It’s a trend that has left Mumbai’s foodies in high spirits and with sated palates. For a while now, watering holes, multi-cuisine restaurants and cutesy cafes have been mushrooming along the city’s southern tip, with something for every kind of foodie, gourmand or tippler.
So, we were curious to gauge how Town House Cafe (THC), the newest bar and grill, stacked up against the rest. For one, there was a hint of deja vu — the place in its earlier avatars; Crepe Station, and Malt & Pepper, especially, left an impression. “We wanted to introduce a chill out zone for Mumbai’s office goers since this area is the business district,” reasons Anuja Jatkar, one half of the brains behind THC, as we head towards the upper level. Having studied finance in the US, she would know the drill.
The high ceiling grabs our attention at once. Aided by wooden beams, and a muted, earthy-green palette, the intimate ambiance is welcoming. A giant canvas of a downtown street side view by Pradeep More covers an entire wall and lends depth. We notice ornate frames of vintage advertisements, “These were sourced from Chor Bazaar,” Jatkar informs. High bar stools and snug, leather-backed seating complete the American-café-meets-Irish-inn vibe. Once we settle in, the bartenders behind a roomy bar get to work. Beside them, in a tiny console a DJ belts out songs from his playlist of current chart toppers.
By now Avi Mittal, the other half of THC joins us. Our conversation over Guava Mary, Orange and Basil Martini, Red Wine Sangria and Tropical Mojito (all Rs 375) charts their journey of revising design plans twice over and zeroing in on a balanced, concise European menu helmed by a reliable, experienced chef (Puranjoy Das). The zesty Guava Mary and Orange and Basil Martini are on song, especially in humid October; ideal company for a relaxed afternoon lunch.
“We wanted the price range to appeal to our clientele,” reveals Mittal. We notice that the highest priced dish on the menu doesn’t cross the Rs 700-mark. “Our USP is a Spanish, French and Italian inspired menu, a range of handmade pastas, and a 50-50 balance for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike,” Jatkar adds, leading us into the menu. The soup, Chicken and Leek Chowder (Rs 295) is comfort food with the herbed gnocchi playing its part nicely. The Crispy Rocket with Artichoke and Olive Salad (Rs 245) gets our vote for a light, healthy, working brunch option.
Vegetarians will plumb for the Crusted Mushroom with Romesco Dip (Rs 225) as well as any of their pastas -- all priced at Rs 345. Apart from the delicately textured Pappardelle in Paprika Sauce that we tucked into, THC offers Pappardelle, Maccheroni and Linguine, in traditional sauces such as Pesto, Alfredo, Arrabbiata, Carbonara and Primavera.
The seafood lover that one is, we do a mental jig as we spot promising space for it on the menu; the Grilled Prawns (Rs 345) are flavourful and succulent. However, the portions of Grilled Chicken (Rs 375, served with jalapeno mash and pinot noir sauce) are a tad tough to negotiate with our forks -- our only grouse for the evening. As if to rescue things in style, the Pan Seared Basa with Beans Ragout and Chilli Mango Reduction (Rs 425) end things on a high note. Perfecto!