FLEA BAZAAR CAFÉ: CONTEMPORARY FOOD COURT

When its time to catch up with friends in Bombay, I always have one criterion. I need to eat at a place I haven’t dined before. Flea Bazaar Café has been around for a couple of my visits, but I never got around to it. So, this time, rather than leave it to my firmed to decide, I suggested Flea Bazaar Café. She is not one to just agree on a restaurant without first checking it out on social media, which she of course promptly did – thankfully it met with her approval. So on a lazy Monday afternoon (the perks of being on holiday and having a friend who runs her own business and is the master of her time), Flea Bazaar Café became our catch up space on my recent trip to Bombay.

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I did not know where to look once I walked in.. on the left I had groups of youngsters taking photos against plant wall, in front of me was the seating area done up in colours with fairy lights on the ceiling, exposed beams and random neon bulb-shaped acrylics hanging from the ceiling (another photo op – I fell for it) and to my right were the ‘restaurants’ all lined up against the wall. But once you take a seat and take in the surroundings – its just seems like a carnival – activity all round, lots of noise (chatter and music combined) and a whole lot of movement …

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It’s a simple format, quite like a food court in a mall, where multiple ‘restaurants’ come under one roof, serving different cuisines.  What makes Flea Bazaar Café different is that there has been an effort made to the interiors which makes it an insta-friendly space with nooks waiting for youngsters to pose in front of for their mandatory selfies, it has a fantastic choice of well thought of  cuisines catering to every palate and craving with limited options on each menu – thankfully.

The concept is pay-as-you-eat which makes everything less congested and simple for those who are allowed to carry their own money (older teenagers and adults). I wonder what happens when larger groups of family and friends with young children visit – to keep whipping out cash every time a kid wants something (they always do) can become quite a task. But that is me thinking out loud!

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There are fourteen food choices:

  1. The Bohri Kitchen: first experiential center with their signature mutton samosas, food platters and dreamy dum biryanis.
  2. Goila Butter Chicken: meal combos and desserts with a twist that include Chocolate Golgappas and Paan Cheesecake
  3. Yugo Sushi: sushi plates, tempura and sushi burritos
  4. DelItalia: home-style, wood-fired pizzas to go with their comfy pastas
  5. Juss by Sindhful: traditional Sindhi vegetarian fare serving the popular Sanna pakodas and sindhi curry
  6. Hung Li: wide selection of interesting dim sums and combo meals
  7. Bay Burger: juiciest burgers and some stellar shakes
  8. El Chapo: expect Mexican staples like cheesy nachos and fiery quesadillas
  9. Wattsappam: Kerala cuisine in the form of magical stews and curries to accompany dosas with filter coffee ice cream
  10. Super Pao: Everything on this menu comes in a bun, think hits such as the Ghee Roast Chicken and Black Bhajji Pao
  11. Lucknowee: melt-in-your-mouth experience with their exquisite Tunday Kebabs and authentic Lucknowi biryanis.
  12. Pop-Up Bar by Social: pour craft cocktails, craft beers (15 options at last count)
  13. COO (Country of Origin): Desserts
  14. Roasted Today: A coffee to wrap up your meal. It serves 100% Arabica, Single Estate and Single Origin coffee, roasted fresh on-premise every single day. They also serve tea.

When you have this much choice, the best way for me to zero in on was what I definitely did not want to have – basically something not too heavy (where I would end up eating only one thing) and something that I would not find as easily in Dubai.

We shortlisted 5 eateries – 3 for food, 1 for dessert and 1 for tea. The mistake we made was we went to the 3 food places one after the other and ordered so that we would not have to keep getting up. We were handed buzzers which would ring once the food was ready. And boy! Its quick. Out 3 food items literally came one after the other – we should have paced it slightly more.

THE BOHRI KITCHEN

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We ordered: Chicken Russian Cutlets

What is was: minced chicken with spices and herbs in a patty form – the Parsis also have something similar.

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Review: I have had on numerous occasions had the Parsi version of this cutlet and honestly this Bohri version was very similar and I absolutely loved it. 

WHATTSAPPAM

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We ordered: Chicken Stew

What is was: chicken stewed in coconut milk and green cardamom

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Review: Superb. The appams were hot, the 3 options of chutney I had a tough time figuring out which one I preferred, and the chicken gravy was simply flavourful

SUPER PAO

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We ordered: Ghee Roast Chicken Pao

What is was: Manglorean style ghee roast chicken served in a buttered pav

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Review: This needs to be eaten as soon as its served otherwise the bread will get soggy (another reason to pace your ordering). Being married to a Manglorean I was introduced to this dish in Dubai and I had loved it. The one at Super Pao is equally, if not better, than the one I had tried.

 COO (Country of Origin): I remember I had a brownie and my friend had a dark chocolate cake. But honestly, by the time we got back to our table with it, we were ready to dig in and continue our catch-up session before I even realised that I hadn’t taken a photo.

ROASTED TODAY: Here we ordered green tea as we needed to settle ourselves before we got up to leave. Coffee would have just been a bit too much.

We were at Flea Bazaar Café for over 4 hours – and I had a fantastic experience. Right from the ambience to the food and the choices. Would I go back – most definitely – if only to try their burgers and shakes.

Location: FLEA Bazaar Café, 1st Floor, Trade View Building, Oasis Complex, P.B. Marg, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai Open from 12 Noon to 1 am Tel: +91 22 24970740/ 7045939983 or +91 9152017990

NOTE: I ate at Flea Bazaar Cafe on my OWN time and money! The views and opinions expressed on this blog are truly my OWN.