas flying down to Mumbai with his parents, Denise and Paul Kevin Jonas Sr for the roka ceremony. The pre-wedding ceremony held at her Juhu home was all about honouring Indian family traditions and culture and loving an American guy, amidst family and friends. More family, less friends. It was attended by the 55th richest person in the Forbes World Billionaire list 2018, Mukesh Ambani, and his wife Nita and daughter Isha and Bollywood’s almost number one actor, Alia Bhatt among others. Bollywood’s presence of popular faces was minimal here. Even Karan Johar who is literally everywhere, was on foreign shores and couldn’t strike a pose and pout for the assembled photographers on the Juhu street, but his congratulatory bouquet of flowers did make it to the photo grids. Same difference. The claims that Chopra and Jonas wanted to keep it private and low-key don’t quite match up with the calculated release of information and photographs by the machinery. A supposedly quiet visit to an orphanage, St. Catherine’s in Mumbai the morning after the ceremony not only had pictures circulating, but videos of the same posted by Jonas himself. Millennial super girl Kylie Jenner fell in love with Travis Scott, made baby Stormi and racked up billions during her pregnancy more discreetly than the engaged adults here. And closer home, Salman Khan is being human sans any visual mementos of his philanthropy.

Chopra has a definitive style when it comes to her fashion stakes, aided by Hollywood stylist Cristina Ehrlich and of late, Mimi Cuttrell, the 25-year-old primary stylist to Palestinian-Dutch-American model Gigi Hadid. Interestingly, there was no fashion to talk about really at the ceremony or the subsequent party by Chopra, but the loved-up photographs of the newly-engaged couple made for the ultimate fashion statement here, with diamonds of course.

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Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas | Photo: Instagram

To go from being in love with an Indian man on the right side of 50 to a JoBro of 25 was a bit sudden, if anything. As far as her love life went, there was no talk of it in the West prior to her Jonas coupling, although Mumbai knew very well of a love affair, albeit unofficially, that was storming inside of her, never mind where she lived or where she worked – Bollywood or Hollywood. But she’s now spoken for and all that Bollywood tumult seems behind her today. And as their initials NP go, there seems to be no problem or objection to this coupling, aside from some favourable and unfavourable comparisons to her last unofficial superstar boyfriend.

Chopra conquered Bollywood armed with her Miss World crown and winning smile only to power through Hollywood headlining a television series, Quantico, and now, with this East-West coupling, she seems like she’s going to be settling down happily ever after in Grammywood. She wants it all – crowns, endorsements, films, television, music, love, marriage – and is sure getting it all too. The newly-engaged couple are looking to wed on Jonas’ 26th birthday on September 16 after he popped the question on her 36th birthday on July 18 in London. There’s no word on the city, country or venue of their wedding yet and what place on Earth they will call home either.

The future Mr and Mrs Jonas are sure to make great music together, and make even better pictures in the times to come. The very fact that she’s an accomplished singer herself having cut a few tracks of her own, to fall for a musician, comes as no surprise really. And, he’s handsome and clearly smitten by her charms. I’m sure Chopra will not just be content cheering on her fiancé from vantage points at his live shows and performances but will be making some real music with him soon. I can’t wait to hear the single or album they’ll cut. And better still, a duet for a Bollywood film too.

Disclaimer: Any part of the content on the rubinaakhan.com website cannot be reproduced without prior permission and crediting the website and the author.

©Rubina A Khan 2018

RUBINA’S RADAR | HOLLYWOOD ONE NIGHTS IN MUMBAI TO CHAMPAGNE PAPI DRAKE PERFORMING LIVE IN INDIA SOON?

RUBINA’S RADAR

If anything is hotter than the summer of 2017, it’s Drake! The Canadian Grammy award winning artist who swept the Billboard Music Awards with 13 honors earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada, surpassing Adele’s record of the highest BBMA wins, is allegedly headed eastward to Mumbai for a concert. The legitimacy of this claim is as thin as paper, and damp too, in Mumbai’s humid weather forecast, but this seems to be the trend du jour. After Justin Bieber’s live gig in the city, anyone, and I mean anyone with a bank account (the many advantages of PM Modi’s demonetisation in the country) is dropping big tickets names like Drake performing in Mumbai, akin to these artistes’ dropping their platinum selling hit tracks! Except their music is real, but these flighty murmurings, not so much. Such is the residual fever of Bieber’s Mumbai trip that getting Canadian, Barbadian and British pop icons to perform in the country is now a conversation opener that can at best be described as delusions of pop grandeur of the highest kind. Vague as the conversations might be, with ambiguous overtones that could throw serious shade on US President Donald Trump’s speeches, they’re definitely in vogue, riding on names like Drake, Ed Sheeran, Rihanna and gasp, even Adele!

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Drake at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada with his 13 honors

It is suffice to say that May has been all about one nights in Mumbai as far as Hollywood goes. Brad Pitt flew in on Wednesday, May 24th to promote his film War Machine on Netflix, along with his director David Michôd. The visit was so short that even calling it a quickie feels abusive to the word itself. It was almost a guerilla surprise, with the film being screened at PVR Phoenix Mills, and Pitt and Michôd’s subsequent interaction with Shah Rukh Khan. Pitt had promoted the film earlier on in the month on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in New York by lying down with Colbert on a blanket on the CBS set to talk about the film, which was unusual and weird, but very entertaining nevertheless. Before he landed in Mumbai, Pitt posed for selfies and signed autographs for his fans at the film’s premiere in Tokyo, Japan but chose not to interact with his fans in Mumbai which was rather strange. Unless of course the one night in Mumbai was a part of some sort of nouveau stealth strategy, which is extremely doubtful.

Justin Bieber was all set to explore Mumbai on his first trip to India for his Purpose Tour concert, but his visit lasted a mere 20 hours with him spending one night in the city at the St Regis Mumbai, despite being booked for four nights and five days. He came, he performed and went straight to the airport to fly off to South Africa for his next show from the concert venue right after his gig. Confidential details of Bieber’s contractual asks and obligations made their way into the press as a “leak” prior to his arrival in the country and that wasn’t exactly the smartest move, making Bieber look like an extremely demanding artiste, not to mention it was a total breach of trust too. Bieber chose to respond to the screaming headlines of his exaggerated tour demands and party plans by staying on in Dubai post his gig there, enjoying the decadent Arab hospitality at the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel, arriving in Mumbai only past midnight on May 10th, the day he was scheduled to perform and left before the date changed to May 11th. Touché Bieber!

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Justin Bieber exiting the Mumbai airport at 1.20AM on May 10, 2017

Mumbai has always had Hollywood and celebrities from around the world falling in love with the city, and definitely for more than just one night. Pitt was visibly charmed when he’d visited Mumbai back in November 2006 with Angelina Jolie and their adopted kids, Maddox and Zahara. So if Champagne Papi Drake does come to Mumbai for a live concert, despite all the ambitious conversations that do not seem conclusive in the least, I hope it’s third time lucky for Mumbai this year and the Hotline Bling singer stays on for more than just one night only, and One Dance.

Disclaimer: Any part of the content on the rubinaakhan.com website cannot be reproduced without prior permission and crediting the website and the author.

©Rubina A Khan 2017