Aleph – The Divine Space [Juhu]

The Greatest Secrets are Always Hidden in the Most Unlikely Places – Roald Dahl
And we are going to tell you a secret today. ‘Coz we are feeling especially generous!
Why?
Because some stories demand to be shared and told.
One such story is about the amazing place started by first-time restaurateur Kishin Thakur. How and when this place – Aleph, The Divine Space, came about is his to tell but we are here to tell you the story of how much we have loved this place!
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A house to a ‘yoga retreat’ by morning and a stage for musical gigs and book readings come evening. And during this transition, it serves as a co-working space for the serious and a café with a wholesome grub for the others.
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Located in the same vicinity as Prithvi Café,  Aleph is hidden from plain sight.
Look through the canopy of trees and you will see the name Aleph displayed in prominent red. Once you have successfully located the place, you have to locate the entrance.
It would have left us confounded if not for the staff who waved at us and guided us through the thin lane up to the entrance of the café. Don’t be worried if you see yourself walking from near a salon and the backside of buildings, you are going in the right direction.
No point searching this place on Zomato, it is not listed there.  That’s why we are here – You can either approach Aleph TDS from the narrow lane next to Café Moshes or from the main entrance to Janki Kutir, take the first left (Maya Salon) and another left and you will see a board saying Aleph TDS…..and voila, you are here.
Spread over two floors, Aleph is a beautiful café with colourful decor, walls painted and drawn on by patrons, books stacked up in a corner, card and board games, really comfortable and cosy ambience. The lower floor is an indoor section and there is a rooftop seating as well. There are mattresses for low seating, high seats, low stools like modas and sofas to choose from.
We picked a spot on the rooftop. The walls here are painted with random things by the customers. The owner and staff offer you to leave your mark on these walls too! They give you the paints and brushes, you pick a spot and get painting!
Aleph is peaceful and calm and just amazing! Covered in trees and plants and has a very very homely feel to it. Soft music plays in the background which again can be picked by the customers. Aleph TDS is what this city needs in every nook and corner. A no-fuss space that suits the needs of most of us.
Want to work/study and need a quiet space and a WiFi connection? ✔
Want to spend a quality evening with your friends over card games and coffee? ✔
Want to test your skills in the kitchen?✔
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Yes, even the last one. Aleph has a small kitchen and they allow people to make their own food (from their menu that is) if they so choose.
So you wanna try that Kale Soya Burger? Give it a shot in the kitchen and the staff will guide you through it.
They have a small menu but cover a decent variety. We love the Positivi- Tea Only and Sippin’ on Sunshine section with so many varieties of tea and coffee. Cold Coffee specials are decided separately and you can ask them for the options. They have mouthwatering dessert jars and waffles. Their burgers are especially tempting with unique patties and sauces.
Pick from Mac & Cheese, Kale Soya, or Falafel patty and toss in a little bit of Wasabi Mayo, Garlic Aioli, Mexican Chipotle, or Garlic Hummus. A variety of toppings is also available along with a number of non-veg options.
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We tried Nutella Cold Coffee (₹250), Hazelnut Cold Coffee (₹250) and Chocolate Cold Coffee (₹250).
They were really good with a proper combination of flavours and coffee, but we pick the hazelnut one which was particularly refreshing. The Nutella Cold Coffee had a little too much of the nutty flavour for our liking and Chocolate Cold coffee was a bit too sweet. so you can choose to tell the staff your preference and they will make it less sweet for you if you like!
We also tried the Fruit Bliss Iced Tea which was fruity and refreshing!
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Fruit Bliss Iced Tea
We went a little overboard with the first burger we tried – Mac & Cheese Patty, Multigrain bread and all the sauces and toppings! Yes, all!
That makes it a little difficult for us to describe the burger but all we can say is that it was delicious. A deliciously confusing mess! 😍 🍔
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Mac & Cheese Burger
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We then tried our hand at making the Grilled Paneer Patty Burger.
We chose Garlic Aioli, Mexican Chipotle and Minty Mayonnaise as the sauces this time.
The staff helped us deck up our burger which was delicious.
Chipotle added a little spice and the mint mayo added the sweet and refreshing minty flavour.
The patty was delicious too. Loved it! 🍔
The burgers are priced at ₹290.
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Grilled Paneer Burger
Aleph – TDS is now coming up with a breakfast menu that they will serve from 8 am to 11 am every day. Complete with eggs and Indian options, this is something we look forward to. They are also planning or starting movie night here, so gear up for kickass movies every week. All this when we thought this place could not get more awesome! 😉
This place becomes insanely beautiful in the late evenings and night with the colourful lights and music. Heaven!
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There are times when all of us need a place to unwind and be away from the chaos of our daily lives. The next time you are feeling this feeling, head to Aleph.
But shhh….. keep this a secret!
Overall Experience: The staff and owner are very friendly. They make sure to take your feedback on whatever they prepare and about your experience at the café.
The ambience is such that you never want to get up and leave. Homely and relaxing.
Food 🙂
Ambience 🙂
Service 🙂
The Battle: Having to get up and get back to traffic and drama and work is so difficult after finding a safe heaven like this!!
Timings: 8 am to 10 pm
Cost for 2 (food & beverages only): Around ₹ 800 – ₹1000
Our meal came to ₹1530
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Grandmama’s Café [Juhu]

