Coffee and then the world.
Here’s spilling the beans on the best cafés in Bombay for those fiendish about their caffeine fix!
Koinonia Coffee Roasters, Khar
Translating to “community” in Greek, Koinonia is the brainchild of an international trio of coffee lovers – Sidhartha Marchant (from India), Clement Sissia (from France) and Shanon D’Souza (from Australia).
Tucked away in the bylanes of Chuim Village in Khar, their diminutive café constellates around a large Probat machine roasting an artisanal variety of organic beans from Kelagur (Manjarabad) and Poabs (Nelliyampathy) to Badra (Chikmanglur) and Marvahulla (Nilgiris). The visual art of brewing aside, other draws include an affogato menu curated by Chef Sanjana of La Folie. Equally, you can find Koinonia coffee on the menu at La Folie outposts, among other buzzy-worthy spots such as Bastian!
66, Chuim Village Road, Off BR Ambedkar Road, Khar, Mumbai
Kala Ghoda Cafe, Kala Ghoda
Sustainably sourced coffee is also the name of the game at this inviting bolthole cosseted within a reconverted barn in the eponymous Kala Ghoda neighbourhood. The café’s old world charm is matched in equal measure by desi touches and millennial twists… Think chilli-cheese toasties and organic wholegrain waffles smothered in dark chocolate, with a side of hazelnut mylk cappuccinos! Explore more of Kala Ghoda, here.
Kala Ghoda Cafe, 10, Ropewalk Lane, Opp Krishna Restaurant, Kala Ghoda Fort.
Sea Lounge at Taj, Colaba
A Bombay institution, and no – not just for its longstanding reputation as an intermediary setting for many an arranged marriage in polite Marwari society. The elegant salon at the Taj boasts sweeping views across the city’s harbour, with lazy afternoons over high tea in order for the less hurried. Nothing quite beats the combination of chaat and cold coffee here, the latter an incredibly indulgent proposition with generous dollops of vanilla ice cream smoothly blitzed in.
The Taj Mahal Palace, Apollo Bunder
Suzette, various locations
We’ll always be thankful to the French trio behind Suzette for bringing a bit of Brittany to Bombay. Crisp buckwheat crêpes apart, mornings are always well taken care of here over freshly-baked, melt-in-your-mouth croissants and steaming cups of coffee. Comfort classics include the viennois – an americano topped with oodles of whipped cream!
Suzette, A1, Atlanta Building, Ground Floor, Nariman Point, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400021;
Shop No. 14, Gasper Enclave, St John Street, Opp. Golds Gym, Pali Naka, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050
Blue Tokai, Mahalaxmi
This cheerful cafe in Mahalaxmi regularly roasts its own beans, brewing the coffees with a meticulous – almost scientific – precision for a velvety-smooth result. Oh and they have cruffins on the menu too – an exquisite hybrid between a croissant and muffin, amply filled with a rich custard cream… Full review, here.
Blue Tokai, Unit 20/22 Laxmi Woolen Mill, Opposite Khazana Furniture, Shakti Mill Lane, Off Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi
Best for filter kaapi
Aromatic, perfectly golden milky coffee with an intensely-sweet richness, balanced by nutty undertones… yes, this guide would be incomplete without a mention of where you can find the best South Indian filter kaapi. Otherwise known as the Mylapore of Mumbai, the city’s Matunga district is your best best of course – the reputations of Mysore and Madras cafes both precede it. South Bombay compatriots less keen to travel afar can seek comfort in a good brew at Dakshinayan too, close to Malabar Hill.
Cafe Madras, No. 38-B, Ground Floor, Kamakshi Building, Bhaudaji Road, Kings Circle, Matunga, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400019
Cafe Mysore, Shop No. 1461-C, Durlabh Niwas, Bhandaji Road, Matunga East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400019
Dakshinayan, 183, Teen Batti Road, Walkeshwar, Malabar Hill, Mumbai
… And the local
Country of Origin, Nepean Sea Road
And of course there’s always the quintessential neighbourhood cafe to satisfy your caffeine fix when you’re most in need. I rely on my next-door neighbour – the Country of Origin, a takeaway patisserie and food boutique on Nepean Sea Road (you can find them in Bandra and Juhu too). From dishing out the best brownies in town to lemon squares and whisky eclairs, as though there weren’t enough sweet reasons to venture into COO, the cappucinos and hazelnut lattes are the best by a mile too!
Country of Origin, 69 A, , Manisha Building, Nepean Sea Road, Opp. Petit Hall, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400006
Find more more cafes off the beaten path, here.