There’s a sudden surge of terrace restaurants opening in the Lower Parel Area. From 1Above to Asilo and Grapevine, all of them offer an uninterrupted view of Mumbai’s concrete jungle. However, it’s not often to come across a restaurant that, at barely a month old and with over 40 tables, still has people waiting for a seat at 11 pm on a Thursday night.
That distinction belongs to Sheesha Sky Lounge. Located in Raghuvanshi Mills, a few steps away from Palladium, the restaurant is an instant hit among hookah lovers despite serving no alcohol. Sheesha Sky Lounge is known for their sheeshas (of course), massive array of Mughlai food and long list of kebabs.
The ambiance at Sheesha Sky Lounge is casual, friendly and unpretentious. The buzz and laughter that greets you as you enter makes you feel like you’ve entered the restaurant as a big, family party is underway. The restaurant provides the options of dining indoors in a non-a/c section and outdoors in the open, both of which are smoking areas.
Outside, there are four long rows of tables starting with high backed chairs and sofas towards the wooden walls, metal chairs and tables with lovely tan brown cushioning in the centre and turquoise blue half-moon chairs towards the end. The brightly coloured floor tiles interspersed with black ones, coupled with vibrant seating gives the restaurant an unconventional look. Right down the middle is a huge cage-like structure made of chains that hold a row of tables inside!
To the right of the entrance, you’ll find a glass partition behind which is the indoor arena – smaller and slightly cramped as compared to the outside space. The highlight is the massive sheesha bar that stretches from end to end in black and white, complete with bar stools!
The service is simple, pretty quick and smart. It was good to see wait staff being proactive and offering mocktail and food recommendations. Don’t miss the sinister looking man in a long black robe and red fez hat. He goes round the restaurant, giving every table a hookah and refilling coal in them. The guy really plays the part!
Sheesha Sky Lounge serves some of the richest and most elaborate Mughalai delicacies like Biryani, Kebabs, Chicken Tikka, Korma, Rogan Josh and lots more. Other than these, you’ll find soups, seafood, Mughlai flavors like Koftas, Makhanis, and mouth-watering preparations of mutton. Interestingly, they also have a section of Nawabi cuisine such as Rann Sikhandari and Ghost Irani Pulao as well as Arabic dishes such as Mutton Khepsa rice. It doesn’t end there – you’ll also find a lot of Indo-chinese food, pastas and sizzlers!
Melony – Being a teetotaller, I love exploring the world of mocktails. I randomly picked this off the menu and was more than pleased with it! A great, refreshing summer drink, it comprised of a soothing blend of fresh watermelon and mint muddled with passion fruit and topped with pineapple juice. Bright red, vibrant and punchy, it’s basically sunshine in a glass.
Sundowner – The Sundowner was good, just not as good as Melony! This concoction was a twist on a classic lemonade and had fresh pineapple juice and cubes, lemon juice, gomme syrup and of course, lemonade. Sweet, tangy and tropical, I could knock these back all day!
P.S. If you like experimenting, check these mocktails out!
Murgh Jalandhari – I don’t know about you guys, but extreme ‘Indian’ menus confuse me. I don’t understand the difference between Murgh Pankhudi Kebab, Murgh Seenah Kathi Kebab, Murgh Gilafi Seekh and Murgh Zaitooni Tikka – especially since the names gives nothing away! I ordered Murgh Jalandhari Kebab on the waiter’s recommendation. The description mysteriously stated “chicken marinated in Jalandhari style.”
Soft chicken kebabs were brought to the table, still piping hot and sizzling from the tandoor. It was marinated in the chef’s signature spices and the flavours were enhanced with the addition of cream. I liked that it wasn’t dry, like tandoori kebabs can sometimes be, but I’d suggest opting for something else if you’re looking for kebabs.
Stuffed Malai Kumbh – Mushrooms are one of my favourite things! So is cheese! I quite liked this rich starter comprising of button mushrooms deep fried with cottage cheese and Amul cheese, marinated with flour and pepper. They were juicy, flavourful and had a fragrant aroma. I’d have liked it more if the cheese was slightly more molten and less firm.
Nalli Lahori –Lahore draws food lovers from across the country to sample its mind-boggling variety of decadent food. When I saw Nalli Lahori on the menu, I was intrigued Firstly, because, well, Lahore!! And secondly, while all other dishes had long descriptions beneath them, this one’s description simply read, ‘Sheesha’s speciality.’
This dish blew my mind! It looked perfect – the right brown colour, soupy gravy, a thin layer of oil on top for good measure and four huge shanks of tender mutton on the bone. I thoroughly dipped my tandoori roti into it and at the first bite, that mix of dozens of spices hit me instantly – just how I like it! Not to mention, the bones had generous amounts of sinewy meat and were full of marrow which was a pure delight to eat! I could go on and on about this wonderfully balanced dish, but let’s just say it was flawless in all its Nawabi glory! We were also served the necessary condiments of sliced lemon, onions and the works. Highly recommended!
Malai Firni – I didn’t let the waiter finish reciting the desserts, which led me to missing out on the coconut rabdi, awadhi kheer and shahi tukda. Instead, I went with the first one he said – Malai Firni *sigh.* It came in a clay ‘matka’ and looked pretty, however it had a paste-like texture as compared to the other firnis I’ve eaten. Taste wise, it was not overly sweet but wasn’t as creamy as I’d like. The firni was topped with a generous amount of nuts and I could smell the wonderful aroma of rosewater coming through. I wouldn’t order it again, to be honest.
WHAT I LIKED:
The enthusiastic staff – When I asked the waiter for his opinion on what starters to order, he was fully convinced that a certain dish was “the best.” He even had a (very good) opinion on what naan/roti would go well with the Nalli Lahori and voiced his opinions instead of merely taking the order
Ambiance – While I’ve dined in rooftop restaurants before, none of them had the feeling of sheer expanse like this one did! I also loved the variety of seating choices available!
Nalli Lahori – It was the bomb!! That is all 🙂
WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED:
Too much of going by the rule book – As we were nearing a table meant to seat 4, the wait staff promptly said – “this is a table for 4. The tables for 2 are over there.” The restaurant was at less than 40% occupancy at that time, so I didn’t see what the big deal was about. Also, as many of you know, when I review a restaurant, I leave behind a sticker somewhere that says “That Goan Girl was here. Read the review!” Till date, not one restaurant has objected to me putting one tiny sticker on the wall – in fact, they often ask me to bring one along! Not only did Sheesha Sky Lounge refuse, but when I stuck it outside the elevator, a few meters away from restaurant’s exit, they took it off the next day! How rude!
The music – It ranged from blaring loud to mid-volume, English to Hindi and even Punjabi, fast paced to slow. It was quite a mess, actually.
If you have never smoked a sheesha before, then Sheesha Sky Lounge is the perfect place to initiate you into it. It is chilled out and laid back – eons away from the shady parlours of your worst nightmares!
Meal for 2- Rs. 1500 + alcohol
Getting there – P2 Building, 4th Floor, Roof Top,Terrace Raghuvanshi Estate, S.B Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai.
That’s all from me this time! Keep in touch!