All day cafés and bars are always claiming to be better than their competitors across the street, but they almost never match up to their marketing gimmicks. Pooja Salvi visits the newly opened, and surprisingly impressive, 145 Kala Ghoda All-Day Bar & Café to see how it fares
All-day cafés and bars rarely catch my eye. I’m never sure of what they aim to deliver, because as a café person, a bar ambience is a complete turn off for me. So, I can only imagine that they put up the two polar settings together as a promotional trick. Also, I’m never really sure whether they can do justice to both. Going by pop culture standards, a café is a quaint space that’s tucked away in a busy corner of the city that’s brimming with conversation and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. And a bar, reminds everyone of one thing — alcohol!
Nonetheless, I was looking forward to what 145 Kala Ghoda had to offer. I walked in assuming I could stick up my proud little nose and continue thinking cafés and bars are a disastrous combination. But, boy, was I proven wrong!
Our evening began with Gin Kane (Rs 325). The signature drink was an interesting concoction made with mango, coconut cream, orange juice and strawberry. Despite all the fruit juices that were incorporated in it, my dining companion was disappointed by the lack of a slightly more acidic undertone — it was surprisingly sweet and tasted more like a mocktail. We would have appreciated it more if the drink had contained a little more gin. However, the quantities at 145 Kala Ghoda are more than enough; this drink lasted through our meal, right down to dessert! The Nutella milkshake (Rs 180) caught my eye immediately and it didn’t disappoint either. Served in a mason jar overflowing with chocolate ice cream, the milkshake is a dreamy concoction. If there was one specific item I would go back to the restaurant for, it would be this.
The Crispy Spinach Salad (Rs 195), which we tried next, is a good pick off the menu. It’s light, uncomplicated and pleases the palate. It goes without saying that we wouldn’t order this during a dinner and drinks sort of night, but it is a good pick for a light lunch.
It’s hard to pick between all the starters, but we finally chose the Kurkure Bahl (Rs 195), and as soon as the dish arrived, we knew we were in for a night of experimentation. The combination sounds like a run-off-the-mill mix, but it was delicious.
Speaking of chaat, their take on the popular vada pav is noteworthy, but wasted. Served in mini bread cups, The Not So Bada Pav (Rs 225) is a good dish and tastes like a Mumbai vada pav — but if it was traditional Mumbai vada pav that I wanted to have, I wouldn’t have come here. The presentation gives them a few plus points, but it’s hard to say if I would visit the restaurant again for this.
They also have several non-vegetarian options described extensively on the menu, that piqued our interest immediately. For instance, relying on just the words, the Turbo Naan Tacos (Rs 295), served with salmon and salsa fresco in a cheese naan, promised to be a dish that was filled with flavours. But, the flavours, although great independently, end up in a disappointing combination.
The Chicken Frankie (Rs 225), which is masala chicken and pickled onion wrapped in a butter-fried egg roti, is a well-presented dish. We wouldn’t usually mind the subtle flavours of the frankie, but the masala chicken itself was a disappointment.
If there was a category on the menu that pleased us most, it was the desserts. The restaurant does a commendable job and The Cookie Dough Pizza with Nutella and Ice-Cream (Rs 225) quickly topped the list. Served as a pizza base and prepared with chocolate chip cookie dough, we were almost immediately on a sugar high and all the previous disappointments of the main course were instantly forgotten. The pizza base was topped with Nutella and ice cream and left us wanting more. The restaurant’s recommendation was the Red Velvet Cupcake Ice-Cream Burger (Rs 195), which sandwiches a scoop of ice-cream between two layers of red velvet muffins. Eating it neatly can get a bit tricky, but the indulgent flavours make it worth it.
145 Kala Ghoda is an impressive place, with elegant interiors and friendly staff, but their menu is a bit tricky to navigate through at first. While they do serve a mix of both good and bad dishes, we are not sure about whether the prices are good or bad! Despite this, the place is great for an evening out and we’re sure it’s a good café too!
Where Street no. 145, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Alcohol Yes; Pint of beer Rs 144
Price for two Rs 1,500