Mumbai Food: Kala Ghoda Cafe gives the good old Bombay feeling
Kala Ghoda Cafe's six-month-old extension is probably Mumbai's best-kept secret
You think you know a city and every bar worth knowing in its popular alleys, but you don't. We didn't either. We walk into Rope Walk Lane at Kala Ghoda and enter Kala Ghoda Café, which we've frequented only for its tea with jaggery and BLT sandwiches. Past the door, we walk into the larger seating, but we are not there yet. Past another door that reads Wine Bar in small font, we step into a hidden world that offers you old-Bombay charm in the form of a 30-seater wine bar, with bentwood chairs, wooden tables, old sofas and a swanky bar done up in sky blue tiles.
The floor rug has lost colour. Probably from the 80s, it has a decrepit charm, unlike the disc lamps that add a touch of class with a sepia-toned effect. The setting is like an underground secret club, with heavy grey curtains. We take a table by the wall on the other end of the bar, which has the backdrop of a Himalayan range, reminding us of Kashmir ki Kali. The setting is perfect, to implement the idea behind the space — a space to appreciate good wine and music. The playlist, swings from trance, house to 80s techno.
We begin with a mimosa (R420), even if it is too late in the day, we feel like our day has just begun and, a red sedara sicilia 2016 (R990). The sparkling spiked with orange juice is fresh, and the red is silky, medium bodied and organic, all the way from Italy. The wine menu is concise; the usual suspects are all there — from the all-rounder Sula chenin blanc, sette from Fratelli to arros red from Nashik along with organic wines from Italy, sauvignon blanc from Bordeaux and new world wines too.
We bite on fig and goat cheese (R400) with a balsamic glaze on toast, and chicken olive stew (R360). Life is good. The fig is poached and chicken stew has a thick lemony wine and coriander finish.
Every time a new visitor enters this ghetto, they let out a surprise. Bombay is back. Mumbai and its chaos can take a hike. We pick on baby bravas (R290) topped with dollops of sour cream and red pepper salsa. Well herbed and perfectly charred, the space is now packed with wine and conversation lovers. The music volume has been upped enough to keep the mood steady. The ever-smiling and diligent staff brings us our spicy fish kebabs (R410).
Well grilled rawas pieces have been marinated in garlic, chilli and come on a bed of green chutney yogurt. The menu has a mix of Indian and foreign tapas. We are done, but not yet ready to leave. We call for a ragi chocolate pudding (R190) which happens to be vegan too — malted ragi, dark chocolate, jaggery, fruit and jowar flakes offers a light and grainy texture on the palate. But the only bummer are the jowar flakes that are too chewy. But, we'll be back soon, even as we don't want to recommend the place for the fear of it becoming too popular for its mood. But, haven't we already?
At Kala Ghoda Café, Rope Walk Lane, Fort
Chicken olive stew
Red sedara sicilia 2016
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