Bombay’s burgeoning café culture has always been one of its most vibrant charms, running the gamut from old-world Irani establishments to modern-day indie coffee houses.
The usual suspects are manifold, but there are only so many Sundays in a month deemed acceptable for the umpteenth revisit to KGC or The Nutcracker. Thank goodness then for hidden gems off the beaten path, carving out a cosy corner to escape to in the midst of a busy day…
Food for Thought at Kitab Khana
Housed in a vintage bookstore near Flora Fountain, Kitab Khana, this quaintly-simple café is perfect for when you’re looking to get stuck in a new book whilst tucking into a Bombay-style toastie. A steaming cuppa apple tea or melted hot chocolate are always an inviting proposition too, mellowed by a lively hum of chatter as Food for Thought is a favourite bolthole for young lawyers working in the area…
Food for Thought, Somaiya Bhavan, 45 / 47 Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Flora Fountain, Fort
My endless pursuit of #hygge continues in Bombay… (Pronounced hue-gah), the Danish way of living is a cosy one, all about cherishing oneself and others and celebrating life's simple pleasures. Hygge is really as simple as this piping hot cup of apple tea on a wintry evening with a bit of comfort-food (a scrumptiously chattpatta sandwich!) and plenty of food for thought too, chatting with inspirational friends… It's a worthwhile pursuit of happiness 🙏🏻 #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
… The welcoming homeliness characteristic of FfT makes an endearing first impression at Plenty as well, recently opened in Horniman Circle by the same folks behind Kitab Khana. It’s a gentle establishment majoring in all manners of comfort fare, from avocado-toast (layered with pickled beets) to a spiced banana cake and double chocolate tart… More on new & noteworthy restaurants, here.
You know you're a #Millennial when: (1) you can't go a day without #AvocadoToast; and (2) it's the camera which always gets the first bite 📸🥑🍞🍽 Found my new fix @PlentyMumbai, the cozily charming new cafe in Fort, dishing up all manners of comfort food. #AvoLove #CantStopWontStop #FoodTalkIndia #TopMumbaiRestaurants #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Plenty, 3-B Raja Bahadur Mansion, 24-A Mumbai Samachar Marg, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
The Quarter at The Royal Opera House
Residing within the awe-inspiringly grand Opera House, The Quarter is a four-in-one venue spanning an al fresco restaurant (inspired by the Creole cuisine of New Orleans); a jazz bar and music club; a wine and mozzarella bar (the first of it’s kind in the city); and an all-day café where colonial charm meets Parisian chic décor. On a balmy afternoon, this airily-bright, glass-walled setting is as apt for ladies who lunch, as it is for solo visitors looking for quiet solace.
I’ll level with you – the food is not as transporting an experience as the space itself. Divided into salads, pastas and flat-breads – the menu manifests in a mixed bag of a few well-constructed hits and other underpowered misses (ultimately let down by wearisome combination of textures).
And yet you’ll find yourself lingering, reluctant to tear yourself away from this time-warp of a bistro. It’s a good thing then, that the Tres Leche (a densely-layered milk cake) is reason alone to stay on for a bit longer.
Take a look inside the Royal Opera House, here.
The Quarter, Royal Opera House, Pandit Paluskar Marg.
Ensconced within the quiet solace of Shakti Mills in Mahalaxmi, Blue Tokai’s original roastery-cum-café is something of a haven for all ye caffeine snobs. Beans are regularly roasted on premises and the coffee brewed with a meticulous – almost scientific – precision. Throw in a cruffin (a croissant-muffin hybrid), and you have all the makings of a morning (or afternoon) gratifyingly well spent! Full review, here.
