Hard Rock café: Love all serve Some Saturday, 7 March, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in F&B ( Dawa-Daru).
Tags: Cafe', Drinks, Hard, Mumbai, Music, Pubs, Rock
This is my old published review posted here.
Introduction (for non Rock listeners only, Rock lovers can skip the Intro & History)
Hard Rock Café is a chain of Pubs inspired by Rock Music & display of the Artistes memorabilia with a brief history. The name comes from an album of The Doors named Morrison Hotel and it has many outlets across the world, and only one in India. The rock memorabilia collected over years are displayed for public viewing (That’s what I knew about HRC).
1979- Started with two Rock music fan in London, 1979 with an unsigned guitar.
1982- “Hard Rock Café” was established as a brand forming a cult for worldwide rock fans.
Today -more than 143 outlets, presence in 36 countries, over 80,000 ephemera from Rock music industry, a museum called “The Vault”, hotels, casinos, resorts, and condominiums, a forthcoming dedicated amusement park and HRC branded accessories like T-shirts, Pins, caps etc as collectable items.
The 123rd Restobar has opened in Mumbai sometime in Sept’ 06, in the campus of Bombay Dyeing Mills, Worli. This is the first HRC to be opened in India. ( the second one has opened in Bangalore now). We were planning for the last guzzle with colleagues before the New Year. The group- 3 fund managers (when sober they manage Crores of money on the stock market), 2 research analysts (they basically bring mountains out of a molehill and good in playing with %ages), 2 dealers (they actually do the real work), 1 investment head (my boss) and one newly joined rookie (me). I later realized it was clearly a wrong group to be at that place. I happened to be the most Rock(ing) guy.
The valet guys took our cars away. We noticed the adjacent fine dining restaurant named “Shiro” which is reportedly one of the most “happening” late night lounge joints in Mumbai. We ignore & proceed to face a very tall (must be over 15 ft), solid, heavy looking wooden door manned by many security personnel.
The first thing, which I noticed, was its huge volume. The huge shed of the mill is truthfully converted retaining its original exposed truss supported high ceiling. The place is not recommended for people with “fear of heights”. The sitting capacity is 169 and arrangements are in split-levels. Fortunately we got a corner lounge table with sofas near the bar. The wall aside our table was adorned with a metal Led Zeppelin logo.
After we made ourselves comfortable in the really cushy sofas. The space is huge as I said and the place we got must be a premium one as we got a great view of the entire café’. The nearest memorabilia was the pink military jacket and high heel boots used by Prince, kept in a museum like glass box. There are numerous other stuff, may be more than 70 or so displayed in aesthetically designed cases, nicely illuminated, tactically placed on the wall, at different heights. Keith Richard’s guitar, Elton John’s psychedelic sunglasses, Elvis Presley’s pants, The Spice Girls’ clothes, Madonna’s bandanna. I also noticed the famous “cone bra” of Madonna. Tom Petty, Jimi Hendrix, Deep purple, The Beatles featured too. It was like a temple of Rock!
Drinks ( always comes first, for me)
A selective range of cocktails consisting of Hurricane, Sex on the beach, Tom Collins and Long Island Iced Tea. Hurricane is reportedly famous in HRC. I found branded Scotch, Vodka and a subhead head called “regular rum”, which I did not venture into. I don’t like my OM being called mundane regular rum. We ordered cocktails- bachelors ordered sex, we married preferred long island. Married guys know what hurricane means; we face it when we get home late after drink. Anyway, long island is the safest & fastest way to moon (Rum+ Gin+ Vodka).
Eats ( HRC name of Menu)
It’s all American food- starters, entrees (I don’t know how it’s different from the starters) pastas, salads, burgers, sandwiches and fries. The categories and the food items bear interesting names, mostly influenced by some Rock legends and songs. We ordered Hard Rock Nachos, Mad Anthony’s Grilled Skirt Steak (Mad Anthony is member of Van Hallen), and Original Hard Rock Onion Rings, French Fries and some vegetable platter with a name something to do with Santa Fe. I am not an authority on American food to decipher descriptions like ” Fresh corn tortilla chips piled high with Jack and Cheddar cheeses and seasoned pinto beans. Served with sour cream, chopped green onion, pico de gallo, jalapeños and a side of fresh Hard Rock Grilled Salsa. Big enough to share.” And you can “Add beef, chicken or guacamole to your nachos for an additional fee”. Note its fee, not price. I have heard about Jerry pinto, not pinto beans. I advise to download the Cafe menu from HRC website.
The menu also features dessert- to select one’s guilty passion from cream, chocolate, fudge, almonds, shakes and ice creams. Thick shakes with special flavors are another HRC legend. Put it in a souvenir 23 oz. hurricane glass or 20 oz. Pilsner and keep the glass (of course against additional fee).
Very interesting mixes there. The waiters look like security guards in dark military like fatigues. There’s a pot-bellied photographer with a Polaroid who looks like a waiter. He looks for victims of PDA, for a fee again. Waiters were slow and the general service was just average.
After 9 typical south Mumbai gentry started pouring in. Lot of miniskirts, designer handbags and stilettos emphasizing bombshell babes with weird looking boyfriends crowded the place. People even started standing & drinking by the bar. There was lot of NRI families who seemed to be remotely associated to rock music. The music began to get louder and we thought of leaving the place, when verbal communication became equivalent to kissing the other persons earlobe. I knew our time was over and good time for the couple started.
The café has a red elevated dance floor, cantilevered out. It travels up & down along a rail with people in it. The toilets are extremely well done and clean. The tiles have a colorful & dizzying pattern, which may rush the alcohol flow in to the brain. Then there’s the signature Rock shop selling T-shirts, pins and caps and other collector’s item. It’s a fad to collect various HRC mementos around the globe. The music infrastructure is of extremely high quality and the songs collection is one of the best I have heard anywhere.
I realized that we are paying for the ambience, brand name, music and the ephemera, so was not surprised to see the “Fee”. We had billed around 1500 bucks each- that was for two drinks and shared finger foods. Our fees were office sponsored, but it bothered us.
One must associate with Rock music (pretty obvious, I guess) to identify with memories of Rock legends displayed all around, to feel the ambience. It’s necessary to get intoxicated, helps ignoring the numbers on the bill. It’s an experience, which cannot be judged in terms for money. While I was leaving the place I remembered days when I shared the grass joints with friends, pasted posters from Rock street journal in our Hostel rooms, borrowed the loudest stereo available and made it a makeshift HRC. Alcohol flowed in our bloodstreams and we rocked till late night with Roger Waters, Jim Morrison, Mark Knofler, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Joe Elliot, Don Henley and other close friends. HRC was not even closer to that experience. I think the real rock fans can never afford HRC. It’s Mumbai where people have more money than sense will pay the “fee”, give a damn to the music, eat, drink, piss and get out to their regular business. So the HRC motto ” Love all serve all” is for whom?
Click here to see some old comments on this post. I won a free air ticket for this review.