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

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Artika Café [White Town, Pondicherry]

First look at Artika Café and you feel like you are in a slow-motion video of some lost town. Time probably, literally stops here! Artika Café is one of the best places to laze around in Pondicherry.

 

It is essentially a black and white shot, with a random table or two adding the colours. Dry leaves and white bougainvillaea decorate the courtyard, giving the feel of a never-ending autumn. The quietness here can be the brand ambassador for Pondicherry’s ‘Peaceful Pondicherry’ tagline! This peacefulness is what drew us here and kept us here and what made us never want to get up and leave!

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A narrow and beautiful shrub covered path led us to the graffiti and mural-covered courtyard. There are a few tables in the open courtyard and a few lounge chairs in the shade covered area to just stretch and relax.

There are a few tables inside as well, in an old, pretty worn-out house but we chose outside, obviously!

There is an art gallery and a shop inside, which sort of seems like the thing in Pondicherry!

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Once we had taken in the amazing surroundings and rested for a few good minutes, we asked for the menu, which is another surprise. They give you a big handmade paperboard menu that is handwritten – art all the way!

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There are quite a few breakfast options, sandwiches, baguettes and crepes to pick from.

They have some really good combos to pick from. The food ranges from affordable to average pricey but one can easily find something

 

according to their budget.

Another good thing here is the free WiFi for as long as you want.

The service is prompt and super friendly.

 

 

We had a Ratatouille and Cheese Sandwich. The aroma of the ratatouille being prepared made our mouths water! The sandwich was delicious, non-spicy ratatouille with lots of veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and more with lots of mozzarella cheese! It was lip-smacking!

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Ratatouille & Cheese Sandwich

We also had Mango Lassi which was more like thick mango pulp smoothie! It was very refreshing and filling!

Artika Café and Gallery should be where you head to, to chill on a hot summer day or to get your work done in peace. And if nothing, a few hours of peace don’t hurt!

We had an amazing time at Artika Café, do tell us about yours!!

Artika Café [Pondicherry] – Google Maps

Artika Cafe Gallery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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