Cafe Mondegar

Cafe Mondegar

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5-A, Metro House Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Apollo Bandar, Colaba Causeway, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001
+91 22 2283 0586
Area: Mumbai

In a Maximum City filled in love with bling and the new thing, Cafe Mondegar is a throwback to older days. Not British-Imperial days so much as how India must have been in the 1970s when the country was so poor it was sewing patches on five-rupee notes. First up, location. Cafe Mondegar is virtually impossible to not find. Head toward Colaba from Churchgate if you're coming in from the north (or just putter up the road from the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which is where you should be staying anyway) and locate the bustling SP Mukherjee Chowk. It's not hard to find this place: every living person in India is simultaneously trying to navigate their taxi or minivan around it simultaneously. It's less a roundabout than the end-of-days.

Chowk done, avoid the temptation to hang a left and continue down Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, past the venerable (and very user-friendly) Regal Cinema, and Mondegar is on your left. There's usually a queue, partly because it's a little big touristy (one of the many reasons to give the inferior Leopold's a little further down the road a hefty diversion) but mostly because the food is great. If you're in a big group, expect to be dumped on one of the giant round tables with a hovering waiter; if you're alone or a-deux, expect to be lumped in with one of the bustling groups. It's great fun - pitch straight in as you're basically going to be creating a pop-up League of Nations for the evening.

What Mondegar does well is beer and Indian spirits and old-fashioned curries. A warning: unless you specify, your tikka or balti will arrive hot, super-hot, or gimme-a-bucket-of-sand-and-a-pint-of-milk-now. Settle in with a nice super-chilled super-sized bottle of Kingfisher or anything with a semi-tropical or avian name (but avoid anything with numbers in: the Haywards 5000 or Godfather 10000 leave you feeling the next morning like you've been roofied). And enjoy the curry when it comes: the thick, meaty- and yoghurty sauces and fresh-from-the-oven chapatis and naans may well constitute the best food you'll eat here. (Well, the best food that foreigners perceive as being Indian, anyway, until you head south to the southern hills of Cochin and eat the delicate vegetarian fare on offer).

Other than that this is a great and above all else safe place to while away an evening. It may not be terribly 'Indian', per se, but what is 'local' these days anyway. You'll find people from every country on Earth here, along with a large slice of local and wealthy Indians who are out to enjoy a night out feeling normal, speaking English with foreigners, and getting away from the local papparazzi. You are officially dared not to have a great time here.


 

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Middle of the road