The BRIGHT red telephone booth that looks out of place inside a mill compound in Lower Parel is your gateway to the the newly-opened bar — PDT (Please Don’t Tell). Named after the New York-based “secret” bar, PDT ends up borrowing more than just the name. While at our local PDT, one is required to dial number 5 on an antique-looking phone or scan your fingerprint if you are a member, at the original in New York, a hostess answers the call at the booth to let one in.
Inspired by speakeasy-concept bars that are popular across Europe and the US, PDT has a massive 42-foot bar that stretches along the length of the restaurant. Behind the bar are shutters that are half open at all times — inspired by wine shops that stay open well past regulation hours.
PDT is full of gimmicks.
We took a comfortable spot at the bar but were quickly distracted by the two-way glass that gives a peek inside the unisex bathroom. The funky faucets in the bathroom have foot pedals that you have to press for a jet of water. The waiters walk around in uniforms with witty one liners. While quirky, these tricks can get exhausting.
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We look for some relief in the molecular cocktails and were more than pleased. The Stormtrooper (Rs 800), a heady concoction of Old Monk and coffee bitters comes under a heavy smoke of cinnamon. The Old Monk lover in us couldn’t get enough of the drink thanks to the cinnamon flavoured smoke even if it lasts only for a minute or two. We shifted loyalties to Carribean caper (Rs 800), a cocktail that infuses rum, triple sec and and freshly pressed melon juice on a bed of watermelon caviar, which was smooth and not too boozy.
The food menu at PDT is concise. We were told that the rolls are sourced from the small joint outside the bar and that a paanwala will soon set up shop in the adjoining space — all of which are part of the entrance’s disguise. From the small plates, we ordered the Street Secret (Rs 300) — mini vada paavs — and Camouflaged bird (Rs 400)which is spicy chicken tikka in vol-au-vents.
The vada paavs, though too expensive for six minies, were tasty and a good choice for finger foods. However, it was the presentation that caught our fancy, a wooden tray with three slits for chutneys made for a mouth-watering visual. The chicken tikkas came in a hollow puff pastry topped with cream cheese, that added a hint of moisture to the otherwise dry dish.
From the large plates, we got the Veiled beauty (Rs 400) — an overpriced pav bhaji with parmesan shavings — and Stealth Bomb (Rs 550), a Goan chorizo sausage masala with crusty French bread whose spicy masala ended up overpowering the smokiness from the sausages. On weekends, the owners insist on reservations, which sounds tricky considering it is a secret bar, but PDT’s USP lies in the gimmicks. As long as you don’t get tired of them, it’s worth a visit.