Musician’s Mall, Mumbai
There was a time when city rockers had only a handful of stores from where to buy their gear. The two legendary Furtado stores at Metro and Bhargava’s Muzic were the most popular. All these establishments are old school, no-frills places. Great quality products, solid after-sales service, but unkempt and so overcrowded with musical paraphernalia that if you tried to reach for a snare, you’d trip over a processor or get stabbed in the back by a bass guitar. Most musicians’ complaint at Bhargava’s was that they could never see the product they wanted—the store was so small that almost everything you asked for was in the warehouse. That’s what prompted the partners (they’re distributors as well as retailers) to open a larger store at Marine Lines.
Musician’s Mall has been operational for a few months and has already established itself as a place to get quality instruments. It’s conceptualized along the lines of smaller music stores one encounters abroad. It’s spacious, with enough place to display products well. Racks of gleaming Ibanezes and Fenders hanging by their necks, tall stands of Paiste and Sabian cymbals that shudder as you walk past, Tama drum kits, four- and five-stringed bass guitars, Yamaha keys, and plectrums in any colour or size you could possibly need. There is also a wall dedicated to Indian instruments such as sitars, tablas and flutes.
Take your pick from the guitar display
We visited with a rock guitarist and a drummer; both walked around like kids in a candy store with silly smiles plastered on their faces. The guitarist was impressed that they carried Line 6 amplifiers, and that the sales staff was honest when asked for their opinion. It’s a task to get good quality drums that are a step up from the beginners level, said our drum reviewer, so he was pleased with the choice of Tama products as well as the electronic Roland kit.
The partners are trying to make the store more than a music shop. They have guitar and drumming classes; keyboard classes will start soon. They also undertake servicing and repair of instruments. Local bands play at the store on most Sundays. On Independence Day, there were four bands performing, almost a mini substitute for Independence Rock, Mumbai’s most popular annual rock fest.
The good stuff
What makes Musician’s Mall more than a store is the easy-going vibe. There’s no pressure to buy; musicians can just get a feel of the instruments, and jam. There’s a little glass-walled room at the back where drummers can try out kits. “That’s the reason people will go around recommending the store,” says Mukesh Bhargava, a partner.
But for guitarists, the store’s biggest asset is Sylman Marak. The guitarist for Mumbai band, Vital Instinct, has been trained at the Ibanez factory and he helps fellow players with advice, as well as setting and repairing their guitars.
No Zildjian cymbals. Bhargava says it was a conscious decision, because the brand insists shipping costs have to be borne by the importer, which drives the prices up drastically, and the store wanted to keep prices as affordable as possible. For drummers, this may not be a good thing (Zildjian is the big daddy of the cymbal world; not stocking them is like having a zoo with every animal except a lion). But we think that besides sex and drugs, that’s what rock is all about—standing up to the establishment.
Prices have been kept well in control, say musicians. Electric guitars start at Rs8,500 (Rs12,000 for Ibanez). The store sells 1,500 acoustic and semi-acoustic Pluto guitars per month (it’s a brand the company has started itself). Prices for beginners’ cymbals by Paiste start at Rs1,500 per piece.
Terroir loosely means “sense of place” in French and refers to the quality in wine given to it by its place of growth. Terroir, the new restaurant in Gurgaon’s Galaxy Hotel, opened in July and is still searching for its own sense of place. Its emphasis on wine, denoted in the name and in the huge floor-to-ceiling wine rack that makes up one wall, does not give enough personality to this lounge and restaurant. It has a stylish look, but seems too straight out of a contemporary furniture catalogue. And the food was, in turns, pleasantly surprising and surprisingly disappointing.
The good stuff
The beginning of the meal rated five stars. We began with toasted brown bread, and we each had our own personal olive oil dip and a pineapple and red pepper spread. It sounds like a bizarre combination for bread, but the sweet, sharp taste of the spread was brilliant. We then chose crispy chicken croquets with a sun-dried tomato relish and Romano cheese flakes and a baked vegetable tian with fried Brie cheese and a black bean vinaigrette. Both were fabulous. Though the portions were small, each packed a flavourful punch.
Musicians put up a show on I-Day
Right before the entrees arrived, we were lulled into thinking Terroir may be culinary nirvana. Maybe it was our high expectations. Maybe it was that nothing could live up to that pineapple paste. Whatever it was, the entrees came and we crashed back down to mediocre earth. The Brazilian tenderloin and the Iceland codfish both had an interesting mix of flavours; sweet beats topping the tenderloin and a melted goat cheese over the fish brought out a smoky taste. However, the portions were so small, two bites finished the fish; just a few more finished the meat. The coffee bean-coated scallops and the sea bass were also minuscule portions and, to make matters worse, the sea bass was tasteless, while the scallops tasted too much like coffee.
The prices are high, but in line with most restaurants of this genre. Entrees start at Rs 475 and go up to Rs1,695 plus taxes while the appetizers start at Rs265 plus taxes.
Though the entrees definitely did not impress, don’t write off Terroir. It has a sexy enough aesthetic, some incredible appetizer options and a great wine list. If you need to take a large group out in Gurgaon, opt for drinks and appetizers.
—Melissa A. Bell