Acting in or producing films is just not enough for celebrities anymore. Just like you and I, they too are venturing into other fields that are of interest to them. While some Bollywood stars are diverging into the beauty industry, others are choosing the F&B space. And the latest to do so is Karan Johar. The filmmaker recently launched his restaurant Neuma in the restored colonial-era bungalow (which initially housed the iconic Indigo restaurant) on Mandlik Road in Colaba.
View this post on Instagram
The restaurant opened just a few weeks ago and has already become the talk of the town. Of course it will be. It has a celebrity name attached to it. But I can’t deny the fact that the pictures of the restaurant on social media look exceptional and is enough to attract a crowd. To find out whether Neuma is worth the hype, I paid a visit. I booked a reservation for 7:45 pm on a weekday thinking it wouldn’t be crowded. To my surprise, the restaurant was already buzzing when I got there.
View this post on Instagram
Neuma Is Big & Beautiful
I don’t talk much about a restaurant’s interiors and usually head straight to the food. But Neuma is an exception. If you’re expecting Karan’s OTT aesthetic, you will be surprised. The chic dining space is quite the opposite. Neuma means the vital spirit that exists within each of us and connects us all, transporting one to a different time and space. And this is exactly how you feel when you’re at Neuma. Designed and conceptualised by renowned interior designer and architect Ashiesh Shah, it is Neuma’s decor that sets the mood as soon as you set foot in this European style villa-turned-restaurant. Shah has sourced art pieces and collectables from across India, creating a space that is reminiscent of a collector’s home. That’s probably why you feel so warm and cosy even though it’s a fine dining space. What I personally liked is that it’s divided into sections that is suitable for different occasions. You can actually grab a drink and stroll through the vast space to just appreciate its beauty.
As soon as you step in, you feel like you’re sitting in a tropical cafe. Wooden furniture, white pebbles on the floor, and large plants–the Garden Cafe is a a relaxed spot to catch a quick coffee or snack during the day (Yup, each section has a name. Could it be fancier?). My favourite decor element here? The large Claymen fountain, which you see right when you enter. The left side outdoors has a very safari-themed aesthetic, again with wooden furniture and ample greenery. Inside, at the entrance, you have the Sun Porch with tables that face the window–hello serene view and great snaps with natural lighting. This space leads to a Courtyard (where I was seated) featuring black and white old-world cement tiles with larger than life potted plants.
Sitting at a corner of the Courtyard, I could see the dimly lit bar in hues of red, aptly named the Rose Bar, right in front of me. The velvet seating, fringed cushions and chandeliers add a dramatic flair to it. And behind me lies the white-hued, Danish-inspired dining room, the Blanc, which has a more intimate seating. Further ahead, you’ll see a private dining room known as Verde, which features sage green chairs and curtains.
There’s also a rooftop section upstairs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go there as they’re currently rain-proofing it. On asking, here’s what I got to know about it. The staircase leads to an outdoor bar area called Bawa. Black hues coupled with foliage and water features define it. The design elements here are heavily-inspired by Geoffrey Bawa, which explains the name. A strong, masculine vibe, reminiscent of a yacht deck, is furthered in the adjacent indoor dining area, bar Nautica, which is completed in shades of blue and white with stunning chandeliers alongside its panelled walls. This is the spot I was looking forward to seeing the most, but oh well, I guess I got another reason to go back here.
View this post on Instagram
Now, We Can Talk Food
The dishes served here deserves as much attention as the ambience. And the credit for the menu goes to Executive Chef Abhinav Sharma. Known for his modern take on European meals, Abhinav brings his expertise to Neuma’s kitchen.
Just like the space, the menu too, is vast. There’s an array of options to choose from the small plates section but it was the Chargrilled prawns (Garlic, Lemon & Olive Oil Marinated Prawns Served With Leek Puree, Honey Dressing, Tapioca Crackers) and Pan Seared Scallops With Moilee Curry, Tamarind Quinoa, that appealed to me the most, and lived up to my expectations. I also couldn’t ignore the ‘Must-Try’ written next to Baked Brie, which is why I also placed an order for it and enjoyed it thoroughly. The chef also recommends trying the New Zealand Lamb Chops and Honey Glazed Chicken. Pair your meal with a glass of wine or the house special cocktails such as Isla Vu (Blended Scotch, Isla Malt, Oleo Saccharum, Fresh Lime Juice, Egg White, Orange Blossom Water) or Fig ‘Ol’ Biddies (Sous Vide Fig, Dark Rum, Aromatic Bitters, Demerara Sugar Syrup).
While I’m a self-proclaimed foodie, I will admit that my appetite is the size of an ant. I was a bit full by the time I got to the mains, which is why I could only opt for something light (after all, I wanted to leave space for the desserts too). I tasted the Grilled Salmon (Norwegian Salmon With Lime Leaf, Coconut Glaze Served On A Bed Of Edamame Black Rice) and devoured it! If you have a large appetite though, you must try the Lamb Shank, Roast Chicken, Poached Snapper Laksa, or even choose from the pasta dishes. And before I forget, I must mention how much I vibed to the music here. From songs you’ve heard on Instagram reels to throwback hits from the 2010s to current pop music, I was dancing to the tunes of the playlist and binging on my lovely meal.
End your experience on a sweet note with a Sticky Toffee Pudding (Dates, Toffee Cake Served On Custard, Praline) or a Vanilla Pannacotta (Vodka Milk Pannacotta, Lemon Shortbread, Berries, Raspberry Sorbet), the former being the preferred choice.
There’s a special menu for vegans too, created by Chef Rishim Sachdeva, who was previously the Executive Chef at Olive Bar & Kitchen before moving to London to launch Tendril, a (mostly) vegan kitchen. His consulting chef role at Neuma marks his return to the culinary landscape of Mumbai.
It’s a common notion that anything linked with a celebrity name is overhyped and doesn’t deliver. But in Neuma’s case, it certainly lives up to those expectations. Binging on modern European cuisine in a stylish, fine-dining set-up has never been better. You’ll keep coming back for more.
Address: Neuma, 4, Mandlik Road Apollo Bunder Colaba Mumbai – 400001
Hours of Operation: 12:30 pm to 1:30 am, Tuesday – Sunday (Dinner Seatings: 7:00 pm and 10:30 pm)
Contact: 7031483333 | 7031493333