A few hiccups aside, this all-day vegetarian café in Mumbai Central does well to offer VFM eats and kheema that carnivores may also dig
Bisi Bille Araancinni
It's easy to spot Bogeto Cafe, the latest entrant to Mumbai Central's food scene, which stands on the cusp of Gilder Lane and Lamington Road, with no other decent F&B establishment in sight. The yellow lights that envelop the cafe in a warm glow also flood the adjacent pavement through its ceiling-to-floor glass windows — as if cast by the Lumos spell on a dark street.
We step in to the well-furnished, 70-seater space with chequered fabric sofas, wicker chairs and walls potted with faux plants. The vegetarian cafe, which has a smaller outlet with a limited menu in Matunga, offers fusion varieties in appetisers, soups, sandwiches and burgers, stir-fries, pizza and mains. There's a separate Jain menu, and no alcohol.
Kheema Pao. Pics/Tanvi Phondekar
As tunes by Adele and Rihanna waft through the speakers, we bite into deep fried Bisse Bille Araancinni (Rs 249), rolling our eyes at the spelling printed on the menu. They comfort us with familiar flavours of the tangy-spicy South Indian rice dish enhanced with the sharp taste of cheddar, encased in piping hot and crisp balls coated with breadcrumbs. Relieved to find this fusion trial a success, we order Thepla Toquitos (Rs 249). Originally, Mexican Taquitos are rolled-up tortillas stuffed with taco filling and fried. Here, they are replaced with well-spiced, cumin-laced theplas that get a nod from our Gujarati dining companion. They ooze with creamy-cheese filling laced with kidney beans and bell peppers, topped with melted cheddar. We wash it down with Pretzella (Rs 290), a skull shake — the café's version of a freakshake — served in a skull-shaped glass that's difficult to handle since it's coated with chocolate and sprinkles.
Supposed to include vanilla soft serve and Nutella-dunked pretzels, the saccharine sweet concoction tastes like a regular chocolate milkshake.
Veg kheema, really?
We move on to the Paneer Chilly Burger (Rs 230). While the buns are slightly chewy, they are packed with spicy and comforting Chindian flavours in a chunky, mashed cottage cheese patty on a bed of tomato and onion slices, and mayonnaise. It makes for a satiating dish.
The mains section includes authentic-sounding dishes like Burmese Khao Suey and Mushroom Stroganoff Pilaf. Instead, we try Kheema Pao (Rs 275), a vegetarian version that replaces minced mutton with soya. We're used to mopping up kheema from a plate with pao, but here, it comes stuffed in the tawa-toasted pav glistening with butter, looking similar to Masala Pav. With trepidation, we take the first bite only to heave a sigh of relief as the richly spiced kheema with a delicious meaty texture successfully tricks our tastebuds into believing it's the real deal.
We end the meal with Rasmalai Stack-Up (Rs 300), a fusion that ends up being a thoughtless mess. The rasmalai is layered with cream that lacks the promised tang of blueberry compote. The salted caramel comes painted on the plate instead of being topped on the dessert. We dissect it, skip the frills and dig into soft, airy and perfectly sweetened rasmalai. Some things are best had in their original avatar.
TIME: 11 am to 12 am
AT: Jain Lakshmi Mansion, opposite Navjivan Society, Mumbai Central.
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