The whisky you’re drinking at Kabeela Bar & Kitchen may not be the one you ordered

If you can’t tell the difference between a good Scotch and Imperial Blue, stay away from this Parle East watering hole

kabeela bar & kitchen

kabeela interior

It was perfect – I thought I’d found the perfect bar: a small cozy place in Vile Parle East, with tasteful décor and nearly impeccable service – and I couldn’t believe what I’d walked into. Everything was neat and tidy, just the way I like it when I’m not at home, and the owner was smiling as he answered my questions. For the next few weeks Kabeela Bar & Kitchen was my second home, my secret place to which I’d escape after office hours with a book, to eat and drink and read undisturbed until the head waiter Ramesh, a stocky and pleasant fellow, wanted to know what I’d like next.

vegan dragon pom pom

The food always came according to Ramesh’s suggestions, which were of course based on my dietary preferences. The Dragon Pom Pom was a hit with me, as was the creamy Achari Mushroom. One can nurse a drink while eating but one can’t linger over food while drinking, so I’d finish the pom poms and the mushrooms in a few minutes, and register the flavours in my brain before rinsing my mouth with a large sip of my drink and getting back to the book.

vegan achari mushrooms

The last time I was there, drinking on an empty stomach because I wanted a heavy dinner towards the end of the session, I was two drinks down. Now there are three drinks I blindly order at any bar: Blender’s Pride Reserve, Signature Premier, and Antiquity Blue. It so happened that the third drink that was poured for me didn’t taste like any of them, and in fact, reminded me of poorer times. As I realized why it felt like I knew it so well, I looked up and said to Ramesh, ‘Royal Stag. You’ve given me someone else’s drink.’

thai green curry kabeela 1

Ramesh knows better than to argue with me, so after I nodded when he asked if I was sure, he sent the drink back with my waiter and followed him to the bar. This time the drink that came was Antiquity Blue, my comfort whisky. Now I wanted to sit back and forget about the silly mistake, but the manager, Suresh, a tall, hefty, mustached man, came to my table, told Ramesh to handle the family section further inside, and stood there smiling at me. It was time for dinner and I called for the Thai Green Curry, which Kabeela Bar & Kitchen makes exceptionally well, and it’s much better than their red one.

thai red curry kabeela

Ah, yes, I thought, when Suresh looked at me questioningly. I did want a final drink to go with the meal. ‘Any one of my three,’ I said to him, smiling widely.

I was in a great mood, having finished a big portion of the first nonfiction I was enjoying in a long time, and I’d knocked back six whiskies and was waiting for the food to appear.

What the waiter brought wasn’t one of my three. I looked for Suresh but he wasn’t around, and I was relieved to see Ramesh back in the outer section, and I asked him what kind of joke this was. He gave me a sorry smile and said, ‘This isn’t right either, is it?’ and took it away.

reserved table kabeela

A young waiter who had served me on a few occasions asked me, ‘Kya hua, sir?’ but I didn’t bother to answer him. He then bent forward and told me this was the sort of thing that went on when the owner wasn’t around. At Suresh’s behest, patrons would either be charged for more drinks than they’d had or be served drinks much cheaper than the brands they’d ordered.

Most people are too drunk to notice they’ve been billed for seven pegs instead of five, and sometimes they’re too proud to check the bill in front of others. And most people can’t tell an Imperial Blue from a Scotch after two large pegs. I’m no whisky connoisseur, but I’m not even most people.

family section kabeela

I refused to start eating without a Blender’s Pride Reserve; I insisted that Suresh come out of hiding and show up at my table and tell me why he thought it was a good idea to test my tasting skills; Suresh showed up to apologise and say the food and drinks were on the house.

But pay the bill I did, and as Suresh gawked on, I slipped the waiter a fifty, handed Ramesh the biggest tip he’d ever seen, and walked out of Kabeela Bar & Kitchen for the last time.

kabeela whiskyMUSIC REVIEW: Burzum‘s The Ways of Yore

11 Responses to “The whisky you’re drinking at Kabeela Bar & Kitchen may not be the one you ordered”

  1. June 5, 2015 at 08:49

    I hope the owner reads this post. You not going there ever again seems inadequate comeuppance. In fact it punishes the business without punishing Suresh. He’s gonna carry on with the scams I suppose. Unless the owner sees this.


  2. June 5, 2015 at 08:52

    I hope the owner of Kabila sees this. You not going there any more is not comeuppance enough, and in fact punishes the business rather than the errant manager. He’s gonna carry on scamming, which is why I hope the owner sees this.


    • 3 Vinya
      June 28, 2018 at 13:11

      The owner Mahesh Shetty isn’t to be trusted either. He’s not a bad person but he’s a shrewd man. There have been instances of patrons complaining about being served spurious liquor which Mahesh Shetty of Kabeela dismissed as nonsense. He refused to listen to the patrons who used to go to his restaurant-bar daily! They drink that stuff every day and know what their brand is supposed to taste and smell like!


    • 4 Vinya
      June 28, 2018 at 13:14

      And I’m talking about two weeks back! Which is how I found this website. I just saw that this bar review was written in 2015, and guess what! In 2018 Kabeela the restaurant and bar in Vile Parle East is still serving spurious liquor!


  3. 5 Smriti
    July 18, 2018 at 14:13

    My Kabeela review: very ok restaurant cum bar in Vile Parle East. Food is ok, waiters are decent, the captain in the family section was rude. we asked for more lemon slices and he said they’ll charge us for it and he started talking rudely when we said we were surprised! ..unbelievable

    Owner is an arsehole! He was smiling while telling us we should not come back if we dont like it!!

    Husband and i drank vodka….that was good but not going back to the place


  4. 6 SahejR
    July 27, 2018 at 14:44

    The Kabeela owner makes the waiters post good reviews of his restaurant-bar…….cheggit https://magicpin.in/partner/store/feed_pic/170052391


  5. 7 JRD
    August 12, 2018 at 13:35

    Wasnt expecting this from Mahesh Shetty. His other restaurant NH1 is not very good either but I dont expect any such bar to serve spurious liquor.


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