I visited the restaurant Social, located behind the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Colaba, a few months back with some girlfriends and enjoyed a relaxed lunch after some sightseeing. I recently noticed signage at the entrance to the Palladium Mall advertising the opening of a new Social restaurant and decided to give it another try, this time with David. We both had a very pleasant surprise.
The ethos behind the restaurant Social seems to suggest that this is far more than just a place to eat.
“What if you could trade in your cubicle for a super cool café? How much more fun would it be to show up if your boardroom had a bar attached? Source: Social Website
This is the third Mumbai location for Social, with a fourth now in the works for the Khar area. The Social in the Palladium takes over the space previously occupied by the Manchester United restaurant, next to Foodhalls on the third level. We found the restaurant somewhat confusing to enter when we first approached. We found its location easily enough, and could look through the windows at all the customers, but could see no sign of a door? The large ‘wall’ is actually a door that you push to enter – I wonder if we were the only ones to find this confusing? (and we had not had a drink yet)
We visited on a Sunday brunch time and the restaurant was hopping. A great atmosphere greeted us as we opened the door and we wondered if we would be able to find a seat. Initially we were offered two seats on one of the long tables in the center of the room, but thankfully we spotted a free high table in the corner. Not an ideal location as it was right by the kitchen and beer room (more of that little gem to come) so quite busy, but a great people-watching place so I was happy! We sat down and took in our surroundings. We dodged a bullet with the long table though as it turned out that most of the people already sitting there were from one group who were celebrating a birthday and that involved lots of signing and picture taking.
After sitting at the table for a few minutes without a sevrer stopping by, we noticed that the menus were already on the tables; rolled up in a bucket (reminded us of Joes Crab Shack in the US). The menu is quite wide-ranging so we took our time to read through. However, after about 15 minutes of still no sign of help we called over a waiter who took our drinks order at least.
There are so many people working at this venue. We watched the numerous barmen constantly making drinks for servers to deliver to customers. There were waiters that took orders (on ipad/tablets no less), separate waiters that seem to deliver the food, and bus boys cleanings tables constantly, all with slightly different uniforms. Busy, but somewhat chaotic and disorganized we thought. Maybe they don’t assign set servers to cover tables, as we constantly had to grab someone’s attention.
If we had not been seated at the table we selected I’m not sure we would have noticed what looked like an in-house brewery, as it is tucked away behind the bar. Maybe the constant stream of people going to look might have nudged our curiosity. Looking at the Social website, there is no mention of it either – is this a secret? I found an online review that talked about the Craft Beer Tasting Room where you can read more.
David ordered a pitcher of the Halcyon beer for us to try. Our timing wasn’t ideal as just after we placed our order they had to change the keg, which meant a 10-minute delay and our food arrived before we had a chance to enjoy a sip. The ‘pitcher’ and ‘glasses’ made us giggle though, and the beer clearly hit the spot as we enjoyed a second pitcher over our lunch.
After finally deciding what we wanted from the menu, we discovered a separate menu with a larger burger selection, and quickly changed our minds. I was still in breakfast mode and spotted a breakfast burger, scrambled egg with truffle oil and chicken sausage in a brioche bun with French fries for Rps 340. Not the easiest to eat, as the egg kind of falls all over the place. Our waiter brought us a set of sauces for our burgers and of course we had to try the death sauce – not as hot as we anticipated. The sauce gave my egg a little flavor but once I added salt and pepper the taste improved dramatically. Portion sizes aren’t huge here, but I think great value for money, especially considering this new location next to all the high end shops.
David selected the Cheeseburger and fries, also for Rps 340 and thoroughly enjoyed the juicy meat that was served piping hot. As with many restaurants in Mumbai, our food arrived at separate times so we have learned to share our selections now rather that wait for both plates to arrive. Not sure why the kitchens cannot seem to get their ordering system to work?
The food presentation is quite different and eye catching. We noticed various stacked sandwiches pass our table that looked fun. Various drinks and our dessert are served in a glass ‘bathtub’ Clearly a lot of thought has been put into the foods appearance,I think that’s a nice touch. We asked our waiter about the significance of the bathrub, expecting some elaborate story, but sadly it seems there is none. I think they should make one up, don’t you?
Feeling extremely relaxed (two pitchers of craft beer will help with that) we decided to order dessert, a rarity for us. I think our waiter was a little shocked with our selection, but we assured him we would be sharing a little of each, and were not planning on eating the entire dish. We could not resist the sound of The Chocolate Blood Bath – chocolate cake, brownies, truffle, fudge, ice cream, mousse and sauce all for Rps 170. Yummy is all I can say, and we did managed to devour the entire bathtub full between the two of us.
David heard the waiter say they did an ice cream sundae and got all excited but sadly it turned out to be an Indian version, full of sweet things that he took one bite of and decided it was not for him. Luckily the pricing here is extremely good and lucky for David I was happy to share my chocolate feast with him.
Social offers a great variety of different foods, and an extensive drinks menu, at a very reasonable price. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed and customers are not hurried in anyway to vacate their seats, far from it. This would be a fun venue for a group outing with friends or a place to catch your breath after a days shopping at the mall.
Address: Level 3, Palladium Mall, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400013
Phone: 022651 14459
Hours: 10am-1am (according to Zomato as not on Social website)
Website: http://www.socialoffline.in (although surprisingly lacking in information)