Address: 10, Ropewalk Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra India
Time: 8 AM to 12 Midnight
Meals for two: Rs. 650
Cuisines: Cafe, Salad
Facilities: Breakfast, Wine, Wifi, Brunch
Shhh! There’s a new wine bar cafe in town. Surprise, surprise… there was no hype or hoopla surrounding its launch. But then, keeping a low profile is in its DNA as it’s been sired by the simply named Kala Ghoda Cafe. Beloved, quiet and an institution. It started off as a seriously tiny space. Last year, it quietly stretched itself into a “Dining Room”. And just as quietly, very recently it opened its “den” wine bar, a new “tapas” menu. I’d re-discovered KGC last year, thanks to award-winning filmmaker Ashim Ahluwalia, a regular here. But this time, I owe this discovery to the beauty with brains, Niharika Singh actress, former Miss India and founder, Green Beauty Secrets (awesome non-toxic alternatives in the beauty business). She took time off her shooting for feature films, advertising campaigns, and music videos to spend an early evening with me. And we met up with the vivacious creative director, Prerna Saraff and philosopher and yoga teacher Ewa Simone.
Kala Ghoda Cafe, Fort, Mumbai: Decor & Service
Walk past the dining area to the back into the cosy, dimly lit, comfy, wood-paneled room. Worn velvet drapes, lamps, tiles et al. The vibe is young and the General Manager, Asmita Kabre ensures friendly service and encourages feedback.
Kala Ghoda Cafe, Fort, Mumbai: Food
Since it was early evening, we sampled the KGC and the new bar menu, too. Deliciously calorific dishes and many tasty, gluten-free, healthy ones, too. Must try: Gluten-free desi Waffles, Pancakes, Ragi Pizzas, too. Robustly spiced Parsi Pora, Salli Boti with Oat ‘n’ Flax Roti highly recommended. I was told they’re the Parsi owner’s mom’s recipes. Chef Nilesh Patade’s Chicken Yakitori with pickled radish, Blue Monster Pizza with blue cheese come up tops in the bar bites. Niharika’s favorites turn out to be mine too. Flavorful Kodo Millet Veg Burger, succulent Mutton Sandwich, healthily delicious Green Monster and the flavorsome Thai Rawas.
OMG! Must try the famed, addictive, though ordinary looking, Almond Cake. Moist, sticky Ginger ‘n’ Date Cake, and hey! Can chocolate cake made of ragi taste good? Here it does. Thanks to their state of the art wine preservation system, wines are available by the glass (including many a must try Indian ones).
Kala Ghoda Cafe, Fort, Mumbai: Minus Points
Parking is impossible. Some of the salads could do with crisper leaves, mushy baby bravas. Ditto for the Mushroom Stew. Oversweet Choco Sundae. No hard spirits or beer, only wines and sake.
Kala Ghoda Cafe, Fort, Mumbai: My Point
A Wi-Fied, unpretentious, home away for home for many (love that). Not only does the low profile owner Farhad Bomanjee brew his own superb coffee, but also ensures that food here reflects care and a commitment to fresh ingredients and the menu balances between healthful, sinful, gluten-free and vegan (kudos). Now with Mutton Boti and Ragi Pita you can tipple on many an undiscovered wine by the glass and listen to music. It’s a labour of obvious and obsessive love. (I love THAT!)