Bayroute [Cuffe Parade]

From the very moment we entered Bayroute, we were mesmerized by its charm…

Bayroute is uniquely conceptualized to capture the essence of Middle-Eastern culture, all the while being very chic and stylish.

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The décor makes every corner and every wall #Instagramable. Warm lighting, dust-coloured walls and kaleidoscopic window decor add a wave of calm to the entire experience. The music takes this experience a notch higher. You will definitely be transported to a beautiful and artistic magical land.

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Bayroute is not only about the ambience. They have taken care to represent the culture even in the menu. If you pay close attention, the way the menus are read mimic the Arabic style of writing. Such attention to details left a smile on our faces.

Now that we are on the menu, let’s talk about the variety! They have so many options to pick from and so many options within these options! It is quite overwhelming for someone not familiar with the cuisine. We won’t lie, we ourselves knew only certain dishes till date, but we come back with our knowledge expanded and our tummies satisfied.

Here is what we ordered and fell in love with:

 

Arabic Date and Palm Shake – Dates are a very important part of Arabic culture and cuisine. But for us, this was the first time we tried such a combination. In fact, the newness of the combination and the word Arabic adding a dash of excitement that it is an authentic preparation made us order it in the first place. The shake also had a hint of coffee in it making it a very refreshing drink. It was not too sweet (just how we like), rich and very delicious.

Reyhan – This was a very refreshing drink. The citrus-y fragrance kept drawing our attention while we clicked the pictures. Both Basil and Orange were quite strong in the drink but surprisingly none overpowered the other.

Bayroute Kale and Avocado – A deconstructed salad or should be say deconstructed happiness? Kale, avocado, zucchini and purple lettuce tossed in a basic dressing. The tons of cranberries and the lip-smacking tamarind dressing along with the falafel patties added a lot of funk to the greens.

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Muhammara – Muhammara is a Syrian red pepper dip with walnuts, garlic, pomegranate and olive oil. It has a grainy texture and had a spicy undertone. Nothing that makes you cry, but enough to tell you that it is there. We quite liked it. It came with piping hot Pita bread and pickled vegetables. This red dip made us fall in love with it and Google the recipe.

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Peynir Pide – Pide is something we have tried earlier and hence knew what to expect and were not let down either. Pide is a boat/canoe-shaped Turkish flatbread with a variety of toppings. Peynir had chunks of cottage cheese and olives topped with Burrata cheese and the famous Middle Eastern spice Zatar.

 

 

Bayroute Manakeesh – Manakeesh is another flatbread but this one comes from Lebanon-Syria. A Manakeesh traditionally only had spreads and spices on it.
We tried the one that not only had the traditional spices and flavours from the Middle East but also the more contemporary mix of Nutella, Banana and Caramel.

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# Labneh: Thick and creamy yoghurt, made by a technique that strains the curd of most of it’s liquid (hung curd) and renders this creamy yoghurt cheese. Garlic and lime added tanginess to it. Topped with zucchini, bell peppers and olives, this was delicious.

# Za’atar Cheese: Za’atar is an aromatic Mediterranean spice and herb blend. Loved this mix of thyme, oregano and sesame, only made more amazing by cheese!

# Harissa: Not for the faint-hearted, Harissa is the red chilli pepper paste made from a mix of chilli peppers and is most famous in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. These two slices made us cry. Very spicy!

# Nutella: This one needs no explanation but came as a respite for the hot and spicy Harissa slices.

 

Overall Experience: Bayroute is an amazing place, perfect in every way. We highly recommend it!

Bayroute – Google Maps

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Summer House Café [Todi Mill, Lower Parel]

The weekend aways makes us happy. But this time, it left us elated! Like any other day, we zeroed in on a location to satiate our growling tummies. We had heard the place we had selected – Summer House Café, is an amazing one, we just did not know the enormity of the amazingness and hence, were more than underprepared for what hit us once we landed here!

Summer House Café is a dreamy setup, a beautiful place! For us, it felt like another world! Just far away, another country, another landscape, ‘coz surely, something this amazing could not have been here all this time, right?

The white and blue facade with bamboo sticks forming a part of the wall reminded us of a shack in some beach country. Then we entered through the doors and were awestruck by the bustling area and it literally took us a few minutes to take everything in.

Looking around, we wondered, how the wooden beams and columns fit perfectly, how just the right amount of light enters through the glass windows and how beautiful it would be to stare at the sky in the evening.

The ambience makes everything look better. The area is very spacious and superbly lit during the daytime and transforms to a dim lit, fine dine come evening. That’s the upper level. The lower level is still the den of activity. It is a house to comedy shows, band performances, crazy retro dance nights, reading clubs and painting workshops to name few. When we were here, by the evening, a workshop on knife painting led to a colourful chatter here and then, just like in the movies, the entire scene changed to become host to a movie launch party. And we sat there, hogging and marvelling!

The menu here is a maze! There is so much variety that you are confused and yet the humble staff say that they know the variety is limited! Coming to the staff, the service is prompt and friendly and the Chef surely knows how to win you over, en route your stomach!

Here is what we hogged on at Summer House Café –

Yuzu Pineapple Smash – A refreshing combination of lime, yuzu (a citrus fruit giving the drink a slight tart) and basil. Thyme and fennel seeds added a mind-blowing aroma and flavour.

Blueberry Twist Smash – A tangy concoction of blueberry, lime and orange. Rosemary adds a very refreshing flavour. This one packs a sure punch!

Yuzu Pineapple Smash & Blueberry Twist Smash
Yuzu Pineapple Smash & Blueberry Twist Smash

Jalapeno Cheese Poppers – Crispy batter-fried poppers with mozzarella cheese and made spicy with lots of chilli flakes and jalapenos. These are better spelt as ‘perfection’! Pop these and see the cheese oozing out! But make sure you have the poppers before someone snatches them off the plate.

The Haystack Salad – Sprouts, bell peppers, tomatoes, black beans, cucumber, lettuce, corn and more! And topped or rather stacked with crispy tortilla chips. There is a slight hint of sweetness in the salad owing to the ingredients and we would have better liked it with a little bit of black pepper if not chilli to ease out the sweetness.

Nachos with Salsa and Sour Cream – Fresh, crispy tortilla chip loaded with chopped tomatoes, spring onions, jalapenos, black beans, and a tangy salsa sauce. The cheese sauce and sour cream are wonderful!

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Indian Vegetarian Platter, Veg Mezze Platter, Jalapeno Cheese Poppers

Indian Vegetarian Platter – The intense and spicy flavours of the dishes in the Indian vegetarian platter were mind-blowing. Spicy masalas that do justice to the preparations. There were three items in the platter – Char grilled paneer chunks with a smokey flavour and marinated in strong spices. Pineapple presented in a chatpata avatar that we definitely had not tried earlier. The masalas overshadowed the inherent sweetness of the fruit and left a delicious preparation on the sticks.

Soya Kebabs were the star of the show in this platter. Soft soya, marinated in a very spicy sauce, stuffed with veggies, paneer and nuts. This one was amazing! It was served with a yoghurt based dip and a non-spicy mint dip.

Veg Mezze Platter – Consisted of crispy and delicious falafels, feta samosas and crispy soft pita bread. Sticky rice balls were made with the thicker rice, slightly crisp on the outside and had a filling of veggies and a little bit of cheese. The dips are mind-blowing, especially the hummus. We did not really enjoy the feta samosas as they were a bit oily and a little bland for our taste.

Thai Veg Curry – Lots of exotic veggies in a superbly fragrant curry spiced with Thai herbs. It has a mildly spicy aftertaste. We loved the fact that it has just the adequate amount of creaminess and spices. Recommended!

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Thai Veg Curry

Sundried and Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini and Fresh Basil Pizza – Thin crusted pizza that is topped with bocconcini. The combination of bocconcini and the tomato based sauce were marvellous. Topped with sun-dried and cherry tomatoes and basil leaves, this pizza is a delight. We especially loved the crusty corners and the fresh aroma added by the basil.

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Sundried and Cherry Tomatoes, Bocconcini and Fresh Basil Pizza

Pesto Tomato Basil and Mozzarella Sandwich – Overloaded with cheese and pesto, this is a simple yet delightful sandwich in a crispy panini bread. The sandwich primarily has lots of tomatoes and a non-spicy pesto sauce.

Tiramisu – Tiramisu here is a must-have! Not only is it perfect, it also has a surprise for you! The creamy dessert is served in a glass along with rum soaked bread. We could not figure out why this bread tasted so good even after we had scavenged it through the deep ends of the glass. The chef then let us in on this secret. The strong essence and flavours that the rum bread and coffee add are mind-boggling!

