In 2015, we got to brand, position and create an identity for The Bombay Canteen, which is now one of the country’s most feted restaurants. When they came to us, the team wanted to “recreate” the Indian food experience and make it more relevant for the present day. The brand had to be truly Bombay in spirit and Indian at heart, without channeling India kitsch.
A few months into the Canteen’s launch however, they realised that their dishes had become the talk of the restaurant and had eclipsed a large part of the Canteen experience, the bar and their homegrown cocktails. Our challenge was to draw attention to and prompt interest in their well-curated cocktails
The Bombay Canteen
We couldn’t simply revert to the happy hours and deals format to draw attention to the bar as that would have been an easy fix. Instead, we wanted to create a conversation and experiences around the bar.
This led to the idea of the Canteen Cocktail book, not a mere menu that lists out the drinks, but a book with a strong Bombay narrative and a direct connection to the nuanced drinks on offer. And so, the first edition of Canteen Cocktails was born…
Canteen Cocktails First Edition: Art Deco
Mention Liberty Cinema at The Bombay Canteen and the staff is likely to show up at your table with a bubbly gin cocktail blushing like raspberry. The drink, a heady mix of gin, sparkling wine and raspberry juice was inspired by the Art Deco icon in Marine Lines and is a glamorous toast to the cinema hall’s glitzy past.
Liberty occupies the first page of the first edition of the Canteen Cocktails book that celebrates Mumbai’s rich Art Deco heritage. Nine other buildings made the shortlist for the book, the pages of which are iconicised as posters in a section of The Bombay Canteen. The book, which is part menu, part recipe book, part research document and part design project has also made it to the shelves of Nicobar, a lifestyle and gifting store chain.
After extensive research, which also included picking the brains of loyal guards and watchmen, some as old as the building they keep secure, we decided that the stories of these Art Deco wonders should be written in rhyme.
We took another creative risk with the menu and designed it as a pop-up book, so that the design matched the verbal creativity. Following this, the Canteen’s fantastic team of bartenders, added the third, final layer of creativity by crafting cocktails to suit the mood, the emotions and the charming stories that these buildings inspired.
Three years later, the cocktails have changed several times over, but the first edition of the book still remains a talking point for Canteen regulars and book collectors, who purchased copies of the recipe-heavy menu for their libraries and bars.
We didn’t stop there however, follow this link to know all about the second edition of Canteen Cocktails.