The tastefully-crafted menu at Café by the Beach, Girgaum Chowpatty, is a fitting end to an adventurous afternoon replete with parasailing and jet-skiing, finds Phorum Dalal
From the moment I step into the week-old Cafe by the Beach, the eatery that has replaced Salt Water Grill at H20, the beachside water sports centre at Girgaum Chowpatty, I feel as if I am in Goa.
The View of the Mumbai skyline is breathtaking while parasailing at Chowpatty. Pics/Bipin Kokate
There are wooden chairs and tables amid coconut trees on the beach. A more relaxed patio seating of couches, lounge chairs and recliners welcomes you closer to the Arabian Sea-facing stretch.
Cafe by the Beach has a chilled out vibe
Usually only those who sign up for water sports are allowed admission to this eatery. But if you aren’t in the mood to get adventurous, then a nominal fee of Rs 100 allows you to skip the activities and access the café.
Spinach Corn and Spicy Cottage Cheese Quiche
A fun-filled afternoon
But what’s the fun if you don’t try something different? So, I make my way to the arena for some water sports. I slip into a red-and-black life jacket and a guide leads me to the tandem jet-ski ride (Rs 525 for three minutes). Without a warning, he speeds into the deep waters and I let out an enthusiastic cry at the gust of wind on my face. All of a sudden, he skids the scooter, splashing water, and soaking my clothes. He lets me maneuver the clutch and I glide across the waters in full speed. We come a full circle. Next, I sign up for parasailing (Rs 2,500). A motorboat takes us into the sea. It’s too windy, the crew is cautious. The ideal wind speed for parasailing ranges from 12-27 mph.
I recall the fright of jumping off a plane in New Zealand, and without giving myself the time to chicken out, I opt to be the first one to fly into the air. The pink, blue purple and yellow-coloured parasail canopy lies crumpled on the floorboard. It flares up the moment the guide lifts it and the air fills in.
The tandem guide makes me wear the safety harness, which is fixed to the canopy. Like a kite, our feet take off from the ground and the air carries us to a height of around 24 feet. The wind directs our canopy and it feels like I’m sitting on a swing. The city and all its chaos looks far too small to fuss over, and I enjoy the view of the sky, the sea and Marine Drive. After being in air for four minutes, the guides on the boat steadily pull us back by shortening the length of the towrope. The calmness I felt in the air lingers inside me and by the time we reach the shore, I’m famished.
Smoked Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes and Mozzarella Sandwich
Chef Rahul Kulkarni’s menu is casual, minus the frills of fine dining. He informs me that they don’t cook at the restaurant, just assemble the meal and their central kitchen is at Kala Ghoda. “The menu is rustic and uses the local flavours. We have sandwiches, European quiches, wraps, salads, juices, coffees and shakes. People tend to eat more after indulging in watersports,” says Kulkarni.
The first dish I order is the Cous Cous and Orange Salad (Rs 275).The perfectly cooked semolina has a hint of sourness from the orange and pickled onions. It is served with a salad of leafy greens such as lettuce, cabbage, along with sautéed red and yellow bell peppers. It is refreshing, alkaline and a great way to start a meal.
The Chocolate Tsunami (Rs 350), rightfully named, is heavy, and even a die-hard chocolate fan may want to share it. Topped with whipped cream, the thick shake is laden with gooey chocolate sauce. Next up is Smoked Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes and Mozzarella Sandwich (Rs 375) — a hearty, no-pretense American serving in a big bun. The sun-dried tomatoes are tangy and the cheesy mozzarella gives the marinated chicken chunks a great texture.
One of the best dishes of the evening is the Spinach Corn and Spicy Cottage Cheese Quiche (Rs 225). The hard biscuit-like base is complemented perfectly by the buttery spinach cream, which is marinated with corn and tiny pieces of paneer. The Banoffie Pie (Rs 300) is a fitting end to an adventurous day. The fresh cream, banana pieces marinated in caramel sauce and cinnamon lend it a light, sweet and crunchy after taste. The food at Café by the Beach is well thought-out, and complements the Goa-like vibe and adventurous mood of the place.
We cannot rate this experience as it was an invitation.
Where: H2O, opposite Charni Road station, Marine Drive
Log on to: www.h2oadventures.in firstname.lastname@example.org