This Monsoon, Head for the Rainforest (in the Heart of Andheri)

Ranjit Rodricks , 18 Jun 2011
The entrance to the Rainforest Cafe
The entrance to the Rainforest Cafe

Friday night saw the opening of the third Rainforest resto-bar at Veera Desai Road in Andheri West. While the interiors are pretty nicely done-up with an abundance of false foliage, a few waterfalls, huge rocks, creeping vines and a few strategically placed wild animals like a gigantic python, the tiger that greeted you at the entrance was a misfit simply because tigers don’t live in the rainforests.

models flaunt designer creations
models flaunt designer creations

However, there was more than enough feline presence to titillate the senses as designer Vikram Phadnis was hired to put up a fashion showing to mark the launch.

Anchal Kumar with Candice Pinto
Anchal Kumar with Candice Pinto

Some of Mumbai’s best-known top-models like Candice Pinto, Anchal Kumar, Sanea Sheikh and Megha Kawale, snaked their way through the crowd on a catwalk which had pug-marks on it, making for a super effect. We liked!

The catwalk
The catwalk
amazonian models took to the catwalk
amazonian models took to the catwalk

A number of the dresses Vikram showed were seen before at the launch of the new Audi cars last month at the Audi showroom, which was not even a few blocks away.

Model Sanea Sheikh
Model Sanea Sheikh
Model Alesia Raut
Model Alesia Raut
Model Candice Pinto
Model Candice Pinto
Bling it on, Vikram!
Bling it on, Vikram!

Of course, a number of celebrities were invited for the launch but strangely, most of them were senior people (not the types to hang-out at a Rainforest resto-bar) and many others, who have been out of the limelight for quite a while. One guest also rudely quipped, “Looks like a lot of antiques have been brought out for an airing!”

Anoop Jalota
Anoop Jalota

Singer Jagjit Singh bonded with Anoop Jalota

Asif Bhamla with Shekhar Suman
Asif Bhamla with Shekhar Suman

….actor Shekhar Suman hung-out with politico Asif Bhamla….

Funnily dressed - comedian Raju Srivastava
Funnily dressed – comedian Raju Srivastava

comedian Raju Srivastava scared us with his freaky t’shirt and hairy arms – like what was he thinking…??

Actress Salma Aga was all smiles…. sometimes, a bit too smiley….

Yesteryear actress Salma Aga
Yesteryear actress Salma Aga

….and actor Chandrachur Singh came in with his brother Abhimanyu.

Abhimanyu & Chandrachur Singh
Abhimanyu & Chandrachur Singh

The actor then sat in the first row and got an up-close and personal look at all the luscious ladies walking the ramp.

Seeing is believing for Chandrachur Singh
Seeing is believing for Chandrachur Singh

Also among the senior-set were Shilpa Shetty’s parents, both of whom sat demurely in a corner and tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. We loved her mother’s saree and natural elegance.

Sunanda Shetty
Sunanda Shetty

The younger and more hip crowd of Alexx Oneil, Shama Sikandar, Hanif Hilal, Sonal Rawat and TV baddie Akashdeep Sehgal came in only after the fashion showing got over, which was rather late into the evening.

Akashdeep Sehgal
Akashdeep Sehgal
Shama Sikandar, Shriya Saran, Sonal Rawat and Rehan Shah
Shama Sikandar, Shriya Saran, Sonal Rawat and Rehan Shah

They didn’t hang out too long either because the place was over-crowded and had only one functional bar. If it wasn’t for the helpfulness of Kartik Jobanputra (who managed the event) in getting the celebrities and select media quick refreshments, it would have been a bit too chaotic to get a drink for ones-self from the bar.

Karthik Jobanputra & Shama Sikandar
Karthik Jobanputra & Shama Sikandar

Also spotted in the crowd were Ashok Datwani (of Shatranj Napoli fame) and his wife Payal, (who is incidentally the sister of model Anchal Kumar) and ex-Miss India Shriya Saran.

Payal and Ashok Datwani
Payal and Ashok Datwani

We particularly loved Shriya’s pretty pink sandals which she bought on a recent trip to Dubai.

Shriya Saran's fab footwear
Shriya Saran's fab footwear

Our verdict: While the Rainforest resto-bar is a great place to hang-out in terms of the ambience, we feel they need to brush up on the taste-factor of the food. The nibbles doing the rounds were too oily and the chicken tikkas were too burnt.

And please guys, try to avoid calling everybody and their mother-in-law for the opening night. It’s best to have a separate look-see evening for close family and friends rather than trying to cram hundreds of people in a small space along with media and celebrities. We know that they want to “rub shoulders” with the stars, but if the space is not sufficient it’s simply suffocating and impractical.

Hannah, Ranjit Rodricks, Vikram Phadnis & Sonal Rawat
Hannah, Ranjit Rodricks, Vikram Phadnis & Sonal Rawat

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