ARK at Courtyard by The Marriott

Ever so often when we go to a lounge, we eat, drink, have a conversation and then move on with our life; not really remembering what we “ate” or “drank.” It’s true that when we visit lounges, pubs and bars, most of the importance is given to the dance floor, music and drinks and that’s it. Very rarely do we come across a lounge which not only pays attention to its guests, but also a great deal of effort has been put in the Food and Drinks menu. One such lounge is ARK at Courtyard by Marriott – This place has a great underground vibe, and a bar and food menu to match it. Varun from Fort Madison India got in touch with us and this time he sent the Bombay Foodie Bus to Andheri East to check out this uber cool lounge. It’d been a while since we had been out on a Friday night for anything other than food and like any other Friday night, this one too had been unaccounted for till Varun’s mail arrived in our inbox.

The Foodie:

For a Friday night everything seemed beyond busy, including the uber cabs (before things went downhill for them!) Honestly even though I’m not much of a fancy Resto bar kind of person I was quite excited about what ARK had to offer, as during the FBAI awards JW Marriott food had completely killed it! And ever since then there is a very sweet pleasant impression I have for everything Marriott. That food!! *gazes in the distance all starry eyed* So after finding our auto we headed to Ark like we were on a mission to conquer the (read our fear of the) East. *Just kidding.* On entering the Court yard Marriott which is very close to the International Airport, you will know it’s a business hotel. And a good one at that. A little on the dimmer side when it comes to lighting but impressive nonetheless. We then were taken to ARK the entrance of which is in the lobby itself. Spenta our extremely graceful host for the evening sat with us and explained the thought process behind the place and offered great company during our tasting 🙂

 

The Lounge
The Lounge

On entering the place we found it a little quiet, as we had gone there a quite early. Very loungey vibe and old school music playing in the background, there was a nice VIP section along with regular tables and chairs for people who were not looking for something fancy. We were then led to a nice big couch where we plonked our a**es and got to know more about the place through Spenta.

We were introduced to the Chef and the Bar Manager, not as food bloggers but just by our names. They were aware that some special people were visiting, but weren’t told that we were reviewers. Moving on we were really hungry and since the menu had a lot of variety, we just went with what sounded the most appetizing of the lot. Before that we had the option of picking our drinks and the Chef and I chose the Pink Floss,( a gin based drink with peach flavored gomme and strained bitters )from the molecular section and The Blitz from the Ark Signature section. Apart from the taste of the drink it self, which was sweet and had that kick, it was a really pretty site. The bright pink candy floss that slowly disintegrated once the liquid was poured over it. Like an elegant lady dressed in pink. Although I have to be honest, I like my drink a little more fruity. But yum!

The Pink Floss
The Pink Floss
Moving onto scanning the menu. Food wise I wanted something nice and meaty and came across the Beer Brat which was a combo meal that included Bratwurst sandwich with cheese, pickled veggies and fries along with 650 ml of Draught Beer. We ordered it without the beer as our drink had already been fixed. All of this together costs rupees 725++, which is amazing because it is an absolute value for money! It also tasted great. Totally recommend it. Apart from this we ordered the mushrooms which were pure bliss. Popped them in, one after the other! Just how bar food should be. The sauce, the cheese, seasoning. Everything was spot on. The quantity and prices was something we could not get enough of. And we were told that they are done on purpose to give the customers that value for money. The ARK has a nice menu that spanned from Kati rolls, to Rajma Galouti, to Boti kabab, in the Indian section and, finger food that comprised of the classics such as Buffalo Wings, Fish and Chips, Asian Fish Cakes with tossed Calamari (really want to try that!)
Beef Pepper Fry
Beef Pepper Fry
We loved ARK for the quantity, the prices, the vareity and the hospitality. We really hope foodies of this city check it out before it gets popular and crowded. It is in the East, yes. But this is one of those places you can add to your go-to list next time,if you want to plan a night out. Go on Foodies! Next time, take the road less travelled (literally!)

The Chef:

We recently had been to the J.W. Marriott in Juhu, and the food there is to die for !!! From their banquets to Mezzo Mezzo to Bombay Baking Company, the Marriott chain of hotels has always maintained the high level of food in both quality and quantity. A warm welcome at the reception, we were told by Varun to meet Spenta Menezes who is the Marketing Communication Manager at the Courtyard. ARK is located at the ground floor /Lobby level of the hotel (In short, as soon as you enter take a right and you’ll see a HUGE wooden door.) Not one but two, huge *ss doors led the way to an open area which had a Bar, VIP area, Sofa seating, Live DJ mixing and a huge screen that was projecting the match.

