Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Lounge Reviews | Mandira Bedi & D’Bell, Mumbai

Mandira Bedi

Mandira Bedi’s new showroom at Khar, Mumbai, is all about the cocktail sari. The actor and television show host has designed candy-coloured borders, pleats and pallus from soft, free-flowing fabrics that remind you of Bollywood dream sequences. Blouses are noodle-strapped bustiers, a style popularized by Bedi in the early 2000s.

Associated with contemporary prints and sexily draped saris (Satya Paul was one of her favourites) since her debut as a presenter for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003, it was only last year during Diwali that Bedi decided to design saris. It was on a whim, admits Bedi, who currently plays Nikita Rai, a hardnosed Anti-Terrorist Unit agent on Anil Kapoor’s TV show 24. The first few saris were the result of an impromptu DIY project with her neighbourhood tailor using locally sourced mix-and-match fabrics. Besides wearing her own designs as a judge on shows like Indian Idol Junior, she also sold them at pre-Diwali exhibitions in Mumbai, Bangalore and Singapore this year.

The good stuff

Her debut festive collection is bling-free with little or no embroidery. She favours clever construction over surface embellishments with at least three to four different fabrics making up one piece. There are half-and-half saris in two different georgette colours, diagonally cut so that the pleats cascade from one colour to another in equal proportions. Three-part saris feature horizontal stripes of different but alternating fabrics to form tic-tac-toe-like squares when draped. We really liked a half-and-half tussar silk and brocade sari with the cream-coloured silk and floral brocade interchanging their positions in the pleats and pallu.

The store also stocks a small range of ready-made blouses in stretch fabrics. Spaghetti-strapped, sleeveless, halters, racer-backs and cap-sleeved blouses in shiny black and metallic hues (some with sheer net backs) make up the range.

Bedi plans to include other Indian ready-to-wear, fashion accessories and a jewellery line in the future. She also has plans to convert the spacious outdoor patio of the store into a tea room soon.

The not-so-good

The collection uses fabrics, lace and ready-made sari borders available far too easily at stores like Vandana’s V-Fab, Saroj and Glans in Khar, located less than 500m from the showroom. Any skilled tailor could replicate any of Bedi’s designs after just one trip to her showroom.

Talk plastic

All saris are priced from 11,000-23,000 and include an unstitched blouse piece; ready-made blouses are priced at 4,000.

Mandira Bedi, Ashrey Building, Ground floor, at the junction of 13th and 18th Road, near Fabindia, Khar (West), Mumbai (8879369402).

D’Bell, Mumbai

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D’Bell has a well-stocked, reasonably priced bar

The good stuff

Though D’Bell is a café and a lounge, thankfully its sprawling interiors aren’t wasted on a confusing mash-up of the two. Instead, the area is cleverly partitioned with the more roomy side making up the lounge that’s dimly lit through the day. Dark wood accents, low seating in leather and a raised platform for live music events complete its look. The venue already hosts Karaoke and Ladies Nights every Thursday, electronica gigs on Fridays, live bands on Saturdays.

The slightly smaller, all-white dining area is designed to look like a giant living room, sparsely populated with bookshelves and assorted curios. This set-up is also used for the weekday lunch buffet ( 499) and the Sunday brunch ( 699).

Both sections have a well-stocked bar with beers starting at 190 for a Kingfisher pint and 30ml pours of Smirnoff vodka or Bacardi rum priced at 160. We kicked off our after-work drinking session on the café side with a Sour Apple Martini ( 430), a Blushing Melon Sangria ( 350) and an order of Crispy Fish in Thai Basil Sauce ( 220). The sesame-crusted rawas was doused in a suitably spicy, sticky chilli-basil sauce that complemented our martini, an odd but potent mix of Smirnoff Green Apple flavoured vodka and nimbu-pani.

The café menu is a multi-cuisine jumble with mostly continental and a few Asian starters and mains, along with sandwiches, pizza and pasta. The Paprika Cream Pasta was made in a rich almond-based sauce that reminded us of the Oven Baked Penne at Café Moshe’s, the Veg Mexicana Sandwich ( 230) was loaded with bell peppers and sweet corn in a tangy tomato sauce and the Asian Chicken Stew ( 350) was a aromatic basil-infused coconut curry served with jasmine rice.

The not-so-good

Some of the dishes, including all pizzas and any lamb ones weren’t available. The Blushing Melon Sangria was a forgettable blend loaded with too much juice and far too many pieces of oranges and no melon. The New York Cheesecake ( 200) was passable but we were served a mushy, measly slice, smaller than the pastries at Monginis. To survive, D’Bell must realize that on any given day, it’s competing with subsidized workplace canteens, coffee shops and homemade tiffin boxes, all of which can manage to whip up value-for-money sandwiches, pizza and pasta.

Talk plastic

A meal for two with two cocktails, two starters, two mains and a dessert will cost about 2,500.

D’Bell, One Indiabulls Center, Tower 2B, Lobby Level, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (West), Mumbai (65374666). Daily Happy Hours from 4-8pm (buy one, get one free offer on all IMFL cocktails and spirits).

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