Because a kande pohe with cappuccino breakfast is a thing in today's Mumbai. Bombay Coffee House, Bandra

Kanda pohe with cappuccino, Bombay Coffee House
The making of a breakfast story

I am sitting at Candies in Bandra as I type this. As I do most mornings in the week from Tuesday to Friday. Candies is shut on Mondays of course. You will see K and me often here in weekends too.

A couple of days back K asked me if I remembered when breakfast became a thing for us as a couple.

I think it was when he had just began to go out to eat out again, two or three years after our marriage, when our bank balances were finally not so barren again. Going out for breakfast was like a treat that we gave ourselves though in those days I'd occasionally question the need for it and like a Bengali mother ask why I couldn't make us a nice breakfast at home.

The waffle and cappuccino deal at the now shut Just Around the Corner was a big draw for us then. Then we started going to the Candies at Reclamation on weekends. The now shut Mocha Mojo was a favourite for a while for its waffles after JATC shut.

Cafes across the world have been flummoxed by by our order of
 'one cappuccino in a mug and one in a takeaway cup,
both to have here."
This picture is from the Bombay Coffee House

While breakfast out was a weekend indulgence for us, I started coming to Candies on weekdays too when I started writing my book, The Travelling Belly, after moving out of the corporate world. 

Coming here was my equivalent of 'going to office' in a way. The buzz around me was reassuring. Plus I didn't have to make my own breakfast and I am not a morning person. The cost is reasonable too and I compare it with the money I would spare on transport going to an office. I continued with the habit of coming to Candies write even after I was done with the first draft of the manuscript.

What I eat here are simple fried eggs or chicken mayo sandwiches. I leave the fancier, and more expensive, eggs benedict and creamy scrambled eggs indulgence for weekends.

Bombay Coffee House, a possible new favourite
The beginning of a beautiful friendship? The Bombay Coffee House

Let me tell you about a cafe in Mumbai's Bandra that I've been to a couple of times recently. I think this has the potential to become a good Monday breakfast (when Candies is shut) option for me. The other place I go to on Mondays is Smoke House Deli. Two more of our weekend favourites are Salt Water Cafe (a lot)  and Sassy Spoon.

The Bombay Coffee House,is located opposite National College on Linking Road beside the Subway there. It completes one year of its existence in March 2017 I believe. 

Our first visit there was this January. This was on a weekend with friends and we had a good time then.  I have ordered in home through Swiggy from Bombay Coffee House since then. I went back there for breakfast this Monday. 

I have found the food consistent so far.

Ambiance: Clean and comforting

The look and feel of the Bombay Coffee House is that of a modern Mumbai cafe. Spacious by Mumbai standards. The design is nothing extravagant. The tiles and the black and white prints on the wall are a tribute to the Mumbai of yore. It has big windows looking onto Linking Road which makes the place seem airy. There are lot of charging points and nothing says 'welcome' more warmly in today's times. In terms of ergonomics, I found the sofa seats more comfortable than the chairs in the two seaters. The toilet is clean.

The granny by the window
The world of breakfast people

When I went in this time, I saw an elderly lady, dressed traditionally in sari, sitting by the window. She was having her breakfast by herself. She seemed like she belonged to a generation which didn't see the point of spending money and eating out. Yet, she seemed quite at home at the cafe. 

She had her breakfast and then moved on. 

I wondered what her story was. I hope she wasn't lonely. I hope she enjoyed her food. Going by whatever I have eaten here, I am guessing she did. 

We were not the only folks by ourselves that morning. I saw others too. Working, reading the papers, some just having their breakfast in an unhurried fashion.

I wondered if there were any breakfast regulars at the Bombay Coffee House. 

Folks similar to the Catholic lady in a skirt, the 'oldest customer', who comes to Candies every morning to buy a takeaway salad. There are others too - an elderly Parsi lady who comes with her attendant, polite to the fault. A cheerful, rosy cheeked, younger Parsi lady who has breakfast and then goes back with bags full of food everyday. The elderly, salwar clad, possibly Sindhi or Punjabi lady, who collects her breakfast and sits and has her breakfast quietly, smiling at those around just as she smiled at me when I looked at her today. I smiled back. 

Not all of us are alone here. There are a few couples too who are here often, some daily. If K has a late day at work, she joins me too before heading off to office. 

Tintin with your coffee at the Bombay Coffee House

What's your Tintin story?

I spotted something interesting at the Bombay Coffee House this time. They have some books kept for people to read there along with free wifi. I spotted an entire collection of Tintin comics there. I was in a lot of pain at that moment thanks to back spams. Reading a Tintin from the collection helped me forget that for a bit. 

For a short while I was an 8 year old again when we had just moved in to Kolkata. A chubby little kid who would go to pick up his dad at the hospital after his dad, a doctor, was done with his operations. I would make my dad buy very expensive Tintin and Asterix comics from the hospital. He would spoil me I am told. 

I would also read Tintins from the CLT Library at Dhakuria. I was enrolled in painting class but preferred the library. 

A new Tintin had released soon after my dad had passed away and we had given up the house and moved in with my grandparents for a day. This was the Tintin and The Blue Lotus. Mom must have broken the bank to buy it for me.

For about twenty minutes I forgot my excruciating pain and felt like a happy kid again while I read the Tintin. I stepped out with a smile and I am happy to report that I am better now.

Now can you come to the point and tell us about the food?

