The Leo Café [Kharghar]

She: I wanna seeeee you!

Me: Oh, I soo wanna meet you yaar. I miss you.

She: Come here then.

Me: No, you come here. There is nothing on that side. Not even good coffee.

She: My campus has this amazing coffee stall and you get my company *wink*

Me: So funny! I want more than just coffee.

She: You can get much more!! *wink* *wink*

Me: Get your head out of the gutter.

She: You come here and get it out or I might just drown!

Me: Drama queen.

She: Plz come? *puppy face*

And that is when I get in my car and head to ‘that’ part of town. Yup, Navi Mumbai again!

This time, our destination was a hole-in-the-wall sort of café, an amazing place, that you would most probably not spot unless you know where to look – The Leo Café.

The Leo Café is a small place located near Glomax Mall. You can pick from the outdoor seating or the indoor section, which again is divided into the lower level and the mezzanine floor, and these combined can seat about 20-25 people.

The café sports a simple decor and the dim lights, soft music and comfortable seating give it a cozy feel. The counter displays a number of cupcakes, pastries and bakes and makes your mouth water the instant you land. The service is friendly but a little slow. So have patience, the wait is generally worth it!!

The menu is quite well spread with some really good breakfast options, continental and a few Indian options too, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. One thing that we noticed was that they have quite a few mushroom based options.

We tried Mushroom Trifoliate, one of the Chef specials. Mushrooms sauteed with lots of garlic and coriander. The mushrooms were a little firm but not chewy and tasted so good. Mildly spicy, this dish made our palate long for more.

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Mushroom Trifoliate
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Pasta in Mafalda Sauce

We then called for Pasta in Mafalda Sauce mainly because it sounded so different from the regular arrabbiata and alfredo and white sauce!

Did it taste different?

Yes, it did. And the experiment was totally worth it!

Mafalda is actually a type of pasta, but they named the sauce Mafalda. Nonetheless, whatever the name be, we loved it!

The pasta in a very spicy and creamy sauce. It was delicious to the point that we licked it off the plate. Loaded with veggies like mushroom, parsley, tomatoes and onions, this is lip-smacking.

Had it not taken so long to arrive,  we would have ordered a couple or more portions for this one!

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Paneer Bhurji and Paratha

After what seemed like ages, probably longer, ‘coz we could smell the goodness but it was nowhere in sight, came the goodness, Paneer Bhurji and Paratha.

Two crispy and heavy laccha parathas with an insanely delicious and mildly spicy Paneer Bhurji.

Loaded with onions, tomatoes, coriander and goodness, this was one of the best bhurji we have had!

Once this made an appearance, I forgot the reason I had been to Kharghar.

Who friend? What is a friend? I only know food. Food is my friend. And I do not share food!

I probably pushed her away a couple of times (that’s what she claims) when she tried to grab a bite from MY paneer bhurji. Like I said, MY food and I do not share it!>:D>:D

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Paneer Bhurji and Paratha

We also tried a couple of mocktails which were made fresh and were refreshing. All had the minty freshness and some portion of orange or pineapple juice.

We tried Leo Love, Leo Sunrise and Chilled Melon and Mint. 

Overall Experience: If I say that it was more than worth the petrol and time spent in reaching Kharghar, does it explain the feelings?

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

P.S.: We said 🙂 for service ‘coz, even though it was slow, it was friendly and worth it!

The Battle: Making up to my friend post the meal. I still get taunted for the day and the bhurji incident!! 😉

The Leo Café – Google Maps

The Leo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Koffee Works [Kharghar]

Coffee works… yes obviously coffee works.. why would you expect otherwise?

For me, only coffee works. And coffee makes things work. It makes Monday work. And it makes work, work!
And then work makes me work, so basically coffee makes me work. So while coffee works for me, I work for coffee.
Oh my, so much coffee!
I think I need coffee!!

You see, I tend to blabber when the caffeine levels in my body lower. And when this happened one morning on our return journey to Mumbai, we detoured towards this (almost) new and much-in-news cafe in Kharghar: The Koffee Works.

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We reached here Sunday at their opening hour, being the first and the only people in the cafe. The Koffee Works is located on the ground floor of a shopping complex in Kharghar, right next to a medical store. Kinda odd location for a coffee shop, with vendors selling vegetables outside, but then, just imagine the fun you would have over your cup of coffee, as you leave behind the rush and noise and the madness.

