Avni Mehrotra

reformed journalist

disgruntled restaurant marketer
 
always hungry, always foolish
9 iconic South Bombay cafes for all budgets

9 iconic South Bombay cafes for all budgets

A friend of mine recently visited Bombay and all he kept asking was "Isn’t Bombay known for its quaint and quiet cafes, where you can just be by yourself, with a good book and some lovely hot chocolate for company."

Well since our last list was on beer in Bombay, we needed to cure the hangover with some coffee places in Colaba. Nay, we don’t mean the commercial Starbucks or Costa Coffees, we mean the tucked away, quaint and really quiet cafes where the ambiance is more intriguing and conversations aren’t drowned away in clutter. And of course, the food and beverages are great too. So next time anybody comes to Bombay, I am taking them here-

Kala Ghoda Café

This could be Bombay’s most beloved and rustic cafes, which provides an old-world charm against the setting of Bombay’s gothic architecture. An art gallery if you want or a networking place if you prefer, the café is thronged throughout the day, either for breakfast, coffee or their snuggly hot chocolate. The downside seating is restricted, so you may have to wait, or just grab a bite, if you aren’t lucky enough to get a table

Where-10, Ropewalk Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort

Must-haves-Hot Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Dark Chocolate Cake, Waffles, Cappuccino

Cost for two-RS 500

The Pantry

The writer/journalist me is a fan of this place, as Pantry lets you live a writer's dream in a replica of an idyllic Parisian café. All chic and European in its interiors, Pantry serves all day breakfasts, with a flourless chocolate cake, to die for. There’s free wifi and the seating is just oh-so-comfortable—straight out of a French movie!

Where- Opposite Mamagoto, Kala Ghoda, Fort

Must haves-Banana bread, Multi Grain Sandwiches, Gluten Free Chocolate Cake (click here for the recipe)

Cost for two- Rs 1200

The Nutcracker

Touted to become south Bombay’s next comfort breakfast place, the Nutcrakcer serves some of the best breakfasts with a host of egg delicacies. Two things—this place is a little steep on the prices and is completely vegetarian, apart from the egg preparations.

Where-Opposite One Forbes Building, Kala Ghoda, Fort

Cost for two- Rs 1000

Must haves- Pancakes, Breakfast in a Bottle and The Seven Layered Cookie.

Food for thought/Kitab Khana

As the name defines, you can sit here for hours in the quiet ambiance with an intriguing book for company (once you’ve purchased it). There’s an in-house café which is packed during lunch as professionals from nearby offices love to sit here for a quiet mid-day recluse.

Where- Flora Fountain, Fort, Mumbai

Must haves-Pink Pasta, Pineapple Cake

Cost for two-Rs 1000

Coffee Talk

This is one place we are proud of discovering. More like a college canteen at exactly college canteen rates, Coffee Talk is a small, al fresco place in The Fariyas Hotel with barely 5 tables, where you should go simply for the quiet, natural ambiance. Ideal for breakfasts or laid-back evening coffees, this place allows you to have unending conversations in an open-air, private, garden like setting.

Where- The Fariyas Hotel, Colaba, Mumbai

Cost for two- Rs 400

Café at the NCPA

Well this could be a place where the crowd expects us ‘kids’ to be all proper, but if you have to show Bombay’s artistic and theatrical hub to someone, with all the classy grandeur, against the breezy backdrop of Nariman Point, café at NCPA is  ideal. A posh ambiance with a lot of live stations, this is where South Bombay’s elite catch up on conversations.

Where-NCPA, Nariman Point, Mumbai

Must have- Chocolate fondue

Cost for two- Rs 1200

Gaylord

Ah! South Bombay’s room of requirement—which doubles up as a college hangout or a classy restaurant, depending on how you want it. With renovations and classier menus in tow, the bakery still holds forth the charm of yore, while the food inside is unparalleled.

Where- Opposite Churchgate station,  Mumbai

Must haves-Chicken Kathi Roll, Cinnamon roll, Jujubes, Macaroons (not macaron), Croissants

Cost for two- Rs 1000

Tea Centre

This place may be sarkari, and you will have to really hunt to locate it, but it has a tea museum attached to it, and has some of the most exotic varieties of chai—right from the good-old kulhad waali chai to a banana caramel tea. There’s proper food, and obviously, the prices are way more than the chai you are used to, but if you a person who loves your tea, Tea Centre won’t disappoint you!

Where-Next to Churchgate Station

Cost for two-Rs 700

Must have-Since tea is very subjective, experiment and choose!

Theobroma

I love this place, so I will be biased. But a red velvet cake with hot chocolate from Theobroma literally defines nirvana. The seating is limited, but the staff is just too sweet that you don’t mind waiting. Plus, it’s perfect for when you are on a budget!

Must haves- Red velvet cake, hot chocolate, brownies.

(I am sorry, I haven’t included LeopoldChurchill ,Mondy’s since they are practically proper restaurants. Also, was debating over including the beautiful Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Nariman Point, but didn’t since I wasn’t including these branded CCD-ish chains. But do check it out too!)

P.S. Thank you Afsha Khalfay for all the dish recommendations and clicking the pictures. Also, Thank you Sarvesh Talreja and Roshni Chandiramani for all the help and research!

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