How OTRA Mumbai Is Giving Latin American Cuisine A Quintessentially Homegrown Homecoming

How OTRA Mumbai Is Giving Latin American Cuisine A Quintessentially Homegrown Homecoming

Beyond the realm of the typical tacos and tamales, there exists a whole world of Latin American food that uses widely available Indian ingredients like corn or maize and appeals to the Indian taste buds. Particularly, Peurto Rican cuisine is one that includes everything from plantain-based Mofongo to a whole list of other dishes made from Masa - a pure corn dough that is typical to the cuisine that might just be right up the alley of Indian gourmands. While Mexican food has gained popularity in India, Puerto Rican food is not something that has been featured prominently in restaurants in the nation - until now. 

Otra Mumbai is a newly launched restaurant in Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda locale that is already garnering attention. The contemporary Latin American restaurant was founded by chef Alex Sanchez, along with his partner Malleyka Watsa who is a culinary and hospitality expert herself, with the consult of chef Alex Leonard. While Sanchez and Watsa’s Americano Restaurant was started with the intent to "create a restaurant that we would like to eat", it has become world-renowned and ranked among global bests for its handmade pasta, pizzas, share plates and inspired cocktails. But Otra is the chef’s homecoming. 

The Latin American restaurant is a dedication to the acclaimed chef’s personal identity and his Puerto Rican origin. The earlier mentioned Masa - a corn dough that is a key ingredient in most of the dishes on Otra’s menu are made in-house at Otra, is processed using a technique called nixtamalization, and the corn itself is sourced from Punjab with close attention paid to the variant of corn. When the founding team behind the brand took to social media to announce the launch of the restaurant, they mentioned how Otra Bombay’s existence is a gift they owe to the people who supported them through the worst of the pandemic lows and celebrated in full spirit for the post-pandemic highs. 

How OTRA Mumbai Is Giving Latin American Cuisine A Quintessentially Homegrown Homecoming
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The 70-seater restaurant features a dedicated bar, a lounge area, a dining space and even a space for private events. Painted in a deep hunter green, the restaurant with its black granite table tops, reclaimed wood from Malleyka Watsa’s family farm, two custom marble chandeliers and a semi-circular bar is an elegant setting for the fares the team has crafted that range from craft cocktails and small plates to filling main course and innovative desserts.

While the dishes on Otra’s menu are authentic, they have also been crafted keeping local taste in mind. In recent times of American shows and movies with better representation like Will Trent or One Day At A Time, Latin American dishes like Tamales, Mofongos, Tostones, Tostadas and Coquitos have become better known. At Otra, you’re presented with truly authentic Latin American dishes, especially Puerto Rican dishes. Their Botanas or snacks, includes a variant of Chochoyotes - a masa-based dough dish in yellow tomato sofrito with aji amarillo, radish and cilantro, Tostadas - with crispy corn tortillas topped with everything from grilled carrots to carne cruda, salsa Morita, and crispy garlic and even hamachi tartare, Tostones - double fried plantains with a dusting of house-made seasoning and served with Aji Amarillo dip and of course Tacos with inspired fillings that range from chipotle cauliflower to mushroom with pinto beans to Al Pastor with caramelised pineapple for the non-vegetarians. The mains include a Crispy Rice Chaufa served with a host of sides from varying aioli to salsas, as well as non-vegetarian options like a traditional Steamed Grouper dish, Carne Asada and an authentic Duck Mole. 

Just like the founding duo’s acclaimed Americano, the cocktails at Otra are intentionally curated and whimsically crafted. Created by the Bar Chef Darren Crawford, the bar menu here strays away from vodka and whiskey and instead puts the focus on liquors like pisco, rum, mezcal and tequila that are best to wash down the Latin American dishes and will always go with chips, salsa and guacamole. Not to mention, if you are there to enjoy the drinks, they have small plates that elevate each crafted cocktail while staying true to the restaurant's Puerto Rican identity.

To finish off the meal, they have a selection of Postre (or dessert) to offer, ranging from contemporary Rosette Waffles with cinnamon sugar to the traditional rice pudding of Arroz Con Leche. But the crowd favourite in the short time since Otra opened is their Pina Colada Softy Sundae which is a refreshing, tropical treat for an Indian summer

In his attempt to return to his roots and create a space that reflects his identity through cuisine, Chef Alex Sanchez and Malleyka Watsa have created Otra. The restaurant captures the authentic spirit and flavours of Puerto Rico while bridging cultures, incorporating local produce, and catering to the gourmands of Mumbai and beyond.

Follow them here.