A double salute today! To this bright, nimble new Café Noir, which has had the guts to open in the dismal pandemic. Salute to my inspirational 22-year-old dinner guest, the slender charismatic actor Mahima Makwana. Disarmingly down to earth and simple, Mahima continues to be the breadwinner of her family. She has been making waves in the television world as a child artiste since age nine and became a household name as Rachna in a TV show. As we eat our way through the menu, I relish recounting this young actor’s amazing life and success in TV and Bollywood. A foodie who loves spicy food as much as she does weight training, cross-training and yoga. I prefer European food, Mahima is more inclined towards Indian. Interestingly, we both enjoy most of Café Noir’s offerings.
Go past the now shuttered Qualia (Rahul Akerkar’s) and nudged into what used to be the rocking Townhall. A part of Townhall has been sliced into Café Noir. A bright cheerful, well lit, narrow smallish space. The long red banquette running along one side of the wall adds a touch of 1920s style glamour. The art deco-style mirror magnifies the space, high ceilings feel higher and the small space, roomier. At the far end, the bar and dessert counter stocked with wines and daily baked desserts lend the casual touch.
FRENCH AND MORE
Don’t go to Café Noir expecting only French Food. In fact, its menu enlarges to include Italian as well as European comfort food, Keto and Vegan dishes, too. It’s the comforting, juicy, robustly spiced Chicken in Barbecue Sauce that is the common favourite. As is the Italian Pesto Sauce Rubbed Chicken Skewer. French food fans go for the classic Quiche Lorraine, the best in Mumbai. Perfect in its thick custardy texture, cheesy and spiked with ham served up in a short crust pastry shell. The classic chicken in wine, Coq au vin, is overcooked and underflavoured. We recommend the very French, very vegetarian Ratatouille, the well-made crepes (which could do with more truffle). Must end with the wittily named Bette noir dessert, the Basque Cheese Cake and the cherry shaped, innovative tarty dessert (Cerise).
I’m a Francophile. I get very excited every time I hear about a French café opening in Mumbai. Not only did I spend two years in Paris researching the world’s first vegetarian restaurant guide to Paris, but also studying higher gastronomy in HEG, Paris. Café Noir, originally started in Bengaluru by Frenchman Thierry Jasserand more than a decade ago, hit the sweet spot with its bakes, coffees and breakfast. When Thierry left for France, Daniel Koshy (legendary for his baking prowess) took over. It still has a few staple French dishes, flakey croissants et al. In Mumbai, they continue to serve omelettes, muesli to French and Italian comfort food (pizza, pasta, burgers et al). Keto and vegan menus, too. It’s a cheerful café to meet and greet. It’s open through the day. Why it’s called Café Noir is still a mystery!
1A & 1B, Ground Floor, Crest Lodha World Towers, Lodha Place, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Call: +917400491471, +917400491481.
Timings: 10 am - 10:30 pm.
Average meal for two: Rs 4,000.