Lounge Review: Luna Nudo/Gusta, Mumbai
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When Palladium Hotel got its St Regis makeover, some of its bars and restaurants were left untouched, perhaps so as to not spook their regular clientele. Crowds still pack Exo and Asilo, their nightclub and rooftop bar, every weekend, so it makes sense that they would add another to their roster. Luna Nudo Gusta is the hotel’s newest bar and restaurant, one that combines the nightlife ambience of Exo with the fine dining sensibilities of Yukka next door.
The good stuff
Luna Nudo is the bar, whose décor is boilerplate five-star nightclub, with its muted pink-blue-green LED lighting. What is not boilerplate—and pleasantly so—is their Aperitivo Hours menu that offers luxe drinking at high-street prices. Between 4 pm and 8 pm, you can quaff unlimited craft beer from Gateway Brewing and White Owl for Rs1,200. Spirit fiends will love the all-you-can-drink deal on Jim Beam, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Gordon’s gin at Rs2,000 for two hours.
The cocktail menu is full of drama. We loved the Personified Moon (Rs1,200), a concoction of spice-infused bourbon, apple and maple, presented under a smoke-filled decanter that leaves just the hint of fragrant apple-wood. A lot of the spirits that go into the cocktails are infused in-house with spices and fruits and this works to great effect in Lady of Eclipse (Rs1,000), a sort of drinkable potpourri of rosemary, thyme and basil-infused gin and cream.
Up a spiral staircase from the bar is Luna Gusta, the restaurant, where Australian chef Martin Kindleysides dishes out contemporary European cuisine. The Artisanal Burrata & Florentine Fennel (Rs700) salad marries cloud-soft Vallombrosa burrata with fennel and citrus segments, cut through with pomegranate molasses. The Highland Venison Carpaccio (Rs1,000) treats Australian venison with reverence, without drowning its delicate flavour in the accompanying horseradish crème. In the mains, specks of truffle light up a Jumbo Asparagus Risotto (Rs1000) and a flaky, perfectly seared piece of Chilean Seabass (Rs2200) is given depth with an exquisite king-crab butter sauce.
The restaurant really loves its smoke and theatrics, and while it’s great once in a while, you don’t want that drama in your cocktails, your food and dessert. Our House Smoked Salmon was fumigated with so much hickory, it was like eating out of an ashtray.
The meal was also undermined by a deeply disappointing dessert—an inexplicably frozen Bourbon Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta (Rs600) sat atop a chewy meringue and an unreasonably sour passion-fruit gelato. The oddly slimy, frozen panna cotta wouldn’t give way under our spoons and we never got to the promised raspberry centre. But it was one sour note in an otherwise engaging meal and Luna Gusta may yet find itself on the city’s fine dining menu.
A meal for two, with two cocktails, three appetizers, two mains and one dessert costs Rs 7700, without taxes.
Luna Nudo Gusta, Level 37, St. Regis, Lower Parel, Mumbai (022 61628422). Luna Nudo is open from 4pm to 1am; Luna Gusta is open from 7pm to midnight.