Coffee connoisseurs in South Mumbai are in for a treat! After giving you a full run down on the best coffee spots in the suburbs, we carried out a thorough recce on the opposite side of the city and narrowed down on eight of the chicest places there are for SoBo residents to relish their favorite beverage. Whether you like your coffee served with a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea or in traditional South Indian style or even with a generous helping of fried food, we have got you covered. From trendy hipster cafés in Kala Ghoda to pretty little French crêperies in Nariman Point make sure you enjoy this dreamy monsoon season with a steaming cup of perfectly-brewed coffee.
Concept: Tiny, unambiguous and a rooted part of Mumbai’s history the charming Samovar Café is a name now synonymous with the beautiful Jehangir Art Gallery within which it sits. The humble yet delicious food and fresh hot coffee served at the café has been sampled by art-world legends like MF Hussain, Sabbavala and Amitabh Bachchan who would frequent the café during their youth.
What to order: The coffee menu may be limited but the coffee is exemplary. The creamy frothy Cappuccino (Rs.60) is a treat for your senses while the piping hot Café Latte (Rs.50) is superb. The Espresso (Rs.40) just like the rest of the coffee, is prepared using fresh roasted beans and is strong and aromatic. The Kheema Paratha (Rs.110) is definitely worth ordering as is the super filling Mutton Biryani (Rs.145). The Dahi Vada (Rs.75) also makes for a decent snack along with a cup of coffee.
Why you’ll be back: Simple yet mesmerizing the homely café with its paper napkins, cane chairs and friendly waiters is the destination of choice for artists, students, tourists and bohemians alike. Having several cups of coffee while binging on fried food and chatting endlessly with your friends is almost like a rite of passage for most of Mumbai’s young art lovers.
Address: Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai 7. Food for Thought, Flora Fountain
Concept: Tucked away inside one of Mumbai’s most-loved bookstores, Kitab Khana is a delightful little café with pale pista walls adorned by canvas prints of movie posters, dark wood furniture and warm lighting. The quaint European-style eatery simply oozes with old-world charm.
What to order: Fun, simple and quirky would the best way to describe the menu. Try the café’s signature Bhel Puri Sandwich (Rs. 250) for a flavorful filling snack or opt for a portion of yummy Quesadillas (Rs.180) for something a bit lighter to go with your coffee. The Café Mocha (Rs.100) is terrific and the Cappuccino (Rs.90) is sweetened to perfection. For something stronger and cooler the Iced Black Coffee (Rs.150) is the way to go while its milkier version (Rs.150) also delights. The Hot Apple Tea (Rs. 100) tastes as delicious as it sounds and pairs best with a lovely slice of Baked Cheesecake (Rs.210)
Why you’ll be back: Understated elegance, immaculately made coffee and a fantastic selection of books makes the café the ultimate place in the city for a little bit of solitude on a rainy afternoon this side of the city.
Address: Kitab Khana, Somaiya Bhavan, 45/47 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Flora Fountain, Fort, Mumbai. 6. Café at The NCPA, Nariman Point
Concept: Hidden by tall towering palm trees and overlooking the Arabian Sea is the beautiful little Café at the NCPA. The calm, tranquil eatery sits right next to the iconic NCPA theatre and makes for a delightful place for a relaxed cup of coffee.
What to order: With a name like Farrokh Khambata being associated with the kitchen, it comes as no surprise then that the quality of the food being served at the café is superlative; the same can also be said about the quirky coffee menu on offer. Experiment with a Maple Burst (Rs.190) which is a double ristretto shot with maple syrup, cream and a light dusting of chilli or go for the Shaking Amadeus (Rs.190) which is a classic creamy coffee with a spicy cinnamon twist. The aromatic Cappuccino (Rs.150) and the Double Espresso (Rs.150) are also both excellently prepared. The Chicken and Shrimp Dimsum (Rs.230) and delicious Vietnamese Bahn Mi (Rs.390) both make for interesting accompaniments.
Why you’ll be back: The soothing sound of the waves, the magical pink sky of the setting sun, delicious food prepared in a charming open kitchen and above all, outstanding coffee is bound to make the café your go to place for satisfying your evening caffeine fix.
Address: Gate No. 2, National Centre For The Performing Arts, Next to Amadeus, Nariman Point, Mumbai. 5. The Pantry, Kala Ghoda
Concept: Its high ceilings, European-inspired décor, white wooden interiors and lovely little window seats make The Pantry one of the chicest eateries this side of the city. Despite its subtle elegance the charming bistro also exudes a warm, welcoming and homely vibe.
What to order: The coffee selection on offer is endless. From the inside-warming Caramel Cappuccino (Rs. 145) to the milky Organic Vanilla Latte (Rs. 145) the coffee is exquisite. The Pantry Cold Coffee (Rs. 175) and rich and thick Hot Chocolate (Rs.125) are also absolute must haves. The traditional Quiche Lorraine (Rs.245) is just how we like it with ample ham and the The Banoffee Tart (Rs.165) is exceptionally sweet. The sandwiches are great too especially with the bread being fresh and baked daily and the cheese being brought in from Pondicherry.
