Villa 69 (Juhu, Mumbai)

The cheese on the “wood-fired” pizza smelt as odiferous as the morning breath of a dying toothless dragon. I was left sniffing the slice in my hands like a rat in the veritable compost of suburban Mumbai. What was that smell? The thin cracker style pizza was an insult to be cooked in the woodfired oven. Simply put, what was the point?

The base was some pre rolled, textureless fabrication. The sort you might find in those cheap “do it yourself” pizza kits. Is this the sort of food anyone could enjoy eating?

The pasta dish was some overcooked spaghetti in an anonymous sauce. It was supposed to be Aglio Olio. However the sauce was some strange thin soup with little flavour. A number of vegetables were strewn haphazardly throughout the pasta. Moreover where was the cheese? Could the restaurant not even afford a few shavings of parmesan?

The place is a bit like the sort of farm in which cheap hens are intensively reared for the global food chain. The ceilings are high and in many ways it ressembles a barn, with the angular metal beams separating the sheets of translucent roofing. Is this really where you could imagine taking someone for a special occasion?

Since Villa 69 is primarily known as a night venue, in the cold light of day, the furnishings look more beaten up than a rookie boxer. Nothing feels new or clean whether it be the stained sofas in the outside area or the drinks menus with the detritus of many nights worth of alcohol-fuelled revellers. Who on earth thought it was a good idea to open this place for the dinner time crowd?

And why Villa “69”? The explicit sexual reference underlines the vulgarity of the place. And before that excites the little peckers amongst my readers, the crowd is deplorable. There looks to be a small low-end corporate party in the inside area. I’m informed by the service they have booked the entire venue and that we must sit outside on the water sodden tables and chairs. How does a table of around 15 constitute “booking the entire venue”?

Will Villa 69 go down as a memorable experience? Is it a restaurant that is worth writing about? Will many others disagree?

Yes, for sure….but for all the wrong reasons.

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