Whether it’s a legendary ‘cutting chai’, the tart fizz of a lime soda, a freshly blitzed mango lassi, or the finest dark roast this side of Colombia, Mumbai’s best cafés have much to offer the discerning sipper. Relatively late to the coffee shop culture, the Maharashtrian capital is now home to a flock of chic enclaves in which to savour in style. From Colaba to Juhu, here are the 10 best cafés in Mumbai.
If The Taj Mahal Palace is the queen of Mumbai’s luxury hotels, then its ocean-facing Sea Lounge reigns over the city’s cafés. Here, the Maharaja High Tea is piled high with fresh scones, fruit tarts, finger sandwiches and is served, naturally, with a flute of Champagne. Spare a moment to browse the significant beverage menu, which reads like a world atlas of single origins and first flushes.
More down to earth is nearby Theobroma, whose flat whites come with the best chocolate brownies in town. A little further north in Fort, Kala Ghoda Café is a favourite among local hipsters with a predilection for a cold brew.
The stacks of pastel-coloured macarons at Le15 rival the sugary rainbows of Ladurée. Le Cordon Bleu-trained Pooja Bhingra is Mumbai’s pastry chef of the moment, and her cerise and green Paan Macaron is a vivid combination of Bombay and Paris—to be enjoyed, of course, with the matching pink latte. Not just in Bandra West, look out for her cafés across Mumbai.
Where Le15 excels in French patisseries, The Taj Mahal Tea House’s forte is fine teas. For those who know an Assam from a Darjeeling, this elegant little tea house pours an exceedingly good brew. Traditionalists will appreciate the illustrious loose leaf range, while the creamy, spicy Kulfi Dessert Chai never fails to impress those with a taste for adventure.
Serious caffeine seekers in the Bandra or Andheri areas, meanwhile, will appreciate Blue Tokai’s earnest dedication to their creed. With outposts across India, a staunchly sustainable approach and a fierce passion for the bean marks this as one of the best cafés in Mumbai. And of course, it has to be the medium-dark Monsoon Malabar. Blue Tokai’s stark Scandinavian aesthetic contrasts with Birdsong – The Organic Café’s laid-back, homegrown atmosphere. The ice-cold frappes here are a real crowd-pleaser.
Soho House’s claim to the Maharashtrian capital includes The Allis, a Continental-themed café on the club’s ground floor. It’s open to all and—inevitably—frequented by Mumbai’s cool crowd. Secure a sofa by the window, framed by palm fronds, and venture a sip of the Cutting Masala Chai—the hot kick of ginger makes it a memorable one. Those seeking culture will find plenty of it at Prithvi Theatre, founded by the late darling of Bollywood Shashi Kapoor. Apart from a fantastic programme of performances and a great little bookshop, its Prithvi Café serves a comprehensive selection of coffees and snacks within a pretty bamboo grove.
Cheery favourite Grandmama’s All Day Cafe in Dadar East deserves special mention for its well-earned place among the best cafés in Mumbai. The menu is an endless feast of comforting favourites such as Granny Smith Apple Pie and Mac & Cheese. For something stronger, duck into Grandpa’s Den for a cocktail. Hipster’s might prefer the edgy, pared-back décor at Café Zoe in nearby Lower Parel, where the Cold Brew Nimbu Pani is surprisingly delicious.
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