But in all certainty, you would probably not even be paying attention, coz all the floral prints, the funky knick-knacks, the cutesy lights and the warm ambience would keep you and your thoughts inside the gates. Firmly put. And if you can get over those cute floral couches, then +5 points to you. And if you happen to, with any luck, find where the owners got theirs from, please tell me, oh please!!

 

Here is what we hogged on:

Tomato Mozzarella Panini Sandwich: Before we get to how this was, all I have to say is – you have got to try this!

Tomatoes, Zucchini, Bell Pepper and Jalapenos, top this with lots of mozzarella and oregano. Toasted to perfection, not overly crisp and neither soggy. So delicious, my mouth is still watering at just the thought of it! The pesto was delicious and the combination of pesto and mozzarella gave this sandwich a mouth watering aroma.

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Tomato Mozzarella Panini Sandwich

Peppery Hot Paneer Sandwich was another delicious option. It was not very spicy, but flavourful, with the paneer melting in the mouth. Paneer Tikka Sandwich was strictly okay, nothing like the Hot pepper paneer.

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Mocha Frappe was delightful. Perfect level of sweetness and the chocolatey flavour. Just what you need for the kick!

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Kold Brew on the Rocks and Mocha Frappe

Kold Brew on the Rocks was a delightfully strong combination of black coffee and whipped cream. Served super chilled with ice cubes, this one was refreshing, to say the least.

Red Velvet Shake is a red velvet lover’s fantasy. Thick and consistent, not overly sweet, this is a delight to sip on!

And add to that the dense red velvet cake crumbs on top! 😍

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Red Velvet Shake

The Koffee Works is a great place to hang out and enjoy your caffeine dosage. Head here soon! 🙂🙂

The Koffee Works Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Da Capo Café and Bistro [Kharghar]

Good, bad or jerks… we all have friends. Some are pure bliss to be with while some are a pain in all the wrong places at times. Then there is a category, where they are a pain but still a blessing. I have one such friend, who is a pain coz she practically lives soo far these days – Navi Mumbai and a pure blessing, well coz she is, and ‘coz I get to try some amazing food and visit awesomesauce cafes in Navi Mumbai!

Da Capo Cafe and Bistro is one such impressive cafe in Kharghar. The walls are covered in colourful art and the ceiling is decorated with an artsy rope design. There is a mezzanine seating along with an outdoor smoking area. The cafe is spacious and well lit.

The music is funky and they have many board games to chill with. What I really liked was a small bar-like section, where they prepare coffee and coolers. A coffee bar per say!

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We spent around 4 hours here on an early Saturday morning, shaking our heads to some funky music, licking our fingers and making merry over a game of Monopoly.

Here is a peep into our ‘breakfast turned lunch’ day’s food:

Pancakes – Three pancakes with blueberry sauce. The pancakes were good (who can get them wrong?) The highlight was the blueberry compote. Perfect consistency and no added sweetener, making the taste just perfect!

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Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

Choco-chip coffee – Chocolate-based cold coffee. Not too sweet and not at all watery. But that is not where it ends? You see, the goodness is settled at the bottom – chocolate chips! Loads of those!

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Choco Chip Coffee

Nachos – Crispy tortilla chips, loaded with beans and onions, cheese sauce and salsa. The sour cream is just delicious!

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Nachos

Raise your hands if you like mushrooms. Would you believe if I told you, I never liked mushrooms? In fact I hated them. Why would anyone want to eat something that is, first of all, a fungus and second of all bland? Why… Why would you eat bland fungus? My best friend surprisingly is a fan of this fungi. So for her sake, I started having a bite or two of the mushroom dishes she would order. I don’t remember when it started, but in the end, was that I do not hate mushrooms anymore. And thank god for that, else how would we have tried the heavenly Fungi Fritti at Da Capo.

Fungi Fritti –  Crisp mushrooms, stuffed with spinach, a combination one would sulk at otherwise but saved by the spicy and creamy gravy. The gravy is spicy enough to make you sweat but so palatable that you would kill for just another drop of it. Hesitant at first, there being so many people and all… we literally licked the plate. It is that delicious. It is a must try here!!

