Panting slightly, I walked in the coffee shop. My rain-water soaked sneakers making pug-marks as I trudged in. Profuse rains had strived real hard to put an end to most people’s work-day. Not mine.
I smirked as I collected my cup of brewing hot coffee from the server and made way towards a window seating overlooking the otherwise crowded street, now, devoid of any signs of life. Yes, the shrewd rains made very sure of that.
I put the coffee on the low level four legged wooden table and unzipped my waterproof bag to pull out my DSLR. Not caring about the mud-water marks my red canvas were making, I put my legs on the table as I reclined a little on my chair. I checked out, with immense pride, every photograph clicked today. Each one better than my best ever click. On your face, rains. Ha! Try harder next time.
My wife, Ayushi, always wished to go to Cafe 145, Kala Ghoda ever since she first heard about it from a friend. And what better occasion than her own birthday! Thus bookings were made a week prior to the date.
On the day, upon arrival, the maitre D confirmed our bookings on his computer, mounted on a wooden reception podium just outside the entrance door, and directed us to our table. The place seemed bustling with youngsters in gleeful conversations catalysed by the 90s pop music, playing at just the right sound levels to have a conversation with your buddies as well as enjoy solitary drinking. The entire place was lit up in a dim orangish glow to enhance the mood in the restaurant perfect for romantic dinners.
We occupied a sofa across two circular garden tea tables made of marble or a similar stone. We were actually sitting in a room probably meant for private parties with a wall and a glass door separating us from the remaining restaurant. The music was a tad bit lower too in volume (no complains here since as a couple we prefer good conversations over dinner as opposed to music banging our eardrums out). On the far end of the room was a white projector screen pulled down to showcase the mesmerising episodes of Charlie Chaplin (and later Tom & Jerry). Childhood memories reminisced.
The room had three more seating, two of which were already occupied (the third one would be occupied by a group of foreigners in due course of time). Both the groups were enjoying a rich content based conversation. One of the groups was having a slightly serious debate regarding the popularity of Harry Potter series against that of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, while the other was deciding who should win the Euro Cup 2016. We don’t mean to eavesdrop but the words flowing our way suggested a good deal about the kind of neighbours we have. And it seems a rich crowd (intellectually).
Once we were settled, the server presented to us the food and drinks menu. Mind you the menu was no typical menu you would see. The last handful of pages had people making the most wonderful doodles and writing the most beautiful messages in them. It was fun going through all the doodles. We literally had to tear out our eyes from the doodles and bring ourselves to the food. The most favourable part for ordering food was in the menu itself. 145 have conveniently marked dishes which are their Signature and ones that are healthy (Strangely though none overlapped). It saved us the hassle of initiating a conversation with our server and freeing him to serve us and our neighbours better. Perhaps this might also be one of the pushing reasons to the refined courtesy displayed by him (unfortunately, I didn’t catch his name).
Moving on, it was our first time at 145 and we were thrilled to try as many signature dishes as possible (we’re not exactly thinking ‘healthy’ here). We called for two refreshing mocktails namely Star Spark which is basically a refreshing blend of green apple and lime in Sprite and Tawny Passion, which is ‘subtly flavoured star anise with a blend of orange, lime and passion fruit’, to begin with. The drinks were served in simple jar bottles with a multicoloured straw twisted inside out. We couldn’t have called anything better to soothe our throats in this heat (monsoons had arrived just a day before, but it’s still quite hot and dehydrating).
For a fresh start to our meal, we ordered The Papaya Salad, which is a ‘spiced Thai salad with shredded raw Papaya, green beans and cherry tomatoes diced in lime and crushed peanuts’ along with a half potion (recommended by the server since it was just the two of us) of Animal Styled fries that were topped with cheese, caramelised onions, hot tomato sauce and a good spread of mayonnaise.
The food was served in awe inspiring presentations. The serving dish and bowls used gave out a rich impression. The Papaya Salad was highly juicy and crisp at the same time. It had a very fresh appeal right from the first bite. The flavours were well balance out. The blend of peanut powder simply enhanced the taste to another level. It was a perfect start to our meal. And as for the Fries, the mere quantity was intimidating even for a half portion. They were crisp, crunchy and warm as they should be. The sauces paved their way beautifully through them to amalgamate the sauciness and saltiness to an epitome level.
For the mains, we chose another Signature dish, Green Thai Curry. We wished to see how different can they experiment with the curry, since it has its own signature taste of elements. The curry was put in a dark coconut shaped and patterned bowl to highlight the role coconut has to play and the rice was served in a upside-turned-down-bowl fashion on the side. Without any hesitation we dug into the deliciousness of the Thai curry. Yummm is an understatement.
Lastly to end our meal, we chose to call for S’mores as dessert. A lovely mouth watering dessert comprising of brownie and marshmallows in alternate layers. The server promptly fired up the dessert using his fancy flambé torch to bring out the brownness on the marshmallow, making it soft and rubbery to dig in.
All in all Cafe 145 was an absolutely delightful experience. I am definitely coming back for more here and my wish list includes chocolate brownie with salted caramel filling, cookie dough pizza with Nutella ice cream and black forest waffle.
The Sipahi Bulbul flew swiftly towards the rising sun. Upon closest proximity, it spread it’s wings revealing it’s dignified whitish – brown plumage. Against the backdrop of the mighty sun, with its tall pointed crest held high, the Red – whiskered Bulbul redefined majesty.