Cafe Zoe - Bombay's Newest Watering Hole
My weekend was spent in Mumbai so it was only befitting to share my latest discovery from the bay area. Following Blue Frog and Busaba's lead comes a brand new entrant in Mumbai's trendy mill area — Café Zoe. As I walked in to this two-storey, industrial sized space with its high ceilings, glass roofs, brick walls, and exposed ducts — let's just say it was love at first sight.
Evading that Delhi snobbery for starters was a great relief. They even accommodated our table that went from 6 to 10 people on a Friday without any qualms despite being full. An assortment of boozey drinks soon cluttered our table. Sangria, Whiskey Sours and Watermelon Martinis were downed with great enthusiasm, while the cloyingly sweet Black Grape Caprioska with its artificial bubble gum flavour was ostracized off the table.
- All the drinks and decor would not make-up for bad food. So it was time for the final assessment — the taste test! We started with the Salmon Tartar from the "Bar Food". Now it's all very well to be generous with your melba toast but how about giving us something more to eat it with! Though the tartar tasted quite decent and by decent I mean it wasn't extraordinary but I would have ordered it again if it wasn't for the humorously stingy portion!
- What was extraordinary though was the Beef Carpaccio with Truffle Oil and a salad of mixed greens, pine-nuts and parmesan. The moment I laid eyes on the healthy pink slivers of beef, I knew we were going to be okay. Of course when it's doused in truffle oil there is no looking back. A must order.
- Next we moved on to salads. The first, a very healthy Broccoli Salad with sprouts, snow peas and some more green stuff! Goes without saying the salad was light, and the tangy lime vinaigrette made it even more perfect for the summer.
- Moving on to our second salad — Steak Salad with honey mustard dressing. The salad came in a lid-less glass jar and its dressing in a separate smaller jar, both propped together next to a toasted slice of bread, in a larger bowl for you to empty out everything in. The fate of this fairly simple salad rests on two main components — the dressing which was good and the steak itself which sadly was too dry and overcooked for my liking.
- Now to our mains. Let's get the bad out of the way, which was most definitely the Fettucini with Mild Tomato Sauce. It tasted how I'd imagine maggi pasta to taste — with this unappetising packaged flavour best served out of a cardboard box.
- Next was the Truffle Cappelini, which went with the tagline "too good to be true". I think not. Now this was not inedible like the previous one but it was boring enough to put me to sleep. The biggest problem was that it tasted mostly of lemon rather than truffle. That's when a little bit of truffle can go a long way, so you really have to be miserly with it for it to get overpowered. The lemon wasn't even in the description; to end up being the predominant flavour was just disappointing.
- We skipped dessert but let's end on a sweet note nonetheless. Our creamy Pork Belly Carbonara was delicious. The fresh zingy parsley lifted the dish and gave it another dimension of flavour. The pasta was cooked just right. The pork was shredded and spared the usual fatty onslaught expected with belly, which I normally would want but with this already heavy dish it was a welcome respite. Though some crispy pork skin on top would have really made my day!
- The cherry on icing came in the form of a beautiful Mixed Seafood Provincial. I absolutely loved this dish! Generous, juicy pieces of prawn, clams, calamari and fish came together in a light garlic, herb and lemon broth. The only complaint was with the slightly fishy and overcooked bits of fish. My favourite part of any stewy or soupy dish is the bread dunking, and they obviously get that because the dish came with a lovely, buttery toasted baguette for just that!
On the weekends, post a certain dinner hour, Cafe Zoe's bar downstairs gets quite lively and maybe worthwhile to linger on. Overall, the place has the right vibe, with a fun young crowd, and the menu is large enough for you to pick out the right dishes and have a delicious and oh yes, reasonable meal.
- Rs. Moderate - Rs. 2000 per couple
022 2490 2065
Todi Mathuradas Mill Compound 126, N M Joshi Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Labels: Breakfast, Brunch, Burger, Cafes and Delis, French, Healthy Options, Italian, Mumbai