“Describe the restaurant in one sentence.” It’s a game we Scouters have played before, but rarely at a 10 am review or with such accurate results: Café Zoe, new eatery at Lower Parel is like Kala Ghoda Café on magical steroids we discovered, space, menu, wi-fi and all.
Allow us to present parallels: décor at both is predominantly black and white, with exposed brick walls and soaring, sloping ceilings; both boast pretty lofts populated with fat couches; both focus on breakfast, soups, salads and sandwiches; both offer free wi-fi; most importantly, both have a happy, hippy vibe, where food is prepared carefully and served casually. That Café Zoe is much larger with a full bar and a kitchen which also sends out a selection of entrees, can be accredited to the abovementioned steroids. Good drugs, these.
Bright Shiny Morning
We went on the morning of opening day (first customers!) and focused on the breakfast and all-day menu, ordering eggs, soup, sandwiches. These included a deep bowl of salty, satiating chicken broth, swimming with matzo balls and shredded meat; and a dish of Eggs Florentine that came elegantly arranged but went messy in a minute, splattered with yolk and hollandaise sauce. Sunshine on our plate, Somewhere Over The Rainbow on the stereo. Lovely.
If runny isn’t your thing, try the turkey pastrami, tomato and lettuce sandwich instead, tightly packed in grilled multigrain bread and devoid of dressing. Made with good meat and juicy tomatoes, it manages to be austere and flavorful at the same time. Vegetarians, this is your chance (finally!) to order a satisfying burger. Consisting of a moist, plump patty, melted cheddar and a side of fries or salad greens (get the fries!), it is best washed down with spicy, pucker-inducing guava juice from the drinks menu. Also refreshing is Melon Mule, ginger ale mixed with mint and melon.
Over woefully dry chocolate, vanilla and peanut butter cupcakes – they’re much better if left to thaw for a few minutes – we plotted our return to Café Zoe, which the owners say will evolve from café to brasserie and finally a bar as the day progresses. We decided we'll go again at night, when the lights are turned down and the bar is set high, when we have the appetite for homemade parpadelle and pork belly carbonara. We’ll sip on blueberry Cosmopolitans and black grape Caipriojcas, play the sentence game again. Wonder what we’ll come up with then?
Getting there: Café Zoe, Todi Mathuradas Mill Compound, 126 NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel, call 24902065 / 24902066, Rs 800 per head without alcohol.
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