Bandstand located on the lobby level at Royal Ascot Hotel in Bur Dubai is a sports bar inspired by the Bandstand in Mumbai.
I had taken a break from physically visiting restaurants and bars due to the current coronavirus situation and this was my first visit to a bar post lockdown, and my second visit here. The hotel offers free parking which used to be valet parking pre-covid but now we must park ourselves, and that was fine with me. There is a small reception right at the entrance to the bar where they check your temperature before guiding you in.
Step in and your greeted by a massive pool table in the middle of the room with tables and chairs neatly spread out keeping social distancing and the 2m rules in mind. The bar counter is at the right end where all the magic happens, but the drinks are served at your table. The walls portray life in Mumbai and there is also a small stage where they have live singers during certain days of the week. The staff were attentive, friendly, and helpful and always wearing gloves and masks.
Bandstand have created their own variety of cocktails and the barman, Kiran, was courteous enough to come to our table to explain the ingredients in the cocktails and to suggest some for us. Going by his suggestions, I started off with Aam Panna, a vibrant mix of raw mango syrup and Tequila. The rim of the tall glass is coated in chaat masala and the drink must be stirred well and then sipped directly from the glass to enjoy the flavours. My partner chose Spicy Cucumber Margherita, a spicy yet refreshing blend.
We also tried Paradise and Bombay Sour. While both were good, my favourite of the night was the colourful Paradise. A beautiful mix of various fruit juices and light rum that took me to paradise.
The food menu is concise but has a good balance of veg. and non-veg. dishes. We started off with Koliwada Prawns and Chilly Fish. Koliwada Prawns is a typical Mumbai preparation served with mint chutney on the side. Crunchy on the outside and flavourful on the inside, this is a must-try. The Chilly Fish was tender and juicy and so good that I highly recommend this.
We also tried Chimichuri Chicken and Lamb & Egg Burji with Pav. These were alright but not as outstanding as the seafood dishes. Chicmichuri chicken could do with a little more flavourful marination.
Overall glad to have visited Bandstand again and looking forward to my next visit 🙂