If you’re looking for a place to unwind after work, for your next date night or for a casual hang-out session with friends and family, you’ll want to bookmark this new cocktail bar in Mumbai. Say hello to CIRQA, the latest passion project by Pankaj and Avinash Gupta — the brothers behind Taftoon, Oye Kake, and Café Haqq Se — along with Adele de Fontbrune, a culture-oriented entrepreneur with a decade’s experience working with hospitality, food and beverage ventures in Paris and London.
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Spread across two storeys, CIRQA sits in Todi Mills and offers a relaxed dining experience on the ground floor and an intimate and cosy vibe at its dimly lit bar featuring brick walls on the first floor. The interiors are inspired by Mumbai’s Art Deco style with intimate geometric seating that celebrates the two-way bar, a romantic outdoor section, tall windows, a circular clock design, and lots of foliage for the perfect turn-back-time atmosphere.
The kitchen is headed by Chef Shannon Lawrence (a Culinary Institute of America alumni). Having travelled across various parts of India, he brings the various cultural elements of different regions to the dishes at CIRQA. Expect intriguing teasers like steamed jackfruit curry wontons, and elevated plates like the pumpkin rillette or the lobster tail bisque emulsion, among others.
The bar programme is certainly not to miss as it not only brings innovation but also captures the essence of Mumbai. Curated by Louness Ducos and Agnieszka Rozenska (co-founders of Stories and Spirits, and distinguished mixologists from France and Poland), the carefully crafted cocktails are an amalgamation of culinary cultures.
Is CIRQA worth the hype? Team ELLE dropped by for its opening night to find out and here are some of the dishes and drinks that left them impressed.
1. Ainee Nizami Ahmedi (Editor-In-Chief)
“I absolutely enjoyed the Duck Prosciutto that was cooked to perfection with a hint of mustard and raw mango. The portions were perfectly sized and made for a great accompaniment to the cocktails.”
2. Isha Mayer (Lifestyle Editor)
“The crispy and crunchy Aubergine Tempura was the perfect bar snack to accompany my cocktail Bombay Cosmopolis. This hibiscus and cardamom-infused vodka-based drink is sweet with subtle sour hints that came from the cranberry and lime. It’s an F&B combination I’d recommend if you ever visit the bar.”
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3. Komal Shetty (Fashion Assistant)
“The Clams Green Pepper Sauce was my absolute favourite! The stacked-up clam shells on my plate were proof enough of how delicious they were. I’d definitely come back for round two.”
4. Zoha Castelino (Fashion Editor)
“I second Komal. The clams were an absolute banger! Definitely have to go back for more. The dessert cocktail Shake Me Up was the perfect end to the meal.”
5. Aliza Fatma (Bookings Editor)
“The Sakura’s Punch was my go-to cocktail for the night. It’s very refreshing and chilled to the perfect temperature—just what I needed to unwind post-work.”
6. Ekta Sinha (Jr. Digital Writer)
“As someone with a sweet tooth, my vote goes to Blueberry Almond Crumble. The cake was the perfect mix of gooeyness and crumbs–a light sponge with bits of almond along with the homemade blueberry jam, making it a comforting dessert for sure.”
7. Urmi Dande (Jr. Beauty Writer)
“My favourite from the menu is the clarified rum-based cocktail, Clear Colada. I don’t exactly remember how many I had, but I do recall feeling refreshed and satiated. It was a true highlight of the evening.”