Well Café [Auroville]

We will go anywhere for food. Seriously, anywhere.

That explains why we took an hour long ride in the hot sun, after a scuba session (❤) to reach the forest region of Auroville. Hidden away in the interiors of Auroville, you will find many a treasure and Well Café is one such treasure.

Wilderness is that word that defines this place the best.

IMG_20170403_153611

IMG_20170403_153613

Why we recommend this café?

Firstly, the food is insanely good. It is simple yet amazing. The café specialises in Mediterranian cuisine with lots of hummus, falafel, salads and more. The options are limited and the food is prepared fresh by the local women.

Secondly, the ambience is amazing. An open garden café with random chairs strewn under a thick canopy of trees whose trunks are covered in colourful sarees. You will find crafts made from recycled paper hanging from above. Chirping birds, a dog or two, and a few really colourful insects (we did not know God made these, this colourful too) are your company. But don’t let this worry you, sometimes, such an ambience can do wonders!

IMG_20170403_154109

Thirdly, the café and the entire WELL centre (that includes a handmade paper shop, art gallery, etc. ) is managed by women for the empowerment of women in this area. This place gives you a peek into their lives. Spend some time and chat with the locals and they will share their stories with you! There also is a homestay next door and in case, living amidst a thick cover and with locals is your calling, you should definitely check out this place.

Fourthly, this café also hosts musical nights and other events from time to time. The ambience is then transformed to one of those mid forest camping-party style places which makes it even more awesome.

IMG_20170403_153130_918

We tried the Mint Cooler here which was a bit too sweet for us but was minty none the less. What we absolutely love and still lust over are the Vegetable Omelette & Cheese Baguette and the Eggplant & Labane Baguette. 

First I burned my tongue fighting over the super hot vegetable omelette and now I am drooling all over my laptop at the thought it. This cannot be good!

Vegetable Omelette & Cheese Baguette – The vegetable omelette was delicious on its own. Thick and so well spiced, it had onions, coriander and more. The curd cheese that was spread over the crispy pieces of bread was heavenly. Yup, we did lick it off the plate! If only we could fill like a jar or a room with it and bring it back to Mumbai!! These were served with three salads, a beetroot and cream based, a mixture of cabbage, beetroot, carrots & more and another one which had a little tart due to the addition of vinegarette.

1
Vegetable Omelette & Cheese Baguette

Eggplant & Labane Baguette – Labane or curd cheese spread generously over the crispy bread which was then topped with smoked eggplant slices. This was another delight! This was also served with salads, with a pepper spiced cauliflower based salad being one of the portions served.

2
Eggplant & Labane Baguette

Well Café is a place you would enjoy as much for the food and courteous, smiling service as you would for the peaceful escape it provides from all forms of chaos!

If you are ever in Auroville, this is definitely a place you should check out!

P.S.: Trust Google Maps, even if you feel it has lost its mind! It will bring you here.

IMG_20170403_144856

Well Cafe [Auroville] – Google Maps

Well Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Garde Manger Café [Vile Parle]

Keeper of Food

That is what Garde Manger means. And we would like to modify it for this café as – keeper of awesome, delicious and healthy food!

Garde Manger Café is a fairly new addition to the healthy-eating clan. Located in Vile Parle, this café is small, cute and cozy. The focus on clean, fresh and green eating is also apparent from their green and brown decor, small potted plants here and there and the vibe this place gives. The have an indoor AC section and an outdoor open air one which was, as usual, our favourite.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The interiors are comfortable and warm. A counter has a display of various mushrooms in jars, coffee beans in bottles, a few odd knick-knacks and more. The service is friendly and prompt.  The menu has a selection of soups, sandwiches, salads as also pasta and smoothies. They have a range of healthy desserts which also include some gluten free ones.

We started with Roasted Tomatoes and  Bocconcini Sandwich. Soft multigrain bread with a non-spicy green chutney, tomatoes, lettuce and lots of bocconcini cheese. Bocconcini is a type of Mozerella cheese. It added a delicate creamy and savoury flavour to the sandwich. The green chutney/sauce and cheese added good flavours to the sandwich which was otherwise basic. Liked it!

