This isn’t just a brand new restaurant. Is it a vibe? A Greek island vibe? A sexily glamorous high gloss production? Entertainment destination? It’s all this and more. It’s the new Greek OPA Kipos which has landed in Worli (via Dubai and St Tropez). It throbs to music and to the sound of breaking plates. The 180-seater has been packed to the gills ever since it opened four months ago. Boman Irani, Neetu Kapoor, Neerja Birla and more have all been here. It’s surrounded by hype and hoopla. The question is, is there hope behind the hype?
I braved the throngs and dined here twice. The first time with the forever young media superstar and author, who is legendary for her X-ray vision. She’s known for her sophisticated, well-travelled palate and pen, which is mightier than the most powerful nuclear bomb. Shobhaa De needs no introduction. Suffice it to say that it is a memorable dinner. A precious one. We meet after two long years (thanks to my open heart surgery and the pandemic). Loud music and the cacophony of breaking plates hinders our conversation. But we carry on regardless. whispering in each other’s ears in between relishing the food and wine. I went back for an elaborate meal with foodie buddies and we ate our way through the menu (For both dinners, I paid a bill of Rs.27,322). Our review follows.
Push through the huge, bright blue doors and go into a lush and dimly lit, plant-filled space and wham! The space opens and lightens up into a triple height ceilinged, 8,000 sq ft two-storied room. Whitewashed walls and cascading deep pink (recycled paper) bougainvillea. For one meal, we sit in the balconied space with low seating to get a view of the short bursts of the Greek dance performances (by Petra and Bespina) and, of course, everyone lined up to break plates.
OPA Kipos serves up Greek favourites ranging from the subtle-to-blunt spectrum. Ask for the theatrical finishing of the Opa Hummus (with crispy lamb) at your table and adjust Romero chillies, grapeseed oil, feta cheese, pinenuts to your taste. The starters are small in portion but tasty. Try the Flaming Cheese offset by the sweetness of the fig jam. Go for the Greek Spinach Pie. Enjoy the lemon yuzu notes of the Fig Salad. It’s the oozing with succulence, Josper Grilled Pork, the large moist flavour-packed Klestiko Lamb shoulder that come up tops. As does the Greek version of pizza peinirli, heady with truffle. Open flamed Chicken Gyros, artichoke and spinach orzoo delight. The bright, young culinary director Rohan Dsouza and Chef Ajay Samtani follow the recipes laid out by the flagship Opa in Dubai. They tease big effects and full flavours, using salty, cheesy, tangy, lemony flavours.
The gifted patisseur Radhika Kulkarni’s popular, flamboyant and huge Opa Baklava Sundae overflows from a crispy phyllo cup filled with pistachio cream. Greek yogurt ice cream, Bougatsa apple pie Armenoville (semifredo) restrainedly sweet are delicious.
King-sized! Everything about this brand new Greek arrival is large hearted and over the top generous. Be it the sprawling 180-seater, triple height ceilinged bedecked in deep pink recycled-paper flowers (they still manage to look gorgeous against the whitewashed walls) or the generous portions of the main courses. Tiny starter portions, high price points, OPA is certainly not meant for a cosy, quiet night out. Go if you’re looking for an immersive experience, lights get dimmer as the music gets louder, short bursts of dance performances follow, you can join in too. You line up to break plates (these are recycled weekly, but remember you pay for more than the first complimentary plate). It’s fun dining at its rocking best!
Kudos young restaurateur Hitesh Keswani for injecting new hope and fresh excitement into Mumbai’s dining landscape, which has been reeling in the pandemic!