A paw-sitive idea
A two-year-old Alsatian who accompanied us gives a bow wow to Versova's new pet cafe that opens next week
As a school kid, this reviewer remembers hopping on a bicycle and riding around Juhu Scheme with her best friend. We had one common agenda: to pet all the stray pups and dogs in every bylane.
Over the years, as the concept of pet parlours, cafés and dog parks blossomed in the city, it was a step up, to get to play with pooches, lhasa apsos, dalmatians and even mongrels in their dandy bibs and scarfs. With the growing community of pet parents in the city, it isn't a surprise when we hear a pet-friendly café called Fetch! has opened a stone's throw from Pedigree Pet Park on Amarant Road.
This one makes room for guests who want their distance from the pets by separating 40 per cent of the café and the kitchen with a glass façade for hygiene. Patrons can watch proceedings from across the divider.
Zohan and Brandy playing a game of fetch
The candy blue façade brightens the interiors for us and the dogs too, as they see a colour spectrum of yellow, blue and grey. The outpost is by Dhaval Udeshi, restaurateur and partner at city watering holes like Butterfly High and London Taxi, and dog-obsessed entrepreneur Isha Kashyap, a media and marketing professional.
There is a hook under every table if parents wish to leash their dogs, and a cabinet outside the washroom is stocked with tumblers and wipes for owners to clean-up after their pets. The eatery's staff have been trained by dog behaviourists too, we are told. A mural on the wall done up by the staff is a colourful doodle, which Kashyap confesses is an imitation of the pastel coloured-palate on her éclairs.
Set to open on Monday, the menu has been designed by Moina Oberoi of MO's super food and will be executed by head chef Garrison Rodrigues, whose last stint was at Smoke House Deli. A corner is dedicated to pet-friendly initiatives like Doggiedabbas by Rashee Kachroo, Poochmate by Preeti Sood, Tailwaggers Pet Salon by Gauri & Urmila, Captain Zack by Leena Mukhi and Everpure for Pet Collagen which is used in the menu.
While we give ourselves full marks for trying out food from the hooman menu, our visit would be incomplete without the "dog-food taster". We request dentist and belly dance instructor Preeti Kochar Rao and her nine-year-old son Zohan to bring their two-year-old Brandy, an Alsatian, to the café. Brandy sniffs the treat but ignores it for the purple bounce ball that's thrown her way. "Fetch is the first game humans indulge in with a dog to facilitate bonding," Kochar tells us. Brandy is a well-
behaved dog, and when Kochar asks her to climb on the seat to take a picture at the photo booth, she readily complies. These pictures can be mailed to parents on the spot.
From the pop menu, Brandy is served puppycino (Rs 120) made of egg white fluff and chicken, which she sniffs for a few minutes. All eyes are on her, and she looks up amused. We decide to let her be, and soon, we hear her lapping it up. An out-and-out mommy's pet, she tried the hot dog (Rs 195) which comes on a bed of white rice with chicken sausage bits, peanut butter and grated beets.
Zohan busies Brandy with a round of fetch. "Dogs remember by memory. She seems at home in the new luncheon space. So next time, she will be excited to be here," smiles Kochar. With the dog happy, it's our turn to indulge. Surprisingly, the first thing that comes to our table is a warm besan sheera ghee porridge (Rs 145). I remember my mother force feeding me her prasad last week. I barely dip a spoon in, and it's a winner. A comforting porridge topped with almond and pistachio flakes, the kesar
aftertaste gets a double thumbs up. Another hit is the open face Bombay vintage sourdough sandwich (Rs 185) which is served with kheera, tamatar, aloo, beet, kanda, and is presented like a fan. The sprinkle of sandwich masala and the slather of green chutney gives it a Bambaiya taste. The ragda pattice too comes on crispy sourdough (Rs 225). Topped with imli, green chutney and kanda, Oberoi gets our vote for whipping up healthy street food. Both the dishes come with a side of air-fried banana
chips, three styles of cheese (Rs 300) — almond and truffle, cranberry and a zaatar with ragi chips.
In the mains, the red Thai coconut curry (Rs 385) comes with tofu and veggies. The side of quinoa pilaf replaces rice. The Lebanese inspired chicken pink panther millet crepes (Rs 295) have a corn hummus and pickled onion, flavoured with tzatziki. While the idea of beetroot crepes is inspiring, the undercooked chicken chunks are a let-down.
The desserts could qualify as an entire meal. The standout dish is the vegan chocolate mousse (Rs 250) made with tofu and garnished with a chewy honeycomb. French choux pastries take an éclair (Rs 175) form and we try the strawberry curd. Typically, dessert is the full-stop, but here, we end it with a moon milk (Rs 250). With cashew, nutmeg and beet, the milk is meant to help the indulgence settle, and we are pretty sure, this will induce a nap.
Open face Bombay vintage sourdough sandwich
We'll leave you with a nugget; similar to how humans have taken to the keto diet, doggies have taken to BARF: bone and raw foods. Digest that.
At Fetch, Poseidon Apartment, Shop No. 6 & 7, Inlaks Nagar, Versova, Andheri West.
Time 11 am to 11 pm
Food review rating: 4/4 EXCEPTIONAL, 3/4 EXCELLENT, 2/4 VERY GOOD, 1/4 GOOD, 0.5/4 AVERAGE
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