 

 

The Beer Brat
The Beer Brat

 

Now here is what we ordered, thinking its a Hotel and the portioning would be a little less, we called for a too many things which included: Beef pepper fry(₹595), The Beer Brat (Which come with 650ml of Kingfisher beer) (₹725) and the Philadelphia Stuffed warm Mushrooms(₹595) for round one. We also called for two cocktails, the Pink Floss(₹600) from their molecular section and the Blitz(₹560). And round two had another plate of them Mushroom (F*ck Yea!!) Tempura Prawns with Ponzu Aioli(₹725) and a Parma Ham, Rocket and Melon Salad with shaved Parmesan(₹725). In any other Hotel lounge this much food would be enough, but not here, at ARK this was a meal fit for kings!! Trust me, finger food as the menu suggests, actually means you will need all your fingers to eat because those bad boys were HUGE PORTIONS of food (And we are not complaining!!)

 

 

Prawn Tempura with Ponzu Aioli
Prawn Tempura with Ponzu Aioli
The drinks made their way first, The Pink Floss as the name suggests had Candy Floss in a Martini glass over which a Gin based concoction with bitters was poured which melted the Candy Floss in an instant. And for me, the Blitz which is a mix of Vodka and Elderflower with a hint of Lemongrass. Both really innovative drinks, enough alcohol content and were really smooth to drink. Our first round of appetizers started with one of the nicest mushroom dishes we’ve had in a while. The Mushroom with Philadelphia cheese was silky (because of the cheese) as well as had a bite ( from the well blanched mushrooms.) And they weren’t just 5-6 pieces, but 15-16 pieces of plump mushroom with a side of fries and light salad leaves. On the base a zig zag of Reduced Balsamic which goes really well with all mushrooms dishes and it did well here too. The Beer Brat, is thick, plump and juicy sausage which was in the middle of a really thin baguette and was also stuffed with pickled vegetables and cheese. It is so huge, we had to ask them to cut it so that the two of us could eat. We always judge any sandwich, burger or dog from the meat to bread ratio, and all meat lovers are in for a f*cking treat if they call for this. While we were devouring the food, we got talking to Spenta, and she told us what was in store for ARK when it comes to gigs, food and drink. Since they are the Marriott group of Hotels, International artists are definitely going to be a part of their roster with various Indian talents as well. And while we were munching on the beef pepper fry; which were thick strips of beef with loads of garlic and bell peppers, prepared in an Oriental sauce as opposed to a South Indian.

 

Well like we’ve been telling you, this place gives great quantity and reasonable prices for their F&B items, the quality is also high class (What we expect from the Marriott) Point in case, the Tempura Prawns with Ponzu Aioli and the Parma Ham salad. There were six Jumbo Prawns in a crisp *ss Tempura batter studded with cracked black pepper with a side of salad and French Fries and a really smooth Ponzu Aioli. Fresh prawns, crisp batter all the things one would expect from a high end Hotel that is the Courtyard. Then the salad, it was more like a meal in itself a sort of “Mini-Buffet” on a plate. Thinly sliced Parma Ham, neatly cut Melons, and a heaped salad of Rocket, Sun dried Tomatoes and shaved Parmesan. Being a classic pairing, the Melon and Ham (Sweet and Savoury) were perfect with the pepper zing of the Rocket, got this entire dish together.

 

 

Parma Ham, Melon with Rocket, Parmesan and Sun dried Tomato Salad
Parma Ham, Melon with Rocket, Parmesan and Sun dried Tomato Salad

 

One thing is clear that the people behind ARK have really given their Food and Cocktail menu a lot of thought to make sure the guests go back home stuffed and totally boozed up. Being a newbie in the industry, we do not think this place will take time to catch up all we can say is that ‘Go here before the entire city discovers it.’ Kudos team ARK.

 

Food: 4.5

Decor: 4

Value for Money: -NA-

(This meal was a sponsored one although the Chef and Staff did not know we were here. Still honest reviews and opinions have been given by the reviewers.)

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