Celebrating the very essence of an ambrosian meal, Nava is an ode to ingredients intrinsic to a memorable dining experience.
The newly-launched restaurant draws inspiration from founder Anushka Pathak’s travels and Chef Akash Deshpande’s stints across the globe to serve ingredient-driven cuisine right in the heart of Mumbai, in Bandra.
Nava’s origin story dates back to the summer of 2018 when Anushka met Chef Akash at a restaurant he was heading in Mumbai. A brief conversation over a phenomenal meal and their mutual love for Chicken Liver Pâté led to a close friendship and the birth of what Nava is today.
“With Nava, I envisioned building a space that becomes an institution in the long run. I wanted to create something more than just good food; I wanted to create an experience. At the same time, the idea was to make ingredient-driven cuisine accessible,” shared Pathak.
Translating to ‘new, recently created, invented, innovative,’ Nava pays homage to its meaning by taking a refreshing culinary approach towards ingredients that are primarily sourced from diverse Indian regions but also appear as integral elements in the Modern European cuisine landscape.
Each dish on Nava’s à la carte menu is a revelation. A bite into the Kokum Prawns unravels the subtle flavours of kokum and coconut sauce, complementing the Tiger prawns served with pickled prawns and housemade prawn crackers. The Lamb Tacos are 8-hour cooked lamb and pickled cucumber concealed in housemade soft shell tacos to name a few.
Nava’s Dessert menu paints a heavenly picture with its unique (and edible) Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ - painted on canvas with jasmine custard and passionfruit jelly alongside other offerings such as Tadgola.
Both the à la carte and tasting menus explore one ingredient as the main hero of the dish while other elements build around it to complement each other and, most importantly, taste delicious.
“I firmly believe that creativity wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for one’s audacity to defy rules and test the limits of ambiguity. And Nava’s kitchen epitomises this fundamental philosophy. Besides, I believe ingredients, especially locally-sourced ingredients, are an intrinsic aspect of a restaurant. Because that’s what delicious food is all about - its ingredients. At Nava, I seek to redefine ingredient-driven cuisine through a contemporary lens while preserving the glory of fundamental culinary techniques,” added Akash Deshpande, Chef de Cuisine at Nava.
Indeed, in all its ways, Nava stays true to being ingredient-driven. The food is the hero, and the theatre on the plate is perfectly accompanied by a clean, monochrome palette that is easy on the eye with a contemporary vibe. Brought to life by Tejal Mathur Design, Nava’s interiors mirror its name by diffusing an essence of simplified newness and freshness. While the doors and walls are infused with European classical elements, lending the furniture a light and edgy look reminiscent of a typical Parisian apartment, the irregular form and shape of the bar give the impression of being cut out of a deep wall. And then, there is the open kitchen where all the magic happens, giving the view of incredible plating of desserts in swirls and spots of Van Gogh and Klimt. Lastly, a hint of interpreted Banksy on the walls gives a surreal spin to the space.