Through the looking glass… #Saturday scenes with @TheLittleBrownEyes at @BlueTokaiCoffee 👀 The velvety-smooth coffees here are the best I've had in Bombay yet, while the custard cruffins (croissant-muffin hybrid!) were the tastiest thing I've had in a while too! Sharing more on this hidden gem on the blog soon… #WeekendVibes #MumbaiFoodie #FoodTalkIndia #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Blue Tokai, Unit 20/22 Laxmi Woolen Mill, Opposite Khazana Furniture, Shakti Mill Lane, Off Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi
Bringing A Difference to Bombay’s café culture, BAD in Bandra is another must-visit for those fiendish about their coffee. The thought-provoking space is likely the only spot in the city where you can sink a ristretto, Spanish-style bonbon, homemade Turkish blend or a frothily-warm cold coffee… Work your way through the creative concoctions at ease, as with its yoga studio and rooftop library, you’ll find plenty to keep drawing you back here! Read more here.
Monochrome minimalism @TheBadCafe. Dedicated to the body, mind and soul, this new multi-purpose venue houses a tapas eatery, yoga and meditation studios, a rooftop library and community centre and a herb garden. Did I mention that they serve the best coffee in all of Bombay too? Discover more on the blog – link's in the bio. #ExploreMore #TheBadCafe #EatGoodFeelGood #YogicBuzz #EatPrayLove #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
BAD, 22G, Kapadia House, New Kantwadi Road, Off Perry Cross Road, Pali Hill, Bandra West
Taj Mahal Tea House
If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always Taj Mahal Tea House which uses offbeat ingredients – from spicy curry leaf to coconut, to show off the tea brand’s signature blends. It’s set in a colonial style bungalow replete with sunny alcoves, a resting sitar, chess tables and lounge chairs – affording plenty of opportunity to linger and pleasurably lose track of time!
"A cup of tea is a cup of peace." Gloriously lazy afternoon at this cosy and very homey cafe in Bandra, over endless cups of chai from the leafy "karipatta delight" to the vanilla-infused Malabari coconut tea. The caffeine high continues, with a guide to my favourite tea joints in the city coming soon… #TeaTime #SoMumbai #TheFoodieDiariesNeverSleeps #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Taj Mahal Tea House, 36/A, Sanatan Pereira Bungalow St John Baptist Rd, General A.K.Vaidya Marg Bandra West
Bird Song Café
Also tucked away in the bylanes of Bandra is Bird Song – an organic eatery which proves that eating healthy when eating out can be a rather happy-go-lucky-affair. Free from refined sugars, dairy and flour, the vegan chocolate and strawberry cake is worth a visit for alone…
Finally tried out #BirdsongCafe today. The organic eatery tucked away in the by-lanes of Bandra strictly avoids using any white flour and refined sugars – perfect then for foodies looking to eat healthy when eating out. Lunch was a wholesome quinoa salad well-flavoured with hung curd, and a "millet-rice construct" layered with spinach and grilled vegetables. Followed by a frothy cappucino and gluten-free vegan chocolate and strawberry cake, made with jaggery and whole grain flour. Guilt-free indulgence and an afternoon well spent ☕️🍰 #TheFoodieDiariesBombay #EatGoodFeelGood #FoodTalkIndia #MumbaiFoodie
Birdsong the Organic Café, shop no 1-5, Jenu-Jenai, Waroda Road, off Hill Road, Bandra
The Champagne Lounge at Oberoi
They say that the best-kept secrets are the ones hidden in plain-sight, and that’s certainly true of the coffeeshop at The Oberoi.
Leading off from the hotel’s atrium lobby, the airy lounge is awash with natural light flooding in through the floor-to-ceiling windows during the days, whilst gently illuminated by the twinkling glow of the Queens Necklace by nightfall, a lilting tone set by the hotel’s iconic red piano. It’s the soufflé which is always the final crescendo though, with flavours ranging from chocolate-chip to caramelised hazelnut… this is really as good as things get in Bombay!
Hotel Oberoi Tower, Nariman Point
For a bi-monthly digest of the latest word in food, travel & lifestyle – do sign up to my newsletter, here.