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Great place to lounge about



Aura is the latest to-be-seen spot in town. -- Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

IT CALLS itself a lounge bar, but Aura really aims to be all things to all people. There's formal inside seating for the "proper" lunches and dinners, there's a club section with bar and namesake dance floor, and there's outdoor seating (where if you're too comfortable to get up and go to the barbecue, the barbecue is brought to your table for a truly personalised dining experience).

The music isn't even vaguely Buddha Bar, there are no beanbags and sheeshas strewn around, but Aura is comfy and relaxed and just the place "to lounge around," asserts Ram, their manager. Which qualifies this new venture from Prakash Shetty of Banjara Hotels as a "lounge bar". (And a to-be-seen spot, where the queen of raunch, Shobhaa De, shares the guest list with assorted royalty.)

Food is serious business

Its sign advertises itself as a C-Food lounge bar, hinting that it has "sea" food (which is apparently hauled in everyday all the way from Karwar) but actually symbolising its dexterous menu: "contemporary, continental, and coastal". (There's also North Indian, which got left out probably because it doesn't have a C in it.) Unlike most lounge bars which pamper you with sangria and exotic eats that churn up your appetite and then provide only enough sustenance to line the bottommost layer of your stomach, Aura takes food seriously. You don't have to head to the skewers of Shivajinagar after this lounge bar.

Aura is proud enough of its baida rotis to affix the legendary Bade Miya label onto them. Its starter rolls retain the tasty authenticity of Bade Miya street food, while sparing you the nasty smells, inquisitive dogs, and pressing crowds of the Colaba original. Of the main course, the chef's favourites are the rawas in lime coriander sauce, char-grilled chicken with olive mustard mash in red wine and the "A" sauce which flavours the Jewish mutton delicacy, the Patlican kabab.

Melting moments

Aura doesn't do too badly on the Indian either. Its balti subzi is not-too-spicy, not-too-heavy and very tasty, the dal maharani is the perfect consistency for a black dal; so although its choice of dishes is a bit limited, its makes up in quality what it lacks in variety.

And the ice creams! Which self-respecting lounge bar would lavish attention on its desserts you might wonder, but stewards at Aura have no qualms about proudly offering you the homemade ice creams which are, as it turns out, excellent. (I recommend the fig flavour.) I suspect Aura's food is better than its drinks, which is unusual for a lounge bar, but works just fine if you're looking at a night out where you can do dinner and drinks at the same place with the bonuses of good music, refreshing dιcor, and (most importantly) valet parking.

Aura can be contacted on 51231772.

* * *

Wallet Factor: A full course meal may set you back Rs. 1500

Service: Good

Ambience: Take your pick!

Speciality: Baida rotis

HEMANGINI GUPTA

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