Cafe Zoe review: Spacious, Comfortable and Delicious

A little difficult to find, piled up in a corner of an old and forgotten mill complex, is the new and classy cafe, brassiere and bar, Cafe Zoe. But the vibe of being an old mill is actually intentional, and assisted by painted wall signs and hangings, it’s easy to pick out in the small by lanes leading up to the restaurant.

With walls stripped bare down to their essentials, literally down to exposed brick and cement, the crude look accompanied by exposed electric tubes and air conditioning ducts actually work to create their own ambience. Helped by large photographs of the mill before it was revamped as an eatery, lighting which isn’t to strong or too dim, large spacious seating arrangements and music which evolves through the day from soft jazz to funk and more, the ambience is set for a calm meal amongst friends, family or even formal enough for a business meeting.

The menu stems from mixed cuisines from across Europe, ranging from the Italian fettucine to the French brioche, bringing together a mix which is delightful for anyone who enjoys flavours, herbs and tender meat. The drinks menu has a few speciality choices of its own, and the Black Grape Caipriojca is a strong flavoured minty drink with a nice blend of fruit and alcohol. The Strawberry Margarita too turns out to be a good choice since the blend of strong alcohol flavours with mild fresh strawberry does not disappoint. The mocktails however may not be the best option since the Melon Mule tasted more like detergent than an eatable. But stick to the fresh fruit juices and there should be a safe order in there somewhere. The starters have the Do-It-Yourself varieties of Salmon Tartar, Argula and Melba, a tasty dish which may be too salty for some palates, and the Chicken Liver Pate Melba, another good pick for a quick bite but may not be fancied by everyone – both interesting dishes which require little labour before indulging. But the well cooked and chewy meat of the strong flavoured Mini Lamb Burgers and the rich and tasty Pulled Pork in Brioche are great options for a nice starter which can be enjoyed. In the same stride, the Beetroot Risotto – a rich creamy and amazingly delicious purple coloured risotto – and the Prawn and Calamari Ajillo – light cooked seafood in a delicious sauce to dip into before chewing down on – are stand out choices and should definitely be on the wish list of anyone visiting. For main course, the Seared Rawas Fillet, cooked and served on a bed of lettuce, is a tender meat, easy to cut up and eat, with mild flavours and a good choice. The Vegetable Lasagne is also a good dish with layers of rich cheese, finely diced vegetables and sheets of pasta; but had it been chicken or beef, the identity of the lasagne might be so much better. The desserts on offer are also mind blowing, with the Strawberry Cheesecake probably being one of the best cheesecakes which can be enjoyed in Mumbai. Topped off with a nice hot cup of coffee at the very end and a delightful meal is complete.

The comfortable ambience, spacious arrangements and seating, high glass ceilings which filter in natural sunlight during the day, well lit and well maintained toilets are among the best features of this eatery. Add in the open bookshelf, free WiFi, bar seating, and a friendly owner who enquires of all his guests at every table, and you have a winning combination for a nice cafe/ brassiere/ bar in the form of Cafe Zoe.

A meal for two would ride about Rs. 2,500 on your wallet, which may be a little high priced but is a lovely experience with a good meal and ambience, for a nice night.

Address: Cafe Zoe, 7-11 Mathuradas Mill Compound, 126, NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400013

Contact Number: 022 24902065

- Sean Sequeira

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