Food Review: Café Zoe, Todi Mathuradas Mills Compound, Lower Parel

The all-day diner at Lower Parel, Café Zoe, which was shut for renovation, reopened recently.  Along with my colleagues Chetna and Niyaz, I hopped in for lunch and had a gluttonous time there.

When the three month old diner shut down there were speculations and rumours about license and BMC issues. But the fact is that that we needed to overcome some teething problems and thought it’s best to shut down for a week or two”, says Tarini Mohindar, co-founder and Managing Director of Black Sheep Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.
There are no visible changes in the décor except that the bar is a lot bigger and the mezzanine floor which was used as an office space earlier is open for dinner. The small reading area and comfortable couches made us instantly crib about our office cubicles. A board at the entrance also says free Wi Fi and free natural light. Now isn’t this what all the freelancers of this city want? To work peacefully without being bothered by the waiters. So the next time a coffee shop asks you to leave once you’re done with your cuppa, you know where to go. We were also told the evening are even better once the mood are lights switched on. Besides we think ‘a drink after work’ is the best way to start your Fridays.
Moving on to the food, the menu has been upgraded to suit the vegetarian palate with the addition of salads, sandwiches, and a choice of vegetarian pastas and risottos. We started our lunch session with green apple rock martini, guava spice, and melon mule. The martini was a little too sweet when it arrived but the bartender did a quick fix to bring it to my taste. Melon mule was refreshing with its ginger ale and an overpowering mint flavour but guava spice was an instant hit. The strong chilli flavour woke us up from our sleepy state. We couldn’t stop wondering how well this mocktail would taste with some Bacardi/Vodka thrown in.
For the main course we ordered 3 Way Cannelloni from the legume section, Grilled Tenderloin Steak, and Prawn Capellini. We quite loved the cannelloni which came stuffed with artichoke, mushrooms, and tomato. The tomato based sauce reminded me of something that I make at home, well almost. Our steak was, unfortunately, tough and chewy; probably we should’ve ordered it medium and not well done. The prawn was a bit dry but had a very Mangalorean taste to it which we quite liked. The food was good if not great but we wish they would’ve given more attention to the presentation.
Done with our main course we had our eyes on the desserts section next. Grinning from ear to ear we ordered a crème brulee, panacotta, and hazelnut chocolate mousse cake. Crème brulee was almost perfect except for the caramel that was a little too sticky. Panacotta had very thin consistency and we didn’t touch it beyond a spoon especially after the mousse cake arrived. Can a combination of hazelnut and chocolate ever go wrong? Think Ferrero Rocher before you answer that.
Happy with the interiors more than the food, we left reluctantly. Now, if only we had our laptops with us we would’ve sat there for endless hours with a round of cappuccinos and sandwiches in the evening.
Kharcha: 1500 + taxes (without alcohol)
On the burp scale: 3.5/5
VFM: 3.5/5

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