I wasn’t planning to blog about my breakfast at Blue Tokai. Honestly.
It was meant to have just been a simple catch-up with a friend, early on a Saturday morning.
But then, I hadn’t anticipated encountering one of the best coffees I’ve had in Bombay yet, not to mention a wondrously well-executed cruffin…
Having successfully made the schlep over (this roastery-cum-café is ensconced deep within Shakti Mills in Mahalaxmi), coffee and conversations were momentarily put on hold as we first set about exploring the caffeine-fuelled contraptions in the roasting room next door to the café…
Freshly roasted here on a bi-weekly basis (on Sundays and Wednesdays, in case you fancy popping along), the beans have been sourced directly from farmers across eight different estates in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, allowing founders – American-born, Matt Chitharanjan, and his wife, Namrata, complete control over the quality and consistency of the coffee.
This is their first Bombay outpost, following a successful opening in South Delhi last year. Their implicit focus on trust and transparency is subtly reflected throughout the simple but cheerful interiors, with large glass windows breaking down the barriers between the roastery and the café space…
All the coffee is brewed on an open counter, following a meticulous – almost scientific – precision.
The house-blend is used for espresso-based drinks, offering a nutty and tad fruity, but overall light and well-balanced taste.
Special blends are adopted for pour-over coffee, while there is a separate menu allowing you to chose a specific roast depending on which flavour profile you fancy – from malt and caramel notes, to a more dark and oaky brew.
On this particular visit, we opted for the signature house-blend.
A velvety-smooth flat-white for me (easily on par with my regular order at my favourite Antipodean-style cafes in London), and a mocha for Sanjana, subtly suffused with a kick of chilli cinnamon… Her’s was a comfortingly-warming drink apt for rainy monsoon mornings and pleasant winter’s evenings!
Breakfast pastries were very much in order too, especially once we’d learned that these are the labour of love of Mag Street Kitchen – the collaborative culinary project from the folks behind one of my favourite restaurants in town, The Table.
The delightfully soft and flaky butter croissant hit the spot, but it was the custard cruffin which seriously impressed…
Hailed as the cronut of 2016, there have been stories a-plenty of the mile-long queues stretching out the door of the San Franciso-based bakery, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, which specialises in this croissant-muffin hybrid.
Meanwhile here in Bombay, this genius creation has been birthed quietly and without much fanfare…
… Making it an unexpected and utterly bewitching treat to come across, with its golden sugar-coated folds giving way to a light and airy centre, unabashedly oozing a richly creamy custard.
We lingered for as long as we could afterwards – the unhurried and convivial tone setting an idyllic pace to the rest of our day.
If only this was our neighbourhood café… although I suppose there is something quite special about its tucked-away location, which makes Blue Tokai the very epitome of a hidden gem in Bombay!
Blue Tokai, Unit 20/22 Laxmi Woolen Mill, Opposite Khazana Furniture, Shakti Mill Lane, Off Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai
Fellow caffeine junkies might also be interested in a cafe crawl around my favourite cafes in Bombay… find out more, here.