In just over a couple of years, Kamala Mills in Lower Parel seems to have become the go-to place for opening hip new bars. From Farzi Café to Grandmama’s Café and newer entrants like Kaboom and TAG, the once-commercial face of the area has turned distinctly culinary. At such a crowded juncture, the arrival of a new resto-bar seems almost like the story of the city itself that’s trying to juggle more than what it can hold. The question is, can this new opening called 1 Above, survive in the fierce competition around?
Let’s start with the location. In a city starved of open spaces, 1 Above is one of the few restaurants that allows you to look up at the sky. The open-rooftop terrace in the main Trade Compound building at Kamala Mills allows you to enjoy your meal and drink while feeling the breeze in your face, something that appealed to us immensely in the current Mumbai weather with its slight nip in the air. For private events, there is an enclosed space with a separate bar, a thoughtful feature.
The open-bar and the lighting deserve special mention too. Trying to blend natural surroundings in the midst of a concrete jungle is no easy feat but 1 Above tries to make you feel at peace with your surroundings that no in-house music ever can.
1 Above is an all-veg affair, a distinct USP that works in its favour with its current menu. Owner Jigar Sanghvi told us that he was inspired to create a global menu featuring vegetarian cuisine based on his travels. The menu is divided into Mexican, Japanese and Indian dishes with a careful selection of dishes that you can chow down with ease. We especially enjoyed the Burritos (Rs 300) and Kheema Pav (Rs 425). The latter is a surefire hit with spicy veggie kheema stuffed into small bread rolls that we couldn’t have enough of. We also recommend the pizzas, sushis and the Cigar Rolls (Rs 350). The selection list is impressive and the food portions and quality is top-notch as well. We also enjoyed the Indianised version of Baklava that we had for dessert.
1 Above has an impressive drink list with some innovative mocktails and cocktails to select from. WE recommend the Whiskey Sour, a super mix of apple juice and whisky that was hard to not gulp down in one big swig. We also recommend the coffee and rum-based drinks if you’re looking for something innovative. What truly stands out though are the hookahs that have been imported from Dubai and are personalized according to the flavours selected. The server attends to your needs and changes the coal without being called repeatedly.
We’ve already mentioned the service for hookahs. During our stay, we found that 1 Above takes its service seriously. Most servers seemed knowledgeable about the menu and offerings to pair it with. They are also courteous and seem ever-ready with a smile that just adds to the overall chill vibe of the place.
The owners have made arrangements to cover up the place in monsoon, planned how to make use of the open terrace for screening movies, hosting fashion shows etc. We will wait to see how these initiatives take shape but at the moment 1 Above seems to stand slightly apart from the crowd of restaurants crowding Kamala Mills with its thoughtful menu, great service and most of all, it’s unbeatable open terrace dining area. We give it a solid 4 out of 5.
Images courtesy: 1 Above's Facebook page
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