Why you’ll be back: The pretty-as-a-picture café apart from inducing artistic inspiration also offers free WiFi making it a great place to spend the day working on your laptop over multiple cups of coffee.
Address: Yeshwant Chambers, Military Square Lane, Near Trishna, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai
4. Café Madras, Matunga
Concept: Ask any SoBo resident where you get the best filter coffee in the city and the answer will unanimously be Café Madras. An institution of sorts, the no-nonsense simple café with its traditional Tamilian fare and friendly staff packs in oodles of its own unique charm.
What to order: The idlis (Rs.27) are fluffy and fragrant and served with a salty coconut chutney and are a must try, especially the butter ones (Rs.38). The yummy dosas are made to your liking and available in various different flavors from a spicy Onion Rava Masala (Rs.50) to crisp Butter Sada (Rs.33). Other mouthwatering South Indian staples on offer include a filling Appam and Stew (Rs.80) and excellent Bisibele (Rs.38) however; the star of the show is the café’s glorious filter coffee (Rs.22). Fresh, aromatic, perfectly-prepared and extremely satisfying it is easy to get addicted to one of the city’s most-loved coffees.
Why you’ll be back: The allure of delicious early morning dosas and outstanding filter kaapi in steel bowls makes the lovely little eatery a favorite breakfast destination for most of the city.
Address: 38 B, Circle House, King’s Circle, Matunga East, Mumbai
Concept: Quaint and contemporary with a distinct French feel to it, the tiny crêperie – café is easily one of the coolest places in the city to unwind over coffee.
What to order: The buttery crepes available at Suzette are prepared in the pure Brittany tradition and are unlike any other in Mumbai. The Campagne (Rs.400) is bacon-tastic and the Melted Belgian Chocolate (Rs.210) is unparalleled. The coffee too is exquisite. From the heavenly Café Viennois laden with whipped cream (Rs. 160) to the delicious Cold Coffee (Rs.160) you surely are in for a treat. Even the Cappuccino (Rs. 120) is brilliant but, an absolute favorite however, is the lip-smackingly rich and thick Nutel’latte (Rs.160). The flavorful coffee at the eatery can be attributed to a subtle 100% Arabica blend which the café sources from South India.
Why you’ll be back: The scarce number of tables, comfortable cushioned seating and dim mellow lighting makes the French-inspired eatery a lovely spot for a quiet romantic evening.
Address: Ground Floor, Atlanta Building, Nariman Point, Mumbai. 2. Kala Ghoda Café, Kala Ghoda
Concept: For many, including us, visiting the tiny little unpretentious café for the first time resulted in love at first sight. Cozy and comfy this charming well lit-café located in the heart of Mumbai’s art scene is one of its kind.
What to order: The coffee menu is as organic as it is divine. The fresh coffee served at the café is directly sourced from ecologically-aware plantations in the South of Indian and brewed by them personally. The chocolaty Mocachino (Rs.145) is just right as is the frothy Cappuccino (Rs.90). Order the strong aromatic Espresso (Rs.70) along with the delicious classic BLT (Rs.210) for a perfect balance of flavors. The Affogato, (Rs.110) which is Vanilla ice cream topped with espresso is sinful as is the Iced Latte (Rs. 110). The moist Carrot Cake (Rs.110) is simply sublime and a huge crowd favorite.
Why you’ll be back: Sitting on the café’s white plastic chairs, indulging in some people-watching while simultaneously digging into a scrumptious breakfast seems like the ideal way to spend a bright lazy Sunday morning.
Address: Kala Ghoda Café, 10 Ropewalk Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort
1. The Sea Lounge, The Taj, Colaba
Concept: Pale sea-coloured walls and upholstery, warm wooden flooring, soft lighting radiating from elegant chandeliers, a breathtaking view of the Arabian Sea and a pianist gently playing soothing music. The first floor of the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel is home to one of the most magical coffee shops in the city. Exuding royalty and romance, having a cup of coffee at the Sea Lounge is an experience in itself.
What to order: As is expected the impressive coffee menu boasts of some of the most delicious coffees from around the world. The refreshing Ethiopian Sidamo (Rs. 450) leaves you with a delicious aftertaste of chocolate and lemon peel, the Aged Malabar Monsoon (Rs.450) with its bold nutmeg and cedar flavors leaves you wanting more while the exclusive Jamaican Blue Mountain (Rs. 650) is simply exquisite. The exhaustive coffee menu also features several other fine coffees from around the world which is sure to leave even the most discerning of coffee connoisseurs amply satisfied. All time favorites at the restaurant include the classic Bhel Puri (Rs.675) and Sev Batata Puri (Rs.675) as well as the timeless and simply sublime Viennoise (Rs. 725) is an old favorite.
Why you’ll be back: Unwind with a newspaper and a cup of world-class brew and let the waiters fuss all over you by attending to your every whim.
Address: The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Apollo Bunder, Colaba, Mumbai