Grandmama’s Café is made with so much love, that it is overwhelming!

The café makes you happy by its mere vibe and decor. Vintage floral wallpapers, turquoise blue wooden doors and cupboards, colourful lampshades, random decor and knick knacks, recipe books, cups and saucers hanging from wooden cabinets and so many things that make this café really really cute and adorable. Hanging flower pots and random colourful tin boxes like from grandma’s rooms, books shelves, super cute sofas… this place is more colourful than the shade cards!

We especially loved the colourful Spanish tiles on the flooring and the table tops and the Chintz seating. They add a distinct charm to the decor.

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They have an indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor area is not huge but really cozy and comfy. They also have a big waiting area. The indoor section is chic, mid-sized with a kitchen and dessert counter at the far end. They have a good selection of music and it is not very loud.

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The café is buzzing with the energy of patrons. The service is friendly and helpful.

The menu is well expanded with lots of options in English breakfast, all day menu, waffles, pancakes, egg dishes, juices and Indian options like Rajma Chawal. Talk about comfort food, Indian style!

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We tried Hazelnut Frappe and Choco Chill. Hazelnut frappe was a mildly strong option with a good blend of coffee and hazelnut. Choco Chill is cold coffee with lots of whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Loved this one!

Kejriwal Grandmama’s Style was mind-freaking-blowing! So delicious that it is heavenly!

Bread topped with sauteed mushrooms, egg white and a lip-smacking green chilli cheese sauce! The mushrooms have a smokey flavour and the cheese sauce stole the show in one swift swing! This dish is absolutely amazing and a must have here!

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Kejriwal Grandmama’s Style

Grandmama’s Café is a perfect place for a quick fix meal or for spending hours chit-chatting over good coffee.

The café is generally packed with a long waiting. They do not accept table bookings, so it is better to come here at an early hour of you want to avoid long waits. We got lucky on our third attempt. Weekends are totally beyond question at peak hours (which is always!)

Grandmama’s Café – Google Maps

Grandmama's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

ZooBar [Vile Parle]

ZooBar is located really close to Vile Parle station right above McDonald’s. It features in Zomato’s list of Happy Hours places because of some great offers to grab from.

Visited Zoobar over the weekend. We were greeted by some animal paintings and a huge giraffe on our way up.Pretty chilled out atmosphere. You get one plus one on every drink and mocktail before 8pm. The crowd starts building up later in the night. There are two sections AC and an open air one.The service is good and prompt, although it gets a little slow once the crowd builds up.

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Virgin Guava Mary

From the Mocktails, we ordered Virgin Guava Mary and Mix Bang Bang from mocktails.

Mix Bang Bang : Ever Had a mocktail that is a mix of a few fruit juices and is spicy? Yup, this one manages to leave a tingling sensation on one’s lips with the overload of pepper. But I am not complaining. A spicy, tangy mocktail is always preferred over any sweet drink! Give this a try if you are not one to shy away from a little experiment. I had two of these, ‘coz one plus one happy hour!!

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Mix Bang Bang

We ordered Loaded Nachos which were really loaded with cheese, delicious sauces and veggies. Loved these. Perfect to binge on while you gossip your time away with your friends.

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Loaded Nachos

The Classic Cheese Garlic Bread was a major disappointment.  Although it did not lack in the amount of cheese, it lacked in the softness needed. The cheese was chewy and the bread was toasted too much!

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Classic Cheese Garlic Bread

We also ordered the Zoobar Elephant Sandwich. The servers brought the sandwich to our table in a cage sort of dish… grabbing eyeballs and making us wonder how the hell are we to eat that!!

When they said elephant, they meant a giant elephant! The sandwich is huge and it was really difficult to take a bite. It was filled with pesto sauce and cream cheese sauce mixed with veggies like mushroom, zucchini, etc and a salad dressing on the sides and potato wedges. It was delicious with the creaminess of the pesto sauce making us lick our fingers!

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ZooBar Elephant Sandwich

 

My two cents: Go here a bit early as the AC section gets packed too soon unless you don’t mind the open air section which allows smoking. Also, the earlier you go, the longer you enjoy the happy hour offers!

Zoobar, I am coming back for more!

ZooBar – Google Maps

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

Prithvi Café [Juhu]

Ever heard of an oxymoron? It is an oxymoron when contradictory terms are used in the same sentence, maybe to describe the same thing. Language can be excitingly confusing! So can be people. And places. Yes, places indeed.

Calm and noisy? Peaceful and buzzing? Hidden but well-known? That is Prithvi Cafe for me. It is one of my favourite places to go to. Be it just to spend some time alone or to hang out with friends, it is always a ‘yes’ if the question is ‘Prithvi?’ 

Prithvi cafe is an open air cafe, in the crowded Juhu area, but a little away from the crazy hustle and bustle of traffic. Surrounded by trees, and bamboos, with black granite seatings. It also has a partially covered area that overlooks the kitchen. Prithvi cafe is crowded. Always crowded, and the crowd is increasing with time. But go here in the afternoon and you may be lucky enough to find a quiet corner for yourself and your book and coffee. People are always waiting to grab a spot here and fighting to stay a little longer.

While you are here, try and catch a play, or just look around and you will always stumble upon a Theatre or Bollywood personality. Give the quaint little Prithivi Bookshop a chance, or just be content hanging out with some amazing food to nibble on.

My favourite thing to have here is Beer Bottle Chaas. It is delicious and always puts first timers into a confusion. A lot many people have given me stinky eyes and confused glances over these!

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Beer Bottle Chaas

I recommend almost everything on the menu here. Here is a peep into what we tried on our last visit to Prithvi Cafe :

Pav Bhaji here is lip-smackingly delicious. The Cottage Cheese, Pesto & Corn Pizza  is a cheesy thin crust pizza. The base sauce gives is a tangy taste. Cheese Chilli Toast is a cheesy delight, although it lacks the chilli part, add a few chilli flakes and you are good to go.

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The chaats here are always a good option. Penne in mixed sauce  is delicious pasta. Cheesy creamy sauce that leaves you wanting more. We licked the last residue off of the dish! I recommend this one to all!

The parathas here are made hot, right in front of you (or behind depending on where you sit) and the aroma makes your mouth water till they finally arrive on your table. Aloo Paratha  was served with curd and a bowl of delectable Dal Makhni.

 

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Penne in mixed sauce
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Aloo Paratha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Forest Jar is goodness in a jar.  Not very sweet, with layers of cream, brownie and topped with a cherry. Delicious. Their Bun Maska and Cutting Chai are mass favourites. I can vouch for the bun maska, try the tea for yourself! 😛😛

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Black Forest Jar
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Peace Iced Tea

Overall Experience: The service here is so so. Some of the servers are too overburdened, and some just don’t care. Prithvi Cafe is not exactly easy on the pocket, but not very pricey either.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 😐

 

 

The Battle: One doesn’t feel like leaving the alive and kicking atmosphere behind. And I can’t seem to get enough of their Beer Bottle Chass!

Prithvi Cafe – Google Maps

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

Tea Villa Cafe [Bandra]

Ya Ya, it is finally here! For all those of you who have been asking me about Tea Villa Cafe and for those who haven’t heard of the place as well (which century do you live in by the way?)

Tea Villa Cafe is a fairly new chain that has managed to create a whole lot of buzz around it. I remember passing by the Hill Road outlet and then altering my day’s schedule just to pay a visit to the cafe. The place looks beautiful. It is done up in white and black and silver and is just marvellous. The ambience is outstanding and the place is crowded even on a weekday noon.

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After finally settling on a place to sit, I went through their extensive menu! I decided to first order coffee. My first order was the Triple Berry Coffee . Not much of a ‘hot’ and ‘strange things mixed in the coffee’ lover, this one blew my mind away! It is basically black coffee, mildly sweet with a strong blend of berries and dark chocolate dancing on your tongue with every sip. Mix that with a ton of whipped cream and the combination is stunning. The aroma is just as amazing. I think I haven’t stopped recommending this coffee to anyone who utters the name Tea Villa Cafe.