8
Roasted Tomatoes and Bocconcini Sandwich

From the specials, we called for Stuffed Multigrain Paratha. 8 triangular pieces of parathas that were made semi-crispy. Stuffed with a mixture of loads of veggies or as they call it vegetable keema considering the vegetable sizes were really small. The mixture/keema was well spiced and herbed. The paratha was served with a small bowl of curd and green chutney and pickle. It made for a perfect heavy and healthy breakfast!

10
Multigrain Stuffed Paratha
9
Cold Coffee

Cold Coffee which is not mentioned on the menu was the no-nonsense coffee with a little coffee powder dusted on top.

We also called for a Fresh Fruit Popsicle and got an orange popsicle. It was the perfect end to out breakfast! The pieces of orange in the popsicle made for the perfect juicy candy!

11
Fresh Fruit Popsicle

The food may not blow you away but is totally worth every penny and is in no doubt delicious. So yes, the next time you wanna go healthy and vegan, Garde Manger is one of the places to look at.

Garde Manger Café – Google Maps

Garde Manger Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Above & Beyond [Mahakali, Andheri]

What could be a better blessing for a consulting executive than getting to laze through a Monday holiday, laughing at its face while lying on the bed and just rejoicing thinking of how you’re gonna claim vengeance for those “Monday Morning Blues”!!

I lay planning my day full of sweet nothings and fetched my phone to read the latest pings – there was a rather creepy one: “Evening 6 @ Mahakali”

This was from one of those privileged Highnesses who can actually order me and have their way!

Fast forward – 6 p.m. at Mahakali, we get down from the autorickshaw and look around to locate our hunger battleground for the day – Above & Beyond. It initially appears as a local underdog with decent potential and looks.

9

We enter in with our modest expectations – good food and a pleasant evening! Mr Deepak greets us with a warm smile and walks us to our table.But given the restless folks that we are, we immediately requested our way into exploring upstairs.

Above & Beyond is the quintessential snack bar, tastefully done up with a live cooking counter alongside 6-7 small tables downstairs and a sheesha bar a level above.The sheesha floor has a colourful, comfortable, vibrant and cozy feel to it. Downstairs are artistically placed bulbs, stools with pedals and walls having a brick finish. It is flooded with the aroma of fresh bakes and slow music plays in the background. This place definitely strikes an instant chord. And if that were not all, how about I top it up with some board games, cards and comic books! Totally irresistible – isn’t it?

With the mood set, it was now time for Food! An eggetarian menu, it boasts of assorted varieties of toasts to sandwiches, pasta, burgers, pizzas, fries, wraps, salads, coffee, mocktails and of course – eggs!

Mr Highness had already chosen the first dish to try – the Chef Special Potholes of Mumbai Flyover. Being regular drivers in the maximum city, the very mention of potholes is enough reason for us to crib. But this, my friends, was a different story altogether!

15
Potholes of Mumbai Flyover

Fried egg, onions, baby chops of potatoes and mild spices infused generously into flawlessly toasted brun pav – this one looked nothing less than an egg doughnut. A treat to the eyes and the perfect blend of crunch and tenderness at the same time. This one is without a doubt, a must-try for all egg lovers. A little bit of chopped green chillies could be an interesting addition to the perfection that this dish is. I wonder why I am no longer complaining about pot holes! Any guesses?? :p

We next ordered the Cajun Spiced Vegetable Burger. The patty was made of mashed potatoes, corn, carrots, french beans, onions and was perfectly crisp yet soft. The cajun spiced sauce, which was mildly spicy, was a delicious addition to the burger and made it lip-smacking!

10
Cajun Spiced Burger
1
Strawberry Rose Smoothie and Passion Kiwi Sour Punch Smoothie

Next came Strawberry Rose Smoothie and Passion Kiwi Sour Punch Smoothie.

We couldn’t wait to sip on these.

The Strawberry Rose Smoothie is your classic strawberry milkshake and lacked a strong presence of rose syrup in it.

The clear winner here was the Passion Kiwi Sour Punch Smoothie – a refreshing shake which promises a strong punch of kiwi till the last sip. What we are confused is about its mysterious yellow colour! 😉😉

There is no party without pizza and no one is ever satisfied with just one pizza. So we decided to go for a half-n-half. With the chef special already having worked its magic once – we thought of giving it another shot with the American Corn Chaat Pizza as one-half and the Cottage Cheese, Bell Peppers as the other.

