The United Sports Bar & Grill (Ghatkopar, Mumbai)

For many an uniformed cinema goer in India, the South of England, namely London, seems to be the only reference point of old Blighty’s geography. Bollywood seems to be obsessed with all things London. Whether it be films like Namastey London, Queen or Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, a glimpse of an open top bus, a black taxi cab or a panoramic shot of the Thames river is never far away.

However in sporting terms (well, mainly cricketing) it is the North of England that has the enduring legacy in India. The legend Sachin Tendulkar, for example, was the first foreigner to ever play County Cricket for Yorkshire at 19 years old, swapping his home-land for flat caps and pints of bitter. If asked about the greatest English batsmen of all time, the controversial Geoff Boycott (a Yorkshire Legend) is normally the first name that springs to mind; whilst the Cheshire-born “Beefy” Botham would be up there amongst the greatest English bowlers.

When it comes to football, invariably “Manchester United” is the Indian punters’ favourite. United Bar (formerly the Manchester United Bar) in Ghatkopar with its electric red booth seating and red down-lighting is still an unofficial tribute to the club, although the message is somewhat diluted with a host of other sporting stars now adorning the walls. I even spot a couple of American Football players – does anyone in India even watch NFL I wonder…

The food showed promise at the outset with a starter of wok fried broccoli. The broccoli florets were coated in a crispy, although slightly heavy batter and mixed with a dark, sticky chilly sauce (3.5/5).

I was excited for the creamy herb gnocchi, but it was a let down (1.5/5). I think eating sheep testicles would be preferable to the glutinous, play-doh-like pieces that were purporting to be an Italian carby classic. It’s was a shame as the herb-filled roux-sauce was not half bad. If I would have had the prescience, and not such an angry amygdala response, I would have called for some bread to mop up the sauce. As for the drinks,, the addition of cucumber in the Virgin Mojito seemed a futile gesture, but it was pleasant enough.

To use a famous Boycottism, it’s “powder-puff” stuff here as far as the food is concerned…

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