English breakfast (eggs with toast/ croissant & potato) plus
add on masala baked beans plus add on cappuccino.
About Rs 400 - Bombay Coffee house

Desi omelettes over fluffy for me

On my second visit to the Bombay Coffee House, I went for the egg and bread/ croissant with hash brown combo. I chose to have a masala omelette

The scrambled eggs that I have seen them serve doesn't, from a distance, look like the creamy ones that we like and seem a bit tight. Omelette made more sense. Though to be fair to the chef, I have not asked for scrambled eggs and seen what comes out so don't go by what I have said.

I was thrilled to get a folded and flat omelette. I have grown up on these folded omelettes and don't like the round ones. What I dislike even more are the gigantic, sponge like 'fluffy' omelettes served at most posh modern Bandra cafes. The solid textured ones are the ones I like. Or the French ones which are firm outside and runny inside. The omelette at Bombay Coffee House was spot on and seasoned well. You get similar omelettes at Irani cafes such as Kyani and Cafe colony. Those are flat, though not folded.

These are for those who don't see the point of eating "what we get at home" in a restaurant. That is a valid point of view and I once subscribed to this view myself. The omelette at the BCH was similar to what many of us make at home to be honest.

It works for someone like me who eats breakfast out often and likes the comfort of simple fried eggs and omelettes on these occasions. 

The basic omelettes and fried eggs are a lot cheaper than egg benedicts (which BCH has though I have not tried it here) and stuffed omelettes and scrambled eggs and baked eggs and so on.

The Bombay Coffee Hose cappuccinos is bankable

Cappuccino with kanda pohe

The cappuccino at the Bombay Coffee House is is consistently good and we have often ordered it home through Swiggy after our first here.

What excited me the most on my first visit was that they had kanda pohe, the popular local breakfast dish, on the menu.

I grew fond of pohe, the rice flake based dish, during Saturday breakfasts at my PG when I had moved into Mumbai. I have had some excellent pohe at Maharashtrian restaurants such as Aaswad and a very light and home styled one at the stall beside Guru Nanak Hospital too. One now sees kanda pohe at five star hotel breakfast buffets in Mumbai. 

However, you will rarely find pohe, or any Indian breakfast dish for that matter, at the high end cafes of Mumbai and Bandra. Social offline is an exception where you can get paratha, samosa and akoori and kheema. 

Are there any others that you know of? Blogger Vernika Awal of Delectable Reveries often posts about the parathas at Prithvi Cafe.

Yoga House has a slightly expensive pohe which is made with less oil and olive oil at that and is packed with sprouts. I order it occasionally.

Kanda pohe at BCH. The Maharashtrian version of the dish
There are variations across India including cheerer pualo
in Bengal

 The pohe at the Bombay Coffee House is more greasy and higher on chilli heat than the Yoga House one. It tastes similar to the Aaswad one, is more expensive (Rs 110 plus extras) but the portion size is larger than Aaswad. I enjoyed the pohe at Bombay Coffee House and have often ordered it in home often. The Yoga House pohe is twice the price roughly of the BCH one but is different.

Masala baked beans at BCH
Fire in your belly

The other thing that we liked here was the baked beans and toast. They call it 'masala baked beans' at Bombay Coffee House. Which mean that while it is sweet like conventional baked beans, it also has a spicy touch to it which makes the dish interesting. I ordered a side order of these with my eggs. On our first visit, our Indian food loving British friend ordered it, and loved it.

Its funny how we change over time. When I had moved into Mumbai, I would refuse to have anything Indian or masala hued for breakfast. Now I like the variety. It's best not to be rigid and go with the flow in life I guess.

Wallet talk and is the service charge justified

In terms of pricing, I think the Bombay Coffee House fare is priced slightly below cafes like Saltwater, Smokehouse and Indigo I think. 

I thought that the service was efficient without being very flashy. 

Here are a couple of examples of their excellent competency:

Biscuity waffled

The service clincher for me was on our first visit the The Bombay Coffee House . 

The waffles that we had ordered that day were served over baked and too crisp and biscuity. We explained the issue to the lady taking our order and sent the waffle back. I wasn't sure if she understood the issue but she nodded at whatever I said.

She came back a bit later with waffles that were exactly the way we had specified they should be. Crisp outside, firm but not chewy inside, with a good contrast of texture. Not biscuity at all this time. 

Pretty much perfect. Our waitress had obviously understood what we wanted.

Waffles redeemed

It makes more sense to give feedback and try to get one's issue resolved if you ask me, than straightaway rant in public. Of course this works only when the service provider makes a genuine attempt to fix things like they did at the Bombay Coffee House.

To sum up, if you want to go to a cafe in Bandra for breakfast that makes you feel at home, and serves food that is sort of home-like for a modern Mumbai family, then Bombay Coffee House is a good bet which is relatively less expensive than some of the other cafes around.

PS: They served full meals and sandwiches too at Bombay Coffee House which I haven't tried. The fare is a mix of Indian, Asian, European
PPS: The visits to BCH were unannounced, the meals paid for by us. When I am talking of prices being 'reasonable', keep in mind that I am not a student and price perceptions are relative

Question to you: I was in two minds when I finished writing the post as it meanders a bit. Did this work for you? I write more to the point and up to date posts on instagram @thefinelychopped

Aslo read:

Enjoying the masala in her baked beans

The smiles on our face after our first visit
to the Bombay Coffee House say it all

Lost in Tintin memories in my second visit