Mumbai is not new to The Boston Butt. This charming Southern American-style eatery was part of the Kala Ghoda neighbourhood in Mumbai until July last year, where it enjoyed the patronage of meat-loving Mumbaikars. On June 1, it re-opened, this time in Bandra, the hotspot for affordable luxury restaurants that fill the nooks and corners of Pali Hill. India’s 1st smokery, charcuterie and bar, The Boston Butt is all about roasting and smoking meats, a welcome change from the trend of raw food, and vegan and organic cafes currently sweeping the country. Here’s our review of The Boston Butt, Bandra.
First, the location: There is nothing unassuming about where this charcuterie is located. Right next to the very popular Irish House, in the heart of Pali Hill, you can’t miss its huge grill and big block-lettered nameplate. Upon entering, you are greeted by a decor that’s rife with exposed pipes, wooden floors, custom-made leather chairs, tinier but well-fitted tables, metallic fixtures, and modern copper lighting. When we visited, ‘The Doors’ were playing, setting the mood. Raw and bold, we got a strong NYC vibe (the vintage photographs helped). The bar in itself is chic, almost modern, but both aesthetics sit beautifully and will work for urban millennials.
The food is all about bold flavours and Southern charm, the spices and the sauces, coupled with pork shoulders and glazed ribs alongside that Applewood-smoked feel that overpowers your senses right away. Special influences from the states of South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky are showcased through the menu and the smoky flavour is all around.
We started off with a few cocktails, whipped up by bartender Vicky who has created the restaurant’s signatures: There’s the Curry Scented Bitch (yes, from the Zayn Malik racial slur episode), which contains gluten-free vodka, house marasca cherry brandy, dates, and cranberry infusion, and Tropic Like Its Hot (our favourite) made with Stranger & Sons gin, orange, passion fruit, watermelon tonic, and kaffir. Other tempting tipples include La Di Da (pineapple liqueur and tequila); Bacon Beachcomber (infused with house-smoked bacon rum and yuzu); and the star drink, Freudian Slip (Jim Beam whisky, banana gomme, toasted hazelnut and chocolate bitters). All sodas, tonics, gommes, and syrups are made in-house to reduce synthetic content and retain the organic flavours.
The bar menu also features slim cocktails for those looking to stay lean while going keto on all that meat. Cocktails that are under 99 calories and use natural, sugar-free tinctures like Stevia are Lean Whisky Sour, Lean Shirley Tremble, and more. The top mocktail is Masala Daddy – Cranberry juice, coriander, cumin and chaat masala.
In starters, we tried the House Larder Board, charcuterie that comes with chive cream cheese, carnival peanuts, marinated pinto beans, baked yam crisps, and house ferments, alongside peppery spreadable chicken pate, with cheeses like gouda, mature cheddar, cambray etc.
The USP of the diner is simple: To serve meat that has slow-roasted for over 10 hours on applewood that gives a rustic smokiness and texture to most of the dishes. The menu is eclectic but firmly asserting the meat section in every way – from rich ingredients (hi, truffle oil) to intricate flavours. So, in keeping with American barbecue traditions, there is the 7-hour slow-cooked pork ribs, the 5-hour jerk spiced chicken, and the crispy bacon cured for 12 days, are all smoked beautifully – the mild woodiness and flavours are perfect. We, however, loved the slow-cooked pulled pork with house breads that was flavoured intensely – bold but not heavy.
The bar plates are easy on the palate – the Bloom Bread, a pull-apart cheese concoction goes down easily, thanks to the softness of the home-made bread. The Vegan Chorizo Tapas and the Mac-a-Pav, served with mac and cheese alongside Pav, are enjoyable. There is also steak – well-flavoured, not chewy, made just right for the Indian tastebuds. The Jambalaya with shrimp, chorizo, and brown rice is a heart-warming dish, while the New Orleans Style Barbeque Shrimp with Cajun sauce is sublime. The menu also features a few healthy ideas called ‘Smokies’, perfect to pair with lean cocktails. The dessert menu is small but effective – we loved the warm skillet, chocolate chip cookie, topped with creamy house-made ice creams like caramel, pecan and chocolate.
Everything at The Boston Butt is home-made, slow-cooked and immersive. The service is impeccable, and the ingredients and courses, good. The portions are hearty but not heavy, and the in-house ribs and marinades, homely. All the reasons why a classic diner like The Boston Butt will fit seamlessly into the narrative of the hipster-friendly Bandra.
Where: The Boston Butt, Shop 5&6, A Wing, Gasper Enclave, Pali Naka, Pali Hill, Bandra West, Mumbai. Ph: 022 26513838 / 022 26553838
Opening hours: 6:00 pm – 1:30 am, Open only for dinner as of now. Mondays closed
Price: Rs 3,000 per person, inclusive of alcohol and taxes
Noise level: Medium
Service: Attentive, knowledgeable
All images: The Boston Butt