8
American Corn Chaat and Cottage Cheese, Bell Peppers Pizza

The American Corn Chaat Pizza had a freshness to its look and flavours that hit your taste buds spot on! Thin crust base, topped with finely sliced capsicum, roasted corn and cheese certainly qualify it to be a pizza – but what brings life to it was the cumin chaat powder and a slight tanginess. Cottage Cheese Bell Peppers, on the other hand, had a colourful mix of bell peppers, paneer and cheese – good enough but not something that you’ve not tried before.

So which one was the better half according to us? – American Corn Chaat Pizza. 

Though we like the pizza, we found the portion size a little too small.

11
Crumb Fried Chilli Poppers

Then came Crumb Fried Chili Poppers are nothing more than your packaged frozen poppers mummy would fry for you at home, but worth mentioning is the lemon based mayo dip that came along!

We now went for the humble guys – Cafe Frappe and Virgin Mojito. Both the drinks were good and basic in presentation. The frappe was a tad bit on the bitter side – which works amazingly well for us!

14
Smooth & Silk Chocolate Cake

At last, it was time the best – Smooth & Silk Chocolate Cake. This cake was what his Highness had set his eyes on, from the very beginning. A thin layer of crunchy cake at the base coupled with plentiful of thick chocolate and milk cream above and choco-wafer sticks to add to the beauty – the cake was amazing. The sly bitterness in the chocolate cream sis wonders to this velvety goodness!

Overall Experience: We truly loved the pleasing setup, warm service, attention to presentation and just the fact that we could see our food travel to us from the open kitchen counter! Also, the place opens as early as 7.30 am – you don’t want to miss it!

Expectations met? – Well, we’ll just say Above & Beyond.

Mondays like these – Yes, please!!

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle – Fighting our way through potholes to reach to the delicious version of it! These potholes, you will wanna dive into them all alone!

P.S.: This blog post is written by my partners in crime Aniket Menon and Nikit Koli. My contribution was only a little editing. Cheers to you guys ❤

Their closing note: The camaraderie was Rocky & Mayur like.

Above & Beyond – Google Maps

Above & Beyond Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Café Amigos [Thane]

A friend of a friend who knows we like to try new places told us – if you are ever in Thane, try out Café Amigos.

Zomato, when we were in Thane last week showed suggested places – Café Amigos.

A coffee mug we randomly spotted with a Sombrero and moustache again reminds us of Café Amigos.

So before the universe got any more obvious, and dropped a coconut on our head that said ‘Head to Café Amigos now, you dimwits’ we decided it was time to check this place off our to-try list!

Café Amigos is a cozy place with a happy vibe. The moment we stepped in and the aroma of something nice being cooked hit us, we smiled thinking what we had been missing all this while! The café is not very huge, with 2 tables downstairs and 3-4 tables on the mezzanine floor. There is an outdoor sitting arrangement as well, that is so apt for evenings!

Raw undone ceilings with light bulbs hanging via long wires add a rustic charm. The walls are adorned with number plates, colourful metal boxes, a vintage camera here and a typewriter there, aluminium kettle, a vintage recorder and more. We love how messily good these look! A small open kitchen is located on the lower floor and it whips up awesomeness! The service is super friendly and impeccable!

1

The menu is pretty spread out and one can find English breakfast options, cereals, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, shawarma alongside salads, smoothies, tea and coffee! The café serves breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. There is plenty of parking space nearby and the place is located on a comparatively peaceful lane.

Here is what we dug into:

Veg. Melting Sandwich – It should rather be called heart melting sandwich!  A triple decker surprise with veggies, cottage cheese, lots and lots and lots more of cheese, spices, mayonnaise and more sauces! It just drives you crazy with that cheese-filled aroma and then makes you lick the last morsel off the plates. So filling and delicious! Yummy!

 

10
Veg. Melting Sandwich

 

Egg Omelette Sandwich – An Indian spiced and perfectly cooked omelette sandwiched between grilled bread pieces! It is served with a chilli mayo dip. Loved it!

 

20
Egg Omelette Sandwich

 

Pink Sauce Pasta – Apparently, their pasta is well known and now we know why! Penne pasta in a deliciously creamy and herbed pink sauce with lots of veggies. It was non-spicy but well flavoured.

 

18
Pink Sauce Pasta

 

Now that we are done with telling you what we hogged on, let us take you to 7th heaven with the shakes at Café Amigos! Trust us when we say, the phrase No one can have just one’ was made after taking a sip of one of these delights!

The have an extensive list of shakes and some will just take you by surprise! The shakes are thick, very flavourful and refreshing. All of them fall in the price range of ₹150 to ₹200 and are totally worth it, although, we would definitely want their quantity to be a bit more!

♥ Cookie-Gingerbread Oreo Shake – What is not to like in this one? Oreo with a slight hint of ginger and cinnamon flavours! Superb!

 

7
Cookie – Gingerbread Oreo Shake

 

Mudpie Shake – If we had to pick a favourite, we would without a doubt pick this one. At first, you think it is only a chocolate milkshake but give it a maximum of two seconds and you will know the full depth of flavours in this one! Love at first sip we say!

 

17
Mudpie Shake

 

♥ Rajbhog Shake – This saffron spiced refreshing drink takes you to another level. It has authentic flavours and is not overwhelmingly sweet. And the aroma is amazing!

♥ Paan Shake – The first sip of this minty delight and you will know why paan is called a mouth freshener! So refreshing.

Cold Coffee Shake – And of course we tried coffee! It was perfect. Strong coffee kick and not too sweet. Loved it!

 

8
Cold Coffee Shake

 

There are many more flavours that we wanted to try here. So yep, there is going to be a next time and soooooon!

19

Overall Experience: Café Amigos is our new amigo! Delicious food, pocket-friendly prices and superb service. And did we tell you they have a kick-ass playlist as well? Our total bill came to ₹1352 ,which is a steal for that delicious food 😍

Food  🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

Tha Battle: You and your amigos will no longer be amigos if one of them lay hands on one of your shakes! Speaking from experience, ‘coz our friendship got seriously tested here! :D” width=”16″ height=”16″>:D” width=”16″ height=”16″>

Café Amigos – Google Maps

Cafe Amigos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast at Theobroma!

When we think of Theobroma, the first image that comes to our mind is that of delicious pastries and toothsome cupcakes and to-die-for cakes!

Food for Gods, indeed!

Not that we would complain having a breakfast that is all about desserts, but Theobroma is more than just these! It boasts of a range of sandwiches and rolls as well as coffee and other beverages. So when we were craving for some delicious sandwiches the other morning, we headed to Theobroma!

We started with the Paneer Mushroom Melt.  Paneer cubes and mushrooms in a cheese gravy, no wonder it is called melt! A tantalising barbeque sauce, that confuses you – is it spicy or is it sweet! Yummy. It was served with coleslaw and super crispy thick fries that are to die for!

screenshot_2017-02-23-10-20-57_20170223102246678
Paneer Mushroom Melt

Then came Egg Kejriwal. We have become a fan of Mr Kejriwal, no not the other lunatic one, but of Devi Prasad Kejriwal, who gave us this delicacy. And then we are a fan of Theobroma for making it so sinfully delicious.

Crispy base with lots of cheese and a spicy chilli mixture and a marvellous sunny-side up on top! This cheesy melting goodness is delectable and filling!

If you haven’t tried it already, then head to Theobroma immediately and gorge on it!

Just a word of caution, not all outlets serve live kitchen food as some stock only desserts and pre-made sandwiches.

img_20170222_101537_20170223101928935
Egg Kejriwal

Cheese Chilli Toast was another cheesy wonder. Lots of cheese, chilli flakes and oregano and served with ketchup that is much needed after a few bites, ‘coz it is spicy!

12345
Cheese Chilli Toast

Cold Coffee and Oreo Milkshake completed this scrumptious breakfast! ♥

img_20170222_102142_20170223101633322
Cold Coffee and Oreo Milkshake

The next time you are looking for a great breakfast option, head to the nearest Theobroma and eat some of that deliciousness that they boast of!

Theobroma [Fort] – Google Maps

Theobroma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tea Trails Bistro [Fort]

Mornings are for caffeine, newspaper, and peace! Kick-ass food does not hurt either.

Nah, that is not said by someone famous. It is said by someone awesome – Me! 😉

Our recent breakfast at Tea Trails (Fort) was just like this – caffeine, news, food and tranquillity.

The best part about South Mumbai streets apart from the iconic architecture and food joints is that they are incredibly peaceful in the morning! These calm streets can become so chaotic in a matter of hours in astonishing. But that is a discussion for another day. The reason we brought these streets up was because Tea Trails Bistro is located at one such street in Fort, Kalaghoda. In the midst of some amazing places, Tea Trails carves its presence well.

The outlet is mid-sized, done up in white and yellow with wooden furniture. As you enter, you notice the wall right opposite with tea kettles stuck to it. Beautiful pictures decorate another wall and depict tea in all its colours! The bistro is well lit and spacious and more importantly quiet, at least in the mornings!

12

Tea Trails is well known for the vast variety of tea on offer and they have recently revamped their menu. There is something for everyone in this new menu. Be it healthy breakfast options or salads, pizza, sandwiches or burgers, desi quick bites like pakoras, waffles, pasta or wholesome meals and desserts, the variety is mind-boggling. It is going to be difficult to pick one for sure!

We settled for a place near the window, that gives a good view of the street. Imagine yourself, with a plate of hot Maggi and a cup of Coffee/Tea as you watch the world go by their regular business. Okay, not world, but you know what I mean! It was the perfect setting!

And then it started, probably even our server was astonished as to how much food can two tummies fit! >:D>:D Here’s what we hogged on early in the morning:

Before we start, one rule – If you see Maggi on the menu, you order it! No questions asked! Yet again, the awesome ‘Me’ said this!

Cheese Chilli Maggi → Maggi spiced with green chilli, loaded with cheese and garnished with spring onions! It was delicious! The combination of cheese and green chilli is perfect!

5
Cheese Chilli Maggi

Schezwan Vada Pav → Atom bomb dressed as a sutli-bomb. Quite literally since this slider sized vada pav is amazing! Crispy exterior of the vada with a mild spicy potato mixture inside. Soft bun with lots of lip-smacking Schezwan chutney that makes it a spicy treat! Trust us when we say this, the Schezwan chutney is to die for!

7
Schezwan Vada Pav

Burghul Upma → Burghul is a kind of dried cracked wheat and is very healthy. Burghul upma was non-spicy with lots of veggies. It tasted good and was finished with grated coconut and coriander. The green chutney it came with was slightly sweet.

9
Burghul Upma

Egg Kejriwal on Pav → The highlight of this breakfast show! A well-made sunny-side up on a crispy pav. Onions, tomatoes, coriander and lots of chilli powder bring alive the Indian-ness of this preparation. It was scrumptious!

11
Egg Kejriwal on a Pav

Cranberry Iced Tea → A refreshing and tangy option. Not very sweet. Loved it!

Lemon & Mint Iced Tea → Tea decoction infused with lots of lime giving it a refreshing lemony taste. Mint adds to the energy. Loved it!

Cold Coffee → At a bistro that is famous for tea, finding good coffee sometimes comes as a surprise. Cold Coffee at Tea Trails is perfect, strong aroma and flavour. A little chocolate syrup is added but it does not kill the taste of coffee. Loved it!

13
Cold Coffee

Kulhad Chai → A strong cup of chai (tea) served in a kulhad! Perfect!

4
Kulhad Chai

Tea Trails Bubble Tea Sundae → Vanille ice cream + Tapioca Bubbles + Fruit bliss bubbles + Almonds + Pistachios + Matcha = HAPPINESS!

Bubble Tea Sundae was the perfect end to the meal. The bubbles burst in the mouth and the plain vanilla ice cream is converted to a fruity bliss!

15
Tea Trails Bubble Tea Sundae

Overall Experience: Amazing. Loved each and every dish but missed out on so many! Only wish we had larger tummies! The service is friendly. The food may take a little time to arrive but that is okay since it is so good! The place is pocket-friendly and gives good value for money!

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: You will seriously not want to share even a single bite of the food here! Be it Egg Kejriwal or Maggi.

Tea Trails, Fort – Google Maps

Tea Trails Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato