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.
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. The said focus on ingredients – backed by classical cooking techniques – anchors the philosophy around which Nava’s menu is built. The menu reflects that ‘art-on-plate’ is realised by appreciating the produce around us while leaving it plenty of room to adapt, giving it a ‘new’ meaning and letting it evolve through the chapters of its culinary journey.
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. And the slow-cooked Pork Belly is served with compressed green apples, apple purée and green apple sorbet. From the Mains, the Celeriac steak comes with red wine reduction and lemongrass velouté. Notes of gently coaxed flavours from leek come singing through in the Lobster tail, served with chorizo spiced beurre blanc and braised beetroot. Not to forget the applewood smoked Lamb chops and carrots lifted with nuances of potato roulade and black garlic purée. The Jackfruit Pie is a delectable combination of 5-hour cooked pulled jackfruit in a red wine reduction. 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.
A dish titled Nostalgia on Crack – Housemade Citrus Magic Pops on the seasonal Chef’s tasting menu takes you down memory lane as your palate reminisces the sound of crackling candy shared on that kindergarten bus one took to school. Other prominent highlights from the tasting menu include Anchovies In a Swamp (Japanese barbeque anchovies served with spiced coriander sauce andcream petha), Lepa (lepa & leek terrine, Gondhoraj lemon caviar, walnut purée) and Amarphal (poached amarphal, passionfruit mousse pickled star fruit, kokum ice cream). Meanwhile, the vegetarian counterpart consists of Bone Marrow (made with banana stem with braised sprouted tadgola and herbed butter), Kaitha (braised wood apple aspic, pickled tomatoes, radish, chive velouté) and Garcinia Mangostana (compressed mangosteen, custard apple mousse), amongst others. Furthermore, Nava also offers a special menu for Sunday Brunch.
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. Additionally, these ingredients dig deep into the childhood memories of the Nava team, who grew up eating and cherishing them. To top it all, most dishes across the menus are conceptualised to be zero-waste. For instance, the leftovers of purple cabbage used to make the pickled vegetable scales on the Seabass go into the Chicken dish as purple cabbage purée, while the skin of the seabass is used as crispy fish skin in the Crab Cake.
Anushka Pathak, Founder of Nava, quotes, “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. Why do we have to travel ten kilometres to town to eat elevated food? Instead, we endeavoured to bring that experience to the heart of Mumbai, aka Bandra.” She further added, “One thing that stood out during my travels was that credit is given to chefs where it’s due, no matter their designation. And I wanted that to be a fundamental pillar of Nava. Nava is not only a culmination of my travels, memories and experiences, but also a ‘new’ beginning — an exciting opportunity to express ourselves, our passion, and our craft through food.”
Opening its doors now to the city of Mumbai, Nava envisions offering its guests an intimate, yet a memorable culinary experience unlike any other.