Food Review: Cafe Nemo
Before you think this is a kids’ restaurant named after a fish, the owners of Worli’s latest restobar are quick to point out that that’s not the case; Cafe Nemo is in fact inspired by fictional sailor Captain Nemo (created by Jules Verne) due to its close proximity to the sea. Sahil Timbadia, Nevil Timbadia and Anup Gandhi, who also own Andheri’s Jamjar Diner and Bonobo in Bandra, have taken over the Thadani House manor, which was earlier the setting of Cool Chef Cafe.
Though we visited before the restaurant was open to the public, we were told by the management that they’re planning to incorporate a series of autorickshaws to transport guests through the lane to the venue, after the cars are taken away by the valets at the starting point—a novel way to welcome guests, we must say. But did the place match up to its expectations? Read on to know more.
The Décor & Ambience
You enter Cafe Nemo through a bright yellow veranda-esque space with potted plants and shrubs lining the path. Once inside, though, the walls have been purposefully kept stark black, white and yellow to ensure the bright wall art and colourful food stand out. There are also two other spaces that are inwardly connected (but offer separate entrances), created for private parties and pop-up exhibitions. Tables are thoughtfully equipped with hooks to hang handbags and the attentive wait staff is well-trained to take you through the vast menu.
When we asked what cuisine Cafe Nemo served, we were told that it follows an ‘agnostic’ concept, with dishes from around the world. While that is true to some extent, the menu has definite Asian leanings—and we’re not complaining.
The baos were a (slightly) healthier alternative to sandwiches with fillings such as Crispy Vegetables (Rs 364), BBQ Tofu (Rs 364) and Panang Chicken (Rs 424). We definitely enjoyed the spiciness of the Crispy Veggies Bao as opposed to the sweetness of the tofu one (although we suspect the latter will be the bigger hit). There’s also a rather delightful Loaded Black Bean Dip (Rs 364) served with nachos that was one of the best we’d tasted in the city.
Of the mains, the definite hit was the Seoul Bowl (Rs 485), a deep bowl of mixed vegetables in a particularly flavoursome Asian sauce, which we were told was the chef’s secret recipe. The oh-so-pretty Roast Vegetable Tartufo (Rs 416) was entirely guilt-free and a great alternative for health freaks. We also tried the Steamed Popiah (Rs 329) dumplings, where the sweet filling was balanced with a sprinkling of über-spicy chillies on top. While the concept was great, it didn’t really hit all the right notes with us.
Cafe Nemo also prides itself on its delicious cocktails—and they did not disappoint. The Zucchini By The Sea (Rs 455), a concoction of zucchini juice, sea salt and vodka, may not sound like much, but turned out to be an utterly refreshing, not-too-sweet cocktail that was our pick of the lot. Also worth a mention were the Thai Bloody Mary (Rs 455), with Thai chillies added to give it a kick and the Mick Jaggery (Rs 455), where vodka was given a mix with sugar cane juice.
Although we were quite full by this time, ignoring dessert wasn’t an option. The highly recommended Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème (Rs 286) was one of the better ones we’ve had in the city, while the Warm Orange & Clove Cake (Rs 242), though tastier than its name might suggest, was a bit stodgy—a fact we’d attribute to it being served cold rather than warm.
The Overall Experience
With its sunny demeanour and plenty of natural light, we think Cafe Nemo would be a great place for a relaxed Sunday brunch. We’d definitely recommend a visit here for its flavourful food and delicious cocktails.
Address: Thadani House, 329/A Worli Village, Opposite Indian Coast Guard, Worli
Timings: Daily, from noon to 1.30am
Contact: 022 2430 1127, 022 2437 9841
A meal for two with alcohol costs approximately Rs 3,000 and without alcohol, Rs 2,000