Our visit to Oro Café turned out to be more memorable than we had expected. On a rainswept Monday evening when life had ground to a halt as most of Mumbai was under water, we decided to brave it out and visit the cafe. But truant cabdrivers ensured we moved the plan to the following evening.
Since the Lower Parel eatery had opened recently (they were at Chembur earlier), the owners hadn’t managed to find time to change the signboard of their previous occupants (Delicious Pizzas).
The decor consisted of orange-hued walls, a bread corner at the entrance, red plastic chairs, wooden tables and a small pastry section that doubled up as their counter; it left plenty to be desired. The owners assured us that the space would see a makeover, soon. Since we were the only patrons at the eatery, we noticed that while the service was a tad slow, our attendants were polite and efficient.
Oro means gold in Italian, and their menu had images of the Greek goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone who rule over the growth and death of the earth’s vegetation.
We noticed a slant towards Mediterranean cuisine once we scanned the menu. Gauging from the selection of breads, we chose the Garlic Bread (Rs 50) and a Honey Bagel with Cream Cheese (Rs 120). The Garlic Bread had excess garlic, which left it utterly bitter but the bagel was warm, slightly chewy and made for great soul food on a rainy day.
Next, we sampled the Arabic Platter (Rs 220) and Mediterranean Hummus (Rs 130). The platter included four kinds of mezze (small snacks), grilled pita bread and crisp lavash flatbread. The breads were fresh and crisp and complemented the mezzes. The basil hummus mezze with olives was our favourite. The Mediterranean Hummus listed pickled aubergine, mozzarella cheese, basil and olive oil as key ingredients but we could hardly spot any mozzarella or aubergine, and it tasted similar to the other mezzes.
While they list a couple of beverages, none were available save for the Lychee (Rs 95) and Blackcurrant Cooler (Rs 95). While the blackcurrant cooler was a tad sweet, we liked the refreshing Lychee cooler, which was a mix of lychee and lime juice.
The Barbeque Chicken Pizza (Rs 275) left us impressed. The thin crust Italian dish had generous and succulent chunks of chicken with cheese that was melt-in-the-mouth good. The extra toppings of olives and mushrooms, added to the taste of this wholesome 10-inch pizza.
For the mains, Oro Cafe offers curries from Thailand and Malaysia and rice stews. We opted for a Moroccan Tagine (Rs 220), a tomato broth with almonds, saffron, peppers, zucchini, chickpeas and accompanied with parsley butter rice. The Tagine was generous in quantity and while the spices reminded us of regular Indian broths with rice, it tasted delicious nonetheless and boasted of a healthy dose of various vegetables.
Though we were filled to bursting point, we made room for the Double Chocolate Mud Slice (Rs 95) that included two layers of dense brownie-like cake filled with molten chocolate. It was rich and tasted delectable without being cloyingly sweet.