Barista, having successfully opened several joints in New Delhi, moved here to give Bombayites the taste of real coffee. And it does a good job of it, too!
The rich aroma of coffee is one of the first things that assails your senses as you walk into this cozy, stylish joint. With a seating capacity of twenty-five, brown tables, chairs and flooring, peach, blue and cream walls, and wall posters of coffee beans and coffee making machines, this well-lit coffee-house is just the place to hang out.
Newspapers, magazines, board games like Pictionary and Scrabble, an Oxford English Dictionary to help with those games, and a guitar are all lying around to help you pass the time while you sip a cup of coffee or bite into a sandwich or pastry. There's also a convenient glass board called "Espresso Mail" that lets you leave notes for your regular crowd on little yellow post-it paper. The whole place is reminiscent of "Central Perk", the coffee-house in the sitcom "Friends" - all that's missing are the comfortable sofas and, of course, Gunther! A tiny stretch of Chowpatty beach and the crazy traffic on the main road make up the view.
On the menu are some traditional recipes that play with the flavour of coffee. There's the Espresso Italiano (concentrated coffee served in a demi-tasse), the Espresso Macchiato ("marked" with a dash of foamed or cold milk), the Cappucino (which is the house's self-declared "Crowning Glory" and consists of thick foamed or steamed milk), the Frozen Coffee (a delicious combination of espresso, milk, demerara sugar and ice), Caffe Americano (a black coffee cup that is recommended with ice), and the trademark coffee, Brrrista, made with espresso, milk, flavored syrup, water, ice and ice cream.
A detailed menu helps you get the inside dig on all these different cups, but non-coffee drinkers, don't you worry. Barista thoughtfully keeps Assam, Iced, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Camomile and Mint tea on its list, along with some innovative drink recipes like Ginger Fizz (made by pouring ginger and soda on ice), Choccocino (chocolate, milk and vanilla), and a couple of Granitas (flavored ice syrups) like Lime Ice, Fresh Lime and Strawberry Freeze Forever.
Vegetable sandwiches like the Potato Potpourri, which consists of mashed potatoes, coriander and green chilies, and the Greenhouse Special, as well as Lamb Salami, Tuna Mayo, and Chicken sandwiches, are also available. Cookies, slices of pineapple, Black Forest and chocolate cake, and full cakes to take home for a party (or to have one right there), are available too. Salt and pepper, paper napkins, demerara sugar, spoons and other conveniences are all on the house.
The pricing here is fairly reasonable for the quality of food on hand. The coffees and Granitas are an average of Rs. 30.00. Extra toppings like whipped cream, ice cream, espresso or a flavour (like cinnamon) come for about Rs. 20.00. The tea, again, is around Rs. 20.00 while the sandwiches are about Rs. 40.00.
Small, informal and air-conditioned, this is a great place to drop into for a quick bite when alone, or for an impromptu get-together with friends, colleagues and family.This article was first published on 31 Jan 2001.