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Mumbai’s New Resto-Bar Ness is Inviting, Low-Pressure, with Notable Culinary Elements

This cute and cozy—yet stylish and relaxed—new bar is a great stop for a weeknight drink or (for once!) an easily won Friday or Saturday evening reservation. There may not be anything exceptionally extraordinary, but the experience is solid.

LF Says: ★★★.5

Ness opened quietly a few months ago. That’s the bar’s first perk: it’s poised just under the radar enough that you can tell your friends, “You might not have heard of this place, but . . .”

Ness Trident Mumbai

Positioned at the venerable Trident Hotel’s lobby edge, offering a majestic view of the Arabian Sea, Ness is not just a bar but a mirror of Mumbai’s vibrant cosmopolitanism and warm hospitality.

With its name derived from the Gaelic word for a promontory jutting into the sea, Ness embodies both a physical and metaphorical extension of the land.  The design ethos of fluidity is evident in its open, airy space that blend indoor and outdoor elements. The inviting ambiance is highlighted by lush greenery and an expansive sea-facing deck, while mustard, wooden and green furnishings add a touch of stylish coziness.

Ness Trident Mumbai

Chef Arnab Ghosh, a culinary maestro with an illustrious career spanning over a decade, has spent nine years at the prestigious Oberoi Hotels. Currently, he showcases his culinary expertise at restaurant The Verandah at The Trident itself, and now Ness.

Food talk

A short menu that I have a hard time choosing from is a rare thing. There are always a few obvious standouts, and at Ness, the Pinch and Swirl (bacon wrapped prawns served with burnt tomato salsa), fully vegan steamed buns, and the Chilli sambal Turnip cake were the winners.

Berry Spritz Ness Trident Mumbai

The cocktail list is short and full of swagger. It includes specialties like the Cirakam Milano featuring cumin infused gin, and their famous Dawn Sbagliato (Campari, Chenin Blanc, sweet vermouth topped with Prosecco).

The lovely thing about Ness is that chatting with staffers is like conversing with a friend, so it ends up seeming as if my actual pal made a suggestion.

Getting into the details, the food menu is a mix of ambitious swings and well-planned hits. It is diverse, everything from root and shoot-inspired dishes to Asian-infused delicacies, there’s something for every palate. A dish that truly stayed with me was the warm tabbouleh, adorned with millet and goat cheese “pebbles,” inspired by memories of the chef’s childhood garden.

Marine's Sour Ness Trident Mumbai

The cocktails are inventive. I tried the Cirakam Milano—an interesting blend of bitter and sweet flavors infused with Indian spices. The Panko-crusted avocado bhajji, paired with a tangy blue cheese dip, showcased the bar’s dedication to flavor exploration. Their ingenious commitment to pairing is evident. You can pair any item with another effortlessly, including cocktails. Bar bites like the innovative millet-coated cashew and Castelvetrano olives add to the cocktail experience.

Their Saffron Sunset Sipper is an inventive rum cocktail with saffron infused syrup and pineapple juice. It was bursting with vibrant flavors and a captivating aroma.

Black Cod Ness Trident Mumbai

A delightful concoction of Oyster Mushrooms with Fermented Hoisin Sauce, featuring a variety of five mushrooms, is another hit. The chewiness of the mushrooms paired with the crispness of the slaw is a guilt-free indulgence. I enjoyed the Sandana Chiwda Tossed in Avocado, known locally as Mukkhanpal or butterfruit. This Mumbai-inspired dish embraces the crunchy goodness of Sandana Chiwda coated in creamy avocado, a delightful fusion of textures and flavors that’s both comforting and exotic.

The Black Cod with Edamame is also a must-try. Succulent black cod, delicately cooked to perfection, is paired with the freshness of edamame. Ness’ signature Pinch and Swirl bacon-wrapped prawns served with a tantalizing burnt tomato salsa is also a must-try along with their Sticky Pork Belly. It is slow-cooked for nine hours resulting in tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

Lastly, we spiced up the evening with their famous Malabari Calamari with Pandi Chilli. Tender calamari, tossed in aromatic pandi chili, offered a fiery yet balanced flavor that showcases the boldness of South Indian cuisine.

Lamb Merguez bao Ness Trident Mumbai

In conclusion

Ness has proudly embraced a zero-waste philosophy, ensuring that every ingredient is utilized in the food preparation or drinks – even using items that would otherwise be relegated to waste in their preparations.

There are plenty of bars with complex, elaborate menus and plenty of restaurants with avant-garde seats at the bar, but increasingly few that pull double duty as casually and elegantly as Ness. It definitely has a place high among 2024’s spate of “pretty good,” “okay” and flatly “fine” new openings.

The vibe: Charming, comfortable and romantic in that carefree, relaxed kind of way.

The food: Self-billed as “contemporary Indian with a flair for sustainability.”

The drinks: Excellent cocktails and an expansive list of wines

LF Says: ★★★.5

Coordinates: CR 2 Nariman Point, Marine Dr, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India