ELLE Exclusive: Finger-Licking Savoury Churros, Irresistible Cocktails, Lyla Is Mumbai’s Latest Mexican & Californian Restaurant


The Mexican wave has a whole new meaning in the culinary space with new Mexican restaurants popping up in Mumbai. While BKC has many restaurants ranging from Indian and Pan-Asian to Italian and Thai, it was missing a Mexican spot. Well, not anymore. Following the success of Gigi, KAIA Goa, Donna Deli and Eve, Chrome Hospitality – helmed by trio Pawan Shahri, Dhaval Udeshi and Nikita Shahri – adds another restaurant to its growing chain. Say hello to Lyla, the fresh-on-the-block restaurant that borrows influences from South America and California. With authentic Mexcian plates that feature the classics and innovative dishes as well as mezcals that will uplift your spirits, this new restaurant is sure to make your lunch breaks fun and transform your night-outs into a fiesta. Intrigued to know more, I dropped by for an experience. 

The Vibe

Stepping inside, a vibrant space welcomed me with interiors that married native Indian, Afro-Latin and Spanish design accents. But it’s the expansive, wooden-clad island bar that greeted me first, where I also ended up spending the most time. More on that soon! Ahead of the bar is where you’ll find casual, low seating, ideal for quick bites during the day and perfect for Instagram-worthy shots with natural lighting hitting the spot.


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But it was what lay behind the bar that lured me in. It was a more intimate yet colourful set-up with a wall reminiscent of a collector’s home.  A mix of statement murals, wooden Mexican masks, paintings and quirky lamps made the spot an inviting yet intimate space to sit and dine in. A few botanicals add a tropical touch along with some Spanish tunes setting the ambiance right. 


At The Bar  

For the first time in the city, a spirits journalist and judge known for his storytelling-focussed bar takeovers, Priyanko Sarkar comes on board to curate the cocktail menu. It draws inspiration from the dual Gold Rush, first when the Spanish Navies landed in Mexico and gave the world treasures in the form of chocolate, mangoes and more, and the Californian Gold Rush that changed the face and fortunes of the peninsula forever. 

It’s no surprise that tequilas and mezcals take centre stage but others equally intrigued me. I go on a cocktail-tasting spree. As recommended by Priyanko, I began with Cali Peeli, which is his take on a Paloma but with kokum (an ode to Mumbai) instead of grapefruit. Another One, a mango picante but with avocado will actually make you call for another glass–it’s light, easy to drink and the ideal summer drink. Not My Day is a Kahlua-based drink with a Mexican punch of tequila and mezcal but also a washed-out version of an espresso martini, which I quite enjoyed. Dirty Money came as a pleasant surprise to me. It was layered with ginger, curry leaf and whisky, and was extremely easy to sip and savour. Lyla’s Call is the most spirit-forward drink and Gold Rush captures the theme of the entire menu. 


On Your Plate

Chef Beena Noronha, who also heads the kitchen at Gigi, has designed Lyla’s extensive menu that amalgamates “the bold, spicy flavours of Mexico with the fresh, seasonal ingredients and innovative techniques of California.” The chef also admits that the dishes showcase a bit of her personality. “I decided to celebrate the ingredients more than the cuisine. Whenever I plan a menu I always give a lot of thought to the kind of guests that would come to the restaurant and what kind of expectations they would have. For me, it definitely couldn’t be just another Mexican restaurant; it had to stand out and the food needed to do all the talking. Every dish on the menu has a story to tell,” she explains, taking me through the menu. 

My meal at Lyla began with a go-to Mexican dish – Summer Garden Guacamole with tortilla chips. But what made the experience a notch higher was when our server, Siddhesh came to the table to freshly prepare the dish. Right from scooping out the avocado, mashing it in a mortar with a pestle to adding all the spices and plating it up, I found myself digging into this tasty snack. The addition of the feta cheese and pomegranate in the guac didn’t go unnoticed–that was a unique addition to the classic preparation. I wondered, what could top this as the very first dish set the bar high. But then came the Ají Lima Churros and it blew me away. A savoury take on a dish that is often enjoyed sweet, these churros with chilli lime seasoning were light, crispy and melted in my mouth. You can pair it with the Cheese Dip and Cilantro Jalapeño Ranch but I quite liked it without the condiments as well. 

Ají Lima Churros

You ought to have tacos and tortas when you visit a Mexican restaurant; Lyla’s menu has a whole section dedicated to both. I, however, went for the offbeat choices. My lunch continued with a cold plate of Ceviche De Pescado. The dish that featured Tuna, Mango, Bell Peppers, Onion, Red Radish, Chives, Pimientos, and Leche De Tigre, looked too pretty cut into but upon tasting, the freshness of the ingredients added some vigour to my experience. I also enjoyed indulging in the Setay Trufa Empanadas stuffed with a Mushroom & Truffle filling and served with a side of Scallion Crema. Keeping it light yet flavourful for the mains, I opted for the Ciopinno, a seafood preparation that featured prawns, mussels, clams and squid floating in a tomatoey broth, which I enjoyed eating with some bread. Other signature must-tries include Red Snapper Ceviche, Grande Nachos, Seven Layer Cobb Salad, and traditional Tortas or Mexican sandwiches, apart from the classic chimichangas, tacos, cubanos and burritos. 

Monstruo Chhuro

I recommend leaving space for the sweet dishes. I ended my meal with the Piña Colada Crème Brûlée, interestingly served in a pineapple and tasted just like the popular cocktail in the form of a dessert. You can also take your pick from the classics such as the Horchata Tres Leches or Monstruo Churros. 

ELLE’s Verdict

Whether you need a lunch break from the office or a space to unwind post-work hours, Lyla is an easy-breezy restaurant that allows you to sit back, relax and feast on big and bold Mexcian flavours as well as sip on refreshing cocktails that will certainly make you come back for more. 

Address: Platina Building, G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051

Time: 12 pm to 1 am

- Lifestyle Editor


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