Tucked away behind a shop that sells paans of all kinds and other confectionaries, is 10, a speakeasy that keeps popping back on our radar every now and then—if not for the “it’s so expensive” cocktails, then for its “I love the vibe, don’t you?” whispers.
Dressed up in a posh prohibition-inspired style, with art on the wall that will want to dabble with the fashion in the 30s and a bar that extends from one end of the place to another, stocked with some of the most delightful wines and spirits—it’s easy to get lulled into the temptation of the space. The vibe is truly welcoming and classy, not to mention the tungsten lighting that makes everything look dreamy and cinematic. And while it aims to evoke a sense of nostalgia, unless you’ve lived in the 40s and hopped around speakeasies, look at dining here as a luxurious experience.
The look and feel
Bengaluru-based architect and designer Anshul Chodha needs to be given extra credit for designing the space. From the little lamps on the table and making a simple couch look perfect to the tall-back seats at the more formal-ish section and the bar tables and tall chair in the middle section—he’s taken different elements and brought them together beautifully. It’s the art you’ll be spending a lot of time admiring, unless you prefer to count the stunning display at the bar while you wait for your drinks and food. And while the bar does not care for your attire, you might enjoy dressing up for this place, and making a night out of it.
On the menu
The food menu, designed by Bengaluru chef and consultant Mako Ravindran (of Harima fame) dabbles with pan-Asian food a lot. You’ll find Japanese food aplenty—mostly nigiri and rolls, and not to mention the Bangalore roll all of which are passable. There’s also Peruvian Japanese food on the menu. Try the mango and palm heart ceviche—it’s sweet and tart, thanks to the combination of tiny cubes of mango and the passionfruit sauce, and the gentle bite from the chillies completes this small plate quite well. The chicken liver pate is a good start, especially if you’re going to be drinking wine or a gin cocktail.
There’s quite a bit of Mediterranean food on the menu. The menu has gambas pil pil (this has to be one of Bengaluru’s favourite bar-eats),French fries drizzled with truffle oil and parmesan cheese (ever eaten at Jamie Oliver’s?), and shish tawouk where the chicken is marinated in spices and grilled on a plancha.
Fond of wings? Try the stuffed chicken wings served with Cambodian boudin sausage. It’s grilled and goes really well with most drinks.
The food menu is quite bar-centric, but that does not mean it has no main course. The list is short but if you really need something comforting at the end of a drinking session, the poke bowl—tuna or salmon—is a decent choice.
Now let’s talk about alcohol. The menu is designed by Delhi’s Yangdup Lama of Sidecar-fame and his skill at the bar is unparalleled. And therefore, the prices here are what’s discussed first. Their signature cocktails are priced at Rs 850 and Rs 950. In fact, even the classics are priced at Rs 850. And the specials, which is what you ought to save up for, are Rs 1,500 worth of deliciousness. You really must love your cocktails to order one of these. There’s art and science in your glass, and it helps if you understand that. For instance, the vanilla daiquiri is smooth, has the brilliant mouthfeel from the vermouth, the vanilla rum (which is rum infused with vanilla and not flavoured) is delicate, and if you are a cinnamon addict such as yours truly, ask them to give you some. The cinnamon is smoked and then added to your drink and will hit all the right spots. So, you take your time with the cocktail. Swirl it around in your mouth a little, savour it.
Or take the smokey island old fashioned—the whiskey is infused with walnuts, lending a nutty aftertaste that teases your palate but won’t interfere with your drink. And the hazelnut and orange bitters that go into it add a subtle sweetness to it, not to mention the citrusy flavour of the bitters.
There’s a dessert menu—it has churros, cheesecake, chocolate, and chilli pot de crème. But you’re at a speakeasy; ditch the dessert, get another drink. On a side note, they recently introduced a cocktail on the menu that costs Rs 10,000. We have not dared yet.
Where: Wood Street, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru
How much: Rs 2,500 upwards (for two, without alcohol); Rs 6,000 upwards (for two, with alcohol)