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Fungi Fritti

Colours are amazing. We all like colours. But can you imagine your pizza bring colourful? The Rastafarian Pizza is. Carefully color-coordinated toppings, greens and yellows and reds, 12 of your choice on one pizza!! 😮 I guess that is a new definition of loaded for me! Thin crust, cheesy and perfect!

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Rastafarian Pizza

Veggies Stuffed Peppers – What comes to our mind when we hear this, is veggies stuffed in a capsicum, just like the good old vegetable that mum prepares as a bribe to get us to eat capsicum. Accept it, we all ate it for the potato stuffing inside!

Anyway, let us not digress, these stuffed peppers were nothing like that. Non-spicy peppers were stuffed with a filling of cottage cheese (paneer) and cheese with a few tiny pieces of veggies. Served with a delicious heap of flavoured rice, mild-spicy green chutney and sour cream!

Now each of these can be gorged on alone, but do not make that mistake. The delight is in having all of these together. How you manage that is up to you, but we just mixed it all up in a huge messy looking pile, that did not last more than a minute! Super delicious!

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Veggie Stuffed Peppers

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Ginger Lemonade

Ginger Lemonade  – Refreshing with really intense flavours of ginger. I am crushing on the combination of ginger and lemon these days!

Overall Experience: Da Capo Cafe and Bistro has some super delicious food for when you want to indulge! The service is friendly and the ambience chic.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: We literally fought over Fungi Fritti and Stuffed Peppers. Literally. One could hear spoons clanking and forks rattling. An occasional ‘Lay off my food, you gormandizer’ could also be heard!

Da Capo Café and Bistro – Google Maps

Da Capo Cafe & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Café Monza [Kharghar]

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Café Monza is one of the few places I look forward to visiting whenever on this side of emmmm… Mumbai?:p

Yup, I am. I am one of those people who love to tease their Navi-Mumbai based friends for not being Mumbaikars….  you all know the jokes. Don’t deny. We know you do!

But you know what makes me wanna be one of these ‘Not Mumbaikar’ folks? Places like Café Monza (and its next-door neighbour, Da Capo Café and Bistro). And once you try the food here, you will wanna stay nearby as well, so you can relish this goodness day in and day out!!

The ambience is cozy and inviting with light hues and some impressive wall paintings. The café has recently been revamped, only in terms of size though, with a couple of tables added. There is a mezzanine setup as well but I prefer the tables by the window especially during monsoon or in the mornings to watch the cars zoom past and see people hustle away while I enjoy whatever it is that I am eating!!

The smoothies and shakes here are delicious, thick and definitely mean business!!

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Oreo Cookie Shake
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Blueberry Shake

 

 

Oreo Cookie Shake – Thick shake, chocolatey flavour, complete with Oreo crumbs. Loved this!!

Blueberry Shake – The blueberry shake is just dreamy! When they say blueberry shake, they did not mean I will add two drops of blueberry crush on top. No Sir, they meant the perfect blueberry shake, not a mildly flavoured milkshake, consistent both in thickness and in flavour. This one is a must try!

Chocolate Shake  – Thick and chocolatey. This one is for when you do not want anything to come between you and  chocolate.

Mojito Mint – Refreshing combination of mint and lemonade, fizzy and not too sweet.

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Masala Omelette

Masala Omelette – Not much to get wrong here. Full of tempting flavours added by tomatoes, onions and coriander. Fluffy and perfect.

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Penne Paprika

Penne Paprika – Pasta in a chef special creamy paprika sauce, perfectly spiced and cheese. Topped with chilli flakes, oregano and fresh coriander. I still remember the happiness I felt when I had the first bite. The portion size was average but I would recommend this dish to everyone.

Panini Pressed Paneer – Soft pieces of cottage cheese, marinated in a mild pesto sauce. The sandwich overall has a perfect pesto flavour with no hint of spiciness. Grilled and served with crispy fries/ hash brown.We had this on two different occasions, and the taste was consistent.

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Panini Pressed Paneer

Overall Experience : The service is friendly and prompt. They really pay attention to customers. The food is really good and some great music just makes it better.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle : Not having another spoonful or dishful of the pasta is going to be a challenge for sure! And coping with the sadness that the Cafe is not more in the ‘Mumbai’ part of town, is another battle altogether :p

Cafe Monza – Google Maps

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