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Triple Berry Coffee

The next order was of Chocolate Bolt. A cold coffee full of chocolate, the taste of which hits you like a bolt. An ideal name I say!

 

After satisfying the coffee buds in my tongue, it was time for some food. Not really very hungry, I decided to go for the Grill Paneer Sandwich. It has grilled paneer, roasted garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes topped with mayo. Sounded nice, but was such a disappointment. The happiness level that was reaching high up after the amazing dose of coffee came crashing down. I don’t think I had been that disappointed that quickly ever. I struggled to finish the sandwich (which I couldn’t) and got up and left.

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Grill Paneer Sandwich
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Grill Paneer Sandwich

 

Nope, it doesn’t end there!

As I said, the place has created a whole lot of buzz and after being continually flooded with messages that went along the lines of ‘I must try Tea Villa Cafe’, I decided to give it another shot. This time, I visited the outlet at Vile Parle.

It was a Sunday morning, and the cafe was partially filled. I was actually put off by the condition of the cafe. It was sprawling with flies. Granted it is the monsoon, and the cafe is located on a busy road, but that is no excuse to be so indifferent to cleanliness. The caretakers tried their best to clean up the mess, but it was futile since it was too late.  Anyway, getting past that, we decided to get on to business – food!!

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Oreo Waffle

We started with the Oreo Waffles. The waffles were just mind blowing. Loaded with Oreo crumbs, white & dark chocolate sauce it was heavenly! The serve this with a melted chocolate which is delicious, but solidifies after a while! Why wait a while to finish the goodness anyway?

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Oreo Waffle

 

 

Well, after the amazing waffles, I was starting to feel a little optimistic about the food. We ordered the Villa Special Fries Basket ,  which comes with a mix of potato wedges and sweet potato fries. It is served with three different sauces. I am of the opinion that if a place that has great coffee and can nail french fries, the place is a gem.

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Villa Special Fries Basket

 

Just as I was about to write myself off for my previous opinion about their food, they decided to prove me right. We ordered the Penne Pasta in Pesto Cream Sauce, (make your own). To say that the pasta was a disappointment will be letting it off the hook too easy. We struggled to finish it.

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Penne Pasta in Pesto Cream Sauce

 

We also ordered Crunchy Cream and Mocha Frappe both of which were amazing.

 

Overall Experience: Some places just leave you disappointed beyond reason. The coffee & tea served at Tea Villa Cafe is just plain amazing. The variety, the perfection, is mind blowing. But I would not be giving them another chance for their food definitely!

Food 😦

Service 🙂

Ambience 🙂

The Battle: On the brighter side, it will be a struggle to find one favourite coffee (or tea) here. They are just mind blowing!

Tea Villa Cafe , Bandra – Google Maps

Tea Villa Cafe , Vile Parle – Google Maps
Tea Villa Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Chocolate Heaven [Vile Parle]

The Chocolate Heaven had served as a regular hangout for me long ago and I have wanted to go try all their yummy sundaes and pasta again ever since!

I went here a few days ago, almost around midnight and was welcomed to a quiet cafe with Bollywood songs being played in the background.

Immediately I opened the menu to the pasta section and ordered Spinach Garlic Fusilli Cheese Pasta. The smell of the pasta being prepared really made my mouth water uncontrollably.

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Spinach Garlic Fusilli Cheese Pasta

 

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Spinach Garlic Fusilli Cheese Pasta

Since the pasta is otherwise non-spicy, we added tons of chilli flakes. I just love how the colours pop out in this image. The pasta is very palatable and flavoursome with the perfect cheesy, garlic-y taste. I really had forgotten how amazing this used to be! The Spinach Garlic Fusilli Cheese Pasta is a must have item on their menu.

As we waited for our pasta to arrive, we treated ourselves to some Hot Chocolate and Chilli Garlic Potato Pops. The hot chocolate is basic and the potato pops though really tasty are very low in quantity. The fact that the pasta was so good saved me from the disappointment I would have otherwise faced.

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Hot Chocolate

 

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Chilli Garlic Potato Pops

 

 

The Battle: The one I am fighting right now as my mouth waters for a little, no scratch that, for a lot more of that pasta!!

My two cents: Go here for their yummy pasta and desserts. The ambience may not be amazing, but the food totally makes it worth it!

The Chocolate Heaven – Google Maps

The Chocolate Heaven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato