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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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?
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.
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.
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!
The Battle: On the brighter side, it will be a struggle to find one favourite coffee (or tea) here. They are just mind blowing!
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.
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.
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!
I am in a happy mood today, so I shall tell you a story.
Once upon a time, two people decided they were super-duper hungry and had to find a good place to eat. They looked far and wide but for some reason, the universe was conspiring against them that day. Wherever they went, they were faced with one predicament or another; either they could not find parking or they could not come to terms with eating Chinese or worse, some places were shut ‘coz u know – hip places open in the evening. And some perfectly fine places they came across, they just could not agree with each other.
Defeated, they wandered in the bylanes of Juhu. It seemed that they would have to go hungry that day. When all hope seemed lost and they were ready to give up and have roadside dosa….. they came across a tiny board a little ahead that said “The Spare Kitchen” and pointed north. With renewed energy, they made their way towards the ray of hope. Hastily they made their way inside, took in the surroundings and smiled to themselves. And then they ate till to their heart’s content. The End!
Now let me tell you a secret – I am one of the protagonists in the story. Awesome, I know!! And no, I am not going to give any explanations as to why I was behaving like I live in medieval times and could not use the internet to locate a place to eat.
Anyway, let’s get talking about ‘The Spare Kitchen’ now. If I had to describe the place in a few words, I would say cozy, spacious and inviting. And when I say spacious, I mean very spacious. The place is huge with multiple dining sections, each having a unique appearance. There is a wide-spread dining area (like any other fine dine restaurant), a bar area, an outside seating area perfect for chilling with a group of friends over a match and two lounge areas – one in the interior complete with blue lights, et. al and one in the exterior with TVs for individual sofas. Yup, it’s that huge.
The menu also has a good spread with many options of what they call ‘Progressive Indian Food’ and elaborate explanations. They also have a ‘Ninza’ section which is ‘Pizza on a Naan base’ where they let you decide the toppings. This is in addition to the ‘Make your own Pizza’ option. We were not in the mood for pizza, maybe next time we will get a Ninza! If you are not in the mood for North Indian food, you have options like pasta, risotto and burgers to choose from. But I have a feeling that if you choose to sit in the dining area…. north Indian options are going to tempt you.
I decided to begin with the dessert. That is another thing I do, I tend to order dessert first even though the servers give me curious looks when I ask for the dessert menu first. Chances are, if they get the desserts right, they will most probably get the food right!
So we decided to order the Thandai Panna Cotta with Benarasi Paan Macaroons. I know what you are thinking. I ordered it for the same intriguing name and description too. The panna cotta was creamy and melted in the mouth without any trace of lumps. Made to perfection. The top red layer added to the charm of this wobbly and delicate dessert. The macaroons were tenderly crispy, but really tiny and had a distinct paan flavour. All in all, it was amazing.
The next we ordered Wok tossed Chilli Garlic Paneer. The paneer aka cottage cheese was soft and supple but the dish had a little too much oil. It was the right amount of spicy and was served beautifully. A little less oil and I would say 5/5.
We ordered the Assorted Papad Platter which came with four types of papads (three pieces of each). My favourite was the topi masala papad served in small glasses. They also give a papad, sauce and pickle platter over and above this. That means we had way too many papads to finish. Not that I am complaining. I am a Marwari, papad for me is what fries are for burgers. A meal like this is not complete without them. Though I would have appreciated if the server had informed us about this.
From the ‘Progressive Mains’ we ordered the Kadhai Velvet Seekh Masala to go with Chilli Garlic Naan. The dish blew my mind away. It really made me forget that the appetizer had almost disappointed me. The quantity is amazing. We had to over stuff ourselves and yet we could not finish it. The gravy was amazing; tangy and spicy. I can easily place it in my list of top ten best north Indian vegetables I have had if I had a list like that.
We were almost exploding. But you have to have dessert after a meal, irrespective of the fact that you began with it! So we ordered something very basic – Icecream. Two small scoops, one vanilla and one chocolate served with chocolate sauce.
The Battle: Leaving the place. It has a great ambience and you will want to spend a little more time here. Also, trying to finish the kadhai vegetable was a challenge. Even after two helpings each, we had to get it parcelled!!
PS: Do not worry about parking, they have ample space and have valet facility too.