Tote on the turf's huge opening
Tote, the latest venture by the deGustibus Hospitality braintrust of Malini and Rahul Akerkar, reimagines Mumbai's historic Royal Western India Turf Club as a restaurant, bar and banquet space on the turf in Mahalaxmi. On Friday night, the restaurant opened its gates, letting loose all of what I love most about Mumbai: creative boys and girls, balmy air, restrained old money and a crowd gearing up to be drunk enough to dance and not stop.
The restaurant is Indigo's finest qualities advanced. Their grills have proven perennially popular, so with Tote Rahul is concentrating on smoking up rawas and red snapper in bulk. The chef and his wife share a personal relationship with many of their guests, old and young, and with this big bar spanning two levels, they clearly intend to widen their circle further.
But their most noteworthy embellishment was to give Tote the one thing Indigo doesn’t have -- cutting-edge design. For this, Serie architects, the urban architects behind Blue Frog, studied the Turf Club's surrounding foliage and translated it into intricately cut white wooden paneling downstairs and dark chocolate wood at the bar, crafting Tote into a truffle of a restaurant -- white wrapped in chocolate brown.Ordinarily at an opening party, space is such a premium that everyone’s under your nose. From that perspective it’s hard to have any perspective at all. But Tote's business is its bigness. A couple square feet of personal space is enough to keep others from cramping your style, and Tote has 25,000 of them.
The full review comes in a week when we sit down to dine ourselves to death and grill Rahul on their future plans.