(Clockwise from left) The cafe’s bestsellers cappucino, cortado and cafe mocha
The road up Pali Hill shimmers in the afternoon haze as we make our way through the Bandra traffic. Our destination is the neighbourhood's latest destination for a cuppa joe. Records.Coffee by Veranda is a new cafe that serves up a blend of brews and vintage vinyl records. The cafe's entrance opens through the Bloom Boutique Hotel, which makes it a tad difficult to spot since there are few markers on the outside. Once you enter, it opens up to a well-lit space, flanked by two large windows that allow sunlight to flood in.
A patron puts on a record of her choice. Pics/Aishwarya Deodhar
The ambience is peaceful and the space feels like a refuge for people seeking an escape from the crowded, conversation-heavy bistros. The cafe officially opened in the second week of April, and is yet to catch the attention of Bandra's hip set. While it is not a sparse crowd, it is certainly diverse. A few GenZers share the space with busy corporates at work on their books or laptops. We put our gadgets to the side as we settle down to a drift of Miles Davis' Sketches from Spain that wafts in through the record player right behind us. Managed along with The Revolver Club, the space includes vinyl records that patrons can choose from, and play on demand. The selection is changed every week to keep it fresh, the staff informs us.
It's ideal for professionals and music aficionados
To pass our time, we decide to browse through the collection. From David Bowie's Hunky Dory, Madonna and Boy George to Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Taylor Swift, it is a colourful one. While it might sound like the ramblings of an aging hipster, the sight of GenZers browsing through the records on their own was reassuring. Soon, Miles Davis gave way to Taylor Swift's energy.
Music on the record player is certainly a different aesthetic to digital sound. There is a smoothness and clarity to its resonance. Yet, the sound does not overpower the atmosphere, allowing conversations and work to carry on uninterrupted. The vinyl aesthetic also dominates the decor. While the walls are coloured in staid white to ensure a bright ambience, the colourful and creative record covers add some spice. The brilliant and iconic cover for The Jimi Hendrix Experience album from 1969 is our favourite.
A cover of David Bowie's Hunky Dory from the record collection
The menu focuses on coffee and coffee pairings. There are a diverse range of brews, sampled from different beans. The brews are conceptualised by Beverage Union. We learn later that each cup is brewed using 14 grams of coffee to reduce the acidic content. There is also a wide variety of dishes to compliment each brew. The four cheese grilled sandwich (Rs 375) comes recommended.
We opted for a simple iced spice latte (Rs 270) and an avocado on sourdough toast (Rs 470). The latte was cold and comforting - the low acidic conetent certainly allows the flavour to stand out, we think. The avocado toast goes down with a gentleness that complements our afternoon. We follow it up with a fresh butter croissant (Rs 150) to fill up on a dessert.
The cafe also has a piano for patrons to try
Speaking with us later, Veranda co-owner Monish Rohra explains that the cafe is an attempt to introduce the records-and-coffee culture to the city, "They are popular across London, the rest of Europe and Japan." While the current focus is on coffee, Rohra reveals that there are plans to include a limited selection of alcoholic brews in the coming days. He signs off by saying, "We hope to make a space where people can drop in to enjoy a cup of coffee, work, and relax in the company of good music."
Records.Coffee By Veranda
At: Hotel Bloom Boutique, Plot 331, Dr Ambedkar Road, Pali Hill, Bandra West.
Time: 9 am to 9 pm (Monday to Saturday)
'''' Exceptional, ''' Excellent, '' very Good, ' Good, Average. Records.Coffee didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals