I often shudder when I hear words like 'contemporary' or 'gastronomy' where food is concerned because I end up envisioning my meal comprising of a few smudges, squiggles and maybe even smoke that takes up very little surface area of my plate and could leave place for a second dinner. Under the guise of serving modernity, restaurants often end up complicating food with pretentious presentation and miniscule quantities. And if you, like me, are a diner who wants a modern appeal with a wholesome bit, that can be a letdown. When I heard about Nava, I was initially apprehensive but once I entered the vibrant space in the heart of Mumbai's busy Bandra district in the surburbs, all my doubts were put to rest. With a name that translates to 'new' or 'innovative', Nava takes ingredients that are primarily sourced from diverse Indian regions and lends them with a fresh European appeal.
Walk into the indoor-slash-outdoor eatery and immediately the crisp, chic feel begins to seep in. While soft lit overhanging lamps, circular cushioned chairs and large portraits covered the seating area on the inside, the outside was in tones of black and white accented with potted plants. Our corner table was surrounded by a large window and a bookcase that looked like a cosy spot in a library.
On Sunday, Nava's very exciting brunch menu had me spoiled for choice. From Japanese cheesecakes to brioche with almonds and ricotta to Eggs benedict, the cuisine is diverse. What appealed to me greatly is that the Sunday Brunch menu runs from 11am to 4pm so if you're a brunch lover who is a late riser, you can roll out of bed at noon and still make it in time for brunch. And during the brunch hours, their regular drink and food menus still stand so you won't miss out on any favourites during that time.
While we ordered, a platter of house-made bread with a smear of cream cheese satiated the hunger pangs while we scoured the menu. The brunch lover in me couldn't resist Eggs Benedict, which revealed its perfect runny egg over ham when sliced open. The cocktails, with pineapple and jalapeno respectively, were delightfully refreshing accompaniments; of which, the latter came with a spicy kick.
The founder Anushka Pathak recommended that we try the Kokum Prawns and boy, did it deliver! The tiger prawns were cooked tender to perfection and swam in a kokum and coconut sauce that didn't go overboard with sourness and was flavoured just right.
For mains, the Salmon was moist and came with a crisp skin, although I would have preferred it come without. The anchovy butter sauce and green tomato vierge were a fresh pop in the mouth with the protein.
The best was saved for last when we ordered Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, which pays homage to the famous painting. Like its namesake, the dessert arrived on a tiny canvas, which is painted on with jasmine custard and passionfruit jelly. With stunningly fresh flavours that ended late lunch on a delectable note, it was a masterpiece of a creation to end a spectacular meal.
Nava's modern spin is evident in each dish but never at the cost of taste, quantity or wholesomeness. Their brunch menu is made for lazy Sundays with options that will leave you thrilled. The Kokum Prawns were a highlight with how delicately they were cooked and flavoured. The dessert of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night was picture perfect with a light and crisp melange of flavours. Barely a month since opening and Nava is already bustling and vibrant enough to become one of Bandra's hot new dining spots and we can see why.