Mega Brownie Sundae Mug – This should be called Mega Happiness Sundae Mug! Delicious, soft and crunchy brownie with lots and lots of vanilla ice cream that was threatening to melt! Made a hell lot messy and tasty by the chocolate sauce and finished with a cherry on top!

Carrot Cake With Whipped Cream – A soft spongy cake with intense cinnamon flavour, lots of nuts and whipped cream. We loved how gooey and soft it was.

The Ultimate Banoffee Pie – If we were not averse to bananas, this one would have been the dessert for us at Summer House Café. It is without a doubt on the sweeter side, but the toffee sauce makes you want to dig in for just another bite till you have licked the glass and the spoon and maybe even the plate! Heavenly!

Overall Experience:  First, the ambience blows you away and then you are washed over by the astonishingly delicious food and delicate flavours! We were looking at each other with baffled expression after every bite!  Highly recommended!

Summer House Café – Google Maps

Summer House Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

In Bandra and Looking for an Escape from Chaos? Head to One of These 7 Cafés and Breathe easy!

There is no dearth of options in Bandra, be it in terms of food or shopping or for that matter pretty sights! But then there is no shortage or traffic and crowd and total chaos as well.

The next time you are in Bandra and want to skip the madness, head to one of these cafés and relax!

Eat Around The Corner

True to its name, it is located in a corner of a lane, far away from the hustle and bustle. The café is beautiful and trendy with comfortable indoor seating and dreamy outdoor one. They have a large variety of grub to offer from, ranging from salads to burgers and the desserts here are to die for! Grab a corner outside, under the trees and enjoy a cup of coffee and a red velvet pastry. Or make that two pastries, ‘coz no one is watching!😉

Bombay Coffee House

Bombay Coffee House is a beautiful and peaceful coffee shop on linking road. There is a variety of coffee on offer along with some delicious croissants and pastries. They also have books and board games if that is your calling for the day. What we love is to sit by the window and be lost in our work while the world goes by – Linking road is that busy, we all know it! Bombay Coffee House will be your safe heaven on this busy road!

♥ The Bagle Shop

Tucked away in a corner of Carter road, many do not know this place exists, let alone that it serves kick-ass bagels! You will find many, who just come here to work and/or discuss in silence or just enjoy a good cup of coffee. The ambience is cozy and the greenery makes it cool. The Bagle Shop should be your go-to place for fresh air, a bagel and a smoothie.

Birdsong – The Organic Café

Hidden away from the world in one of Bandra’s narrow bylanes is this amazing café  – great place, almost straight out of a song! Calm and tranquil ambience. It is one of the places you wanna get lost in for hours. They serve delicious organic food although it definitely is pricey. Go here for a great cup of coffee and a corner to immerse yourself in a great book or a good conversation.

♥ Desi Deli

Although Desi Deli is located on a really busy street and is an open-air café, it makes for a good option if you want to just stop by and watch. They serve delicious breakfast options and smoothies or you can go simple with a strong cup of coffee!

♥ Pali Village Café

Pali Village Café is much more than just a café. It is an exquisite experience. The place is quaint and has a very vintage feel to it. It is not easy on the pocket for sure, but worth the visit be it for lone musings or cozy conversations.

Candies (Pali Hill)

As mainstream as this recommendation sounds, it is a place worth mentioning. The Pali Hill outlet of Candies is both chaotic and peaceful. Pick your favourite corner and be lost there for hours on end, no one will question your presence. We love the rooftop areas, they are just perfect!

Although it is not exhaustive, hope this list helps you with your Bandra musings!

Did we miss any place that should have made it to the list? Mention it in the comments! 🙂

MasalaBar [ Carter Road, Bandra]

Food Is Music To Body And Music Is Food To Heart – Gregory Roberts

And we revelled in this music at Masala Bar. An evening full of surprises, to the taste buds and to the soul.

Masala Bar is another feather in the cap of the infamous Kalra duo. Located above CCD at Carter Road, it provides an unrestricted view of the shore, the busy Carter road and of course the sunset!

The decor is minimal yet luxe and classy. The seating is spread over a mid-sized area with a very prominent and uniquely done up bar counter that you notice as you step in. Black and brown, silver and ivory are the colours that decorate this restaurant. The main items of decor are mirrors and candles, in hexagonal arrangements and enclosures to render an amazing space.

MasalaBar opens at 5 pm and their timing could not have been better considering the theme and location. The entire restaurant is sun-kissed at this hour.

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Come evening, it transforms so beautifully into an oasis of light! It is dreamy once the entire place is lit up by candles. Just B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. It is one of the places that pull off candles and minimal lights with elan. The warmth that the place breathes due to this lighting will never let you want to leave voluntarily! We were mesmerised!

MasalaBar is one of the places that pull off candles and minimal lights with elan. The warmth that the place breathes due to this lighting will never let you want to leave voluntarily! We were mesmerised!

 

MasalaBar has recently revamped their entire menu, adding new classy dishes while keeping a few old favourites as well. Change is the only Constant philosophy at work! But are we loving the change? The answer is an astounding Yes!

And here is whay we said ‘Yes’….

Mocktails

Heaven On Earth – A refreshing and tangy combination of Watermelon, Cranberry and Passion Fruit! First, the fruity fragrance hits you and then basil adds freshness to it.

Berry Cooler – An amazing blend of Strawberries, Cranberries and Wild Berries and topped up with soda.

Mulled Masala Punch – A mildly sweet and unique mix of masala tea reduction and orange juice. Tea dominates the flavours in this drink. It was really refreshing, which is a surprise considering the combination is so different!

Sea Side – If you are a fan of coconut milk in your mocktails, this one is for you. Orange juice, grapefruit and coconut cream, this one is very much on the lines of a pina colada.

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Salad

Figs and Honey, Carpaccio of Watermelon and Feta Salad – Arugula with a balsamic dressing forms the bed of the salad. Cherry tomatoes, figs and thinly sliced watermelon (carpaccio) along with Feta Cheese are added. The feta was fresh and soft and delicious. Cherry tomatoes complemented the sweetness of figs well. Watermelon adds freshness to the entire combination. Loved it!

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Figs and Honey, Carpaccio of Watermelon and Feta Salad

Appetizers

Baked Potatoes, Sweet and Spicy Beetroot and Apple, Sweet Fennel Yogurt – Potato skins stuffed with a mixture of beetroot and green apple, topped with cheese and baked. The stuffing is non-spicy and very mildly sweet owing to the beetroots. It has a very strong smokey flavour and fragrance. Dressed with sweet fennel yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. We loved biting into these. Burnt cheese on top does wonders to the filling inside and the combination of potato and cheese is surprisingly good!

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Carbon Bhaji, Carbon Pav – A black twist to the regular pav bhaji. Carbon Pav Bhaji is prepared by adding edible charcoal to the bhaji as well as to the buns/pav. The bhaji is non-spicy but has very strong presence of garam masala giving it a lip-smacking aftertaste. Very finely mashed potatoes, onions, cilantro, fennel seeds (saunf), tomatoes and lots of garlic and garnished with baby carrots. The bhaji also has very earthy flavour. Pav is fresh and almost of the colour of soot. It well complements the bhaji.

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Carbon Bhaji, Carbon Pav

Main Course

Asparagus & Bok Choy Biryani, Black Sesame Curd – The biryani is so fragrant that we almost did not wait to click the picture! Asparagus and fried onions did wonders together and left our mouths watering! Biryani is non-spicy and flavourful. There was definitely no need of any accompaniment with the biryani but a spoonful of black sesame curd does not it (on the sweeter side).

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Asparagus & Bok Choy Biryani, Black Sesame Curd

Desserts

Mango Cardamom Cheese Cake, Banana and Butterscotch Waffle – Now this is what we call ending on a high note! Cardamom base with mango cheesecake. The waffle was crisp and had the perfect butterscotch flavour without being too sweet. Elaichi banana drizzled in caramel added a twist. Strawberry sauce and mango pulp garnish made this a mind-boggling combination! Smooth and creamy, the cheesecake melted in the mouth.  No wonder we were on a sugar high post-gorging on this!

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Mango Cardamom Cheese Cake, Banana and Butterscotch Waffle

 

Overall Experience – MasalaBar was a one of a kind experience with delicious food, warm hospitality and beautiful ambience.

 

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P.S.: Go here at least a little before the sun sets, the view and ambience are amazing and you get to see how the place transforms!

Someone said – The only way to see the Sunset, is to ride into it! But after experiencing MasalaBar, we can safely say – One of the best ways to see the Sunset, is to dine alongside it!  😍

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MasalaBar – Google Maps

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

Mockingbird Cafe Bar [Churchgate]

I passed by you and looked at you longingly but carried on my way…😍

I checked you out and bookmarked you but never stepped inside….😱

That is what happened every time I passed the brown door, the name of the restaurant peeking through the green foliage. I always thought to myself, ‘I have to visit this place’, and finally we did! Mockingbird Cafe Bar is a library cafe or a food-library as they call it, dedicated to amazing books and some delicious food (with a twist). A beautiful, happening place welcomes you as you pull open that door.

 

Words and quotes cover the walls, lights and art hang from the ceiling, and you might take a few minutes just to select the spot where you wanna sit at. It has a mezzanine seating, with books stuck in the walls. These are some of the owner’s favourite books. A small blue clock here and a random quote from a great book there, the place is a maze! The bar area is done up in striking red and black and just screams for attention, which you would happily give it!

The place was packed with a crowd of all age groups. The service was quick despite the fact that it was a packed Saturday afternoon. The menu is wide with something for everyone, from sandwiches to pasta, from cocktails to coffee!

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Just like that, for no reason, we started with Swiss Chocolate Roll. Even before we tell you anything else, we have to say, if you visit here and do not try this, might as well skip the visit. This is just so good! Soft, melt-in-the-mouth cake covered in lip-smacking chocolate.  The delicious chocolate sauce, the central blueberry cream layer and the bed of vanilla just added to the taste! We had the perfect start! 😍

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We then ordered Hummus Platter with Red Pepper, Basil and Thai dips – The dips served were very fresh and delicious. Our favourite one was the Red Pepper Hummus which was a little more spiced compared to the other two subtle flavours. The dips could really be licked off the bowl and eaten without any bread! The crisp Lavash and Pita served with the platter were fresh.

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Nacho Salad was just heavenly. 
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Creme Brulee

Overall Experience: One word- Amazing!! Just perfect. The ambience, the decor, service and the food. All were above excellence!

Mockingbird Cafe Bar – Google Maps

Mockingbird Cafe Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters [Mahalaxmi]

 

We am a caffeine addict. Whoever knows us knows that we are suckers for good coffee. But our coffee universe is quite small even after being crazy about it. Recently, we have been trying to expand this universe. When you love something, you gotta know all their many faces right?

This was one aspect that attracted us to Blue Tokai Coffee Roaster. Blue Tokai Coffee is not a place for the novices, so definitely not a place for those of us (yes, us) who know two kinds of coffee – Cold Coffee and Cappuccino and sometimes a third one, Latte. Though, that should not refrain anyone of us from treating our taste buds with some strong, mind-blowing coffee.

Let’s get to some Coffee business, shall we?

Cold Brew – Black coffee served cold (and with more ice), this is not for the faint-hearted. Pour the sugar syrup with care. Very strong coffee aroma and a mild chocolaty flavour.

Coffee Tonic – Coffee meets tangy in this unique combination of tonic (red bull) and espresso. Tangy taste gives a strong caffeine kick.

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Coffee Tonic

Affogato – This is more of a coffee and ice cream based dessert. Two scoops of Vanilla ice cream with espresso. You first devour the delicious coffee flavoured ice cream and then drink the coffee.

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Affogato

We tried some of their mind-blowing desserts and munchies as well.

Custard Cruffin – A marvellous twist to the good ‘ol croissant, delicious creamy custard oozing out with every bite. Dusted with powder sugar this beauty is a must-have here! ❤❤

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Almond Croissant – Perfectly flaky and buttery, the outer layer was crisp and glazed with honey and topped with lots of almonds. The inner layers were soft, buttery and had sugar syrup, not making them too sweet, but rather just perfect ❤

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Cheddar and Pepper Cookie

 

Overall Experience: Amazing. Just perfect. Peaceful calm ambience, good music, a window facing seat and confusingly good coffee. The service is amazing as well and they readily help you make a choice or tell you the right way to go about your coffee.

Information: The gates of this place are sometimes closed for customers because they have various coffee brewing/cake baking/etc. etc. sessions. It is better to check for updates on their social media pages before you drive all way to town and through the narrow lanes near Shakti Mills in hopes of a good cup of coffee. ‘Coz that hurts, believe us, we have been there and done that.

Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters – Google Maps

Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato