Wine Republic: Ive Wine Cafe & Bistro

I did a review of Ivy Wine Cafe and Bistro for Feastguru a couple of weeks back. Here's the piece:
There are three types of people in the world. Those who understand the world of wine. Those who don’t, but pretend to. And those who don’t.

I don’t know about you but I am in the third group.

Room temperature, chilled, with cheese, red with red, white with white, crackers, pheasants, glasses with wide mouths, long stemmed glasses, dinner jackets, sparkling, woody undertones, oak casks, vintage, France, Italy, California, Nasik, Merlot, Port, dessert, Rose… gosh that’s hell of a lot to keep in mind. Daunting isn’t it?

What happened to sitting back and enjoying your drink?

Well, if that’s your worry then Ivy, a wine bistro at Mumbai, could be the answer.

Ivy is run by the Indage group who were amongst the first to produce wine in India. The idea from, what I understand is, to popularise wine here and reach it to a larger audience.

Ivy has a nice, youthful, vibrant feel to it with abundant touches of red, whacky one liners on wine on the wall, maps of wine producing countries on the ceiling and placards explaining different types of wines.

As our kind host for the evening, Ivy’s Yogesh, explained, there are no rules at Ivy.

Muggy Mumbai makes you yearn for chilled red wine? No problem, you get chilled red here. Don’t know which wine to order? You can try a sampler before you order. Bothered about having to have only cheese with your drink? You can have chicken nuggets, French Fries, Bruschettas and other starters that would go as well with a good lager. Worried that wine will burn a hole in your pocket? Their cheapest wine, Vino, at Rs 40 (less than a USD) is cheaper than their ice tea. Want to celebrate with champagne but can’t afford a bottle? According to Yogesh, Ivy is the only place around where you can order champagne by the glass.

In other words Ivy is the place where you can go and enjoy wine without feeling self conscious.

And if you are a wine connoisseur then Ivy has a treasure trove of contemporary Indian wines from the house of Indage and the odd imported wine too.

We tried a mix of reds and whites- the South Bay (Rs 80/ glass), Vin Ballet (Rs 75/ glass), Ivy Maltec (Rs 165/ Glass), Chantilli Cabernet Sauvignon (Rs 145/ glass) and sips of their flagships Merlot Syrah (Rs 250/ glass) and Tiger Hill Rose (Rs 180/ glass).

How were they? Clear colour, refreshing and bubbly aroma, nice tasting. There, I won’t pretend to be a connoisseur. All I will say is that I enjoyed my drink.

I did learn that it is important to start your drink by swirling it in the glass and appreciating the clarity. You then stick your nose in the glass and take in the aroma. And then finally take a sip and keep it in your mouth for a while to enjoy the palate and then take it in.

Quite different from knocking down rum and coke after rum and coke.

And in case you think I am some sort of wine Prophet, all of this is written in big and bold on the walls at Ivy.

And the food? Nothing too elaborate. I missed having a nice cheese platter. But as Yogesh explained, they have consciously tried to keep the costs on the lower side. So you have a host of starters at less than Rs 100 (2 USD). We liked the chicken nuggets which were crunchy and juicy. It is difficult to go wrong with French Fries and Ivy doesn’t disappoint. The bruschetta will do if you are longing for cheese. You get a whiff of it with these. Kainaz liked the Greek salad which was nice and light. I would have liked a bit more feta cheese in it but I am not a salad man.

The main courses, ranging from Rs 100 – 150, have their nice moments and lows. The Red Thai curry was quite well flavoured and tasty. We tried a penne pesto which was strictly avoidable. A bit too milky for my taste and no flavour of basil. They have a biriyani in case you want something Indian.

On the whole you are better of having fun with wines here with the starters to give you company.

And if you have sweet tooth then the chocolate truffle and blueberry cheesecake, at Rs 100 each, would make you happy.

We went to the outlet at Worli which was quite full even on a Thursday night. They have branches at Versova and Malad which have a similar look and theme from what I understand.

Disclaimer: This was not an anonymous review.