Mumbai Food: Check out these quiet cafes in monsoon season
Sipping solo or conversations over cappuccinos, this monsoon, you can ditch the city's hustle and bustle at these quiet cafes
Hear yourself think
Birdsong Cafe, Waroda Road, Bandra West
In one of the lanes leading up to Ranwar in Bandra, is this cafe with an old-world charm. The furniture is all wood and the lighting is soft. Many people park themselves there all day and work from the restaurant. "It's relaxed, a great respite from the hurried-pace of the city. You can spend hours there without anyone questioning you," says author Ashraf Engineer, 42, who doesn't like cacophonous eateries.
"That's why you won't usually find me in pubs. I do like places where you can hear yourself think, where you can hear whoever you're with and have actual, complete conversations," he adds.
"I've spent many evenings solo here reading a book, but also with friends and met people for work too. The most important thing is that it's chilled out, so it's good for anything. I must mention the staff here. They're welcoming and helpful," adds Engineer. The menu has vegan options and is organic. "I like the watermelon and feta salad along with pomegranate lemonade. I usually have green tea there," says Engineer.
Sussegado at the table
Burrows Cafe Orlem, Malad West
This cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating, and utilitarian decor. You can settle down with a book in its laid-back vibe or get your productivity game on like photographer Karen Lisa, who often works from here. "I often look for quieter places when I need to work on ideas for my next shoot. I usually go there during late afternoons on weekdays when it's relatively less occupied," says Lisa, who loves their pork ribs and bacon-wrapped prawns.
Find your nook
Taj Mahal Tea House, St. John Baptist Road, Bandra West
Warm and welcoming, one room leads to another, and you can find a spot that will suit you. "There are plenty of comfortable nooks, and I've a few favourites already," says magazine editor, Shraddha Jahagirdar Saxena. The 55-year-old often spends a couple of hours here over chai and endless conversations with friends. The beige walls, motif tiles and a wooden roof give the whole place a different feel.
"No one hurries you and there is a relaxed feel to the whole place. I'm usually here with friends, but I've seen many single guests working on laptops or just reading a book, while enjoying their meal," she adds. On the menu are plenty of tea-infused dishes like the Oolong poached king fish and chai panacotta. There are vegan and gluten-free options, too. "You can't miss the masala chai in a pot made with loads of spices," suggests Saxena.
For that working lunch
The Sassy Spoon, Express Towers, Nariman Point
A wall of old trunks, bare-bulbed chandeliers, and a pop of pink — the rustic interiors of the Sassy Spoon are extremely nostalgia-infused. There may be the odd song or two from the jukebox at times.
The cafe is located in a commercial space, but for 39-year-old realty manager, Farzin Vispi Shroff (in pic), Sassy Spoon is "a warm, welcoming place where you can just be". Shroff says, "At first, it was just convenient to go down 20 floors for lunch, but now it's out of choice and comfort. I find myself suggesting it even on days off to my family."
"There are times when I've been there for breakfast and stayed till my next lunch meeting. I rarely eat alone, but when I do, the staff often makes it comfortable," says Shroff, who is often spotted there during off-rush hours. "It's quiet but at the same time, I don't feel lonely there," she adds.
Just like home
The Salad Bar and Walnut Cafe, Sector 30A, Vashi
This cafe is built on the principles of Eat Good and Live Good, casual dining for the working fraternity, family and group of friends. "The cafe has a homely feel. You can sit there as long as you like — my record is four hours straight," adds entrepreneur Rubina Dawe, 45. There are 60 varieties of warm and cold salads on the list that can be paired with vegetable and fruit juices. The cafe plays retro music, but softly.
"I don't really like quiet places but it's a good change to go to away from all the hustle bustle. Perfect for time with friends and for a solo cuppa," she adds.
Ketley Brews & Bites Swastik Park, Thane West
Eclectic and tasteful, with elements of teacups and kettles, this cafe has a two-level seating. You can opt for the more formal space downstairs, or sink into their cushioned low-seating with boardgames and a guitar. They play lounge music, but only on demand. "The ambience is uplifting and I often come here with the gang," says sales professional, Shweta Pande, 23.
The staff here is most fun. From bike trips to paragliding in Lonavala and the latest IT trends, they can chat up on almost anything. "I find it cute that you can call the waiters by ringing a bell on the table. Their masala Assam tea is just great," she adds.
Compiled by Nasrin Modak Siddiqi
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