Words & Photography | Anjeeta Nayer
Mumbai, in recent years, has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts. Young intrepid entrepreneurs have taken it on themselves, to transform the city’s dining and entertainment landscape. As a result, new restaurants, cafes and bars seem to be mushrooming all over this megalopolis, crazy real-estate prices notwithstanding.
One such eatery, which has been creating quite a buzz, since it opened, is Café Zoe, situated in the midst of Mumbai’s rapidly gentrifying, erstwhile textile-mill district, Lower Parel. I hadn’t been able to get to Café Zoe, the last time I visited Mumbai, so this time around, I made a concentrated effort as I dragged my parents along for the ride.
The café took some effort to get too, as it is located at the far corner of the gritty, industrial Mathuradas Mill compound. After driving through narrow alleyways and various treacherous twists and turns, we finally arrived at the large steel portal which fronts the café. As you enter the café’s cavernous, lofty space you can’t help but notice the myriad scrumptious baked goods and sweets treats, lined for sale at the café’s all-glass bakery counter.
The rest of the décor of this two-storey café can best be described as New York City café -inspired. The ornamentation at Café Zoe features exposed brick walls adorned with large, framed black and white prints and shabby chic sofas, along with rather utilitarian, pale wood furniture as seating.
The upper level of the café offers additional seating featuring a full size bicycle as a part of its décor–an accoutrement of choice at many a café round the world nowadays. Also located on the lower level, is a large bar area offering a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic brews, and an entire side-wall space, featuring shelving heavy with gourmet treats for sale.
The menu at Café Zoe features international eats. The eatery also offers daily specials which are typed up and listed on single sheet of paper placed on every table. The three of us chose our dishes, half a roast chicken, a turkey sandwich and quinoa topped with roasted vegetables from the a la carte menu supplied. All three plates were I am happy to report, substantial, tasty and priced right.
A round of herbal teas and a desert of flourless bitter chocolate cake with espresso cream rounded off our excellent meal.
Friendly service, good food and reasonable prices sealed the deal for me at Café Zoe and I do hope to be back for more.