This newest restaurant houses 12 food brands, a liquour store and even a curio store inside. But it’s the food at Flea Bazaar Café that’s the real deal and will make you want to revisit.
What’s the Buzz: Flea Bazaar Café, Riyaaz Amlani’s splashiest new spot is a marvelous place for so many reasons – it is affordable, democratic, fun and, if you’re lucky enough to catch a gig while nursing a drink, a truly unique experience.
This 7000 sq ft eatery is full of charm. Step inside the large iron door, past the paan shop at the entrance, and you’ll realize it is one of the most intentionally photogenic restaurants in Mumbai. The decor is funky with fairy lights, whimsical illustrations, vertical gardens, neon accents and millennial pink.
The Concept: Flea Bazaar Café houses 12 handpicked food brands under one roof. There are tried and tested food brands like The Bohri Kitchen, Saransh Goila’s signature Goila Butter Chicken, Bandra legend Yugo Sushi’s sushi plates, tempura and sushi burritos, DelItalia’s wood-fired pizzas and pastas, Soam’s delicious Gujarati delicacies and debutants such as Bay Burger, Wattsappam and Hung Li, a new Oriental food brand. Apart from the carefully curated food, there is also PropShop24, a curio store and a liquour shop with discounted prices on alcohol by the bottle. It’s a self-serviced outlet and you are given a buzzer which rings once your order is ready.
The Must Try: I recommend you skip the more predictable offerings and stick out a little. Of course the Tunday Kababs from Lucknowee are melt-in-the-mouth and the wood-fired pizzas by Del-Italia homey. But do try the prawns and coriander dim sums (Rs 220) from Hung Li. Accompanied by lemongrass and chili dip, the tantalizing soft parcels are fluffy, fleshy and flavourful. I am not the world’s biggest burger disciple, but Bay Burger’s (also debuting at the café) tenderloin burger (Rs 240) with drippy egg and mushy caramalised onions made me a convert. It’s what a burger should be – huge, hearty, meaty and gloriously messy. If you ask me: salad has no place in the perfect burger! Other big hits are the Kerala specialties at Wattsappam. Order the Meen Pollichatu appam (Rs 300) to know what I mean.
What impressed me most was the squeaky freshness of the fish, the zeal of the tamarind dressing, and lightness of the appams. Divine. I wanted to try the stews but that would have left me hobbling like a recently awoken coma victim’s first forays into the hospital grounds! The craft cocktails on tap by Social are the kind that slip down easily and are about the right strength, too: you can enjoy a few with friends without regretting it the following morning. Mocha fans can try the Cold Americano (Rs 130) from Roasted Today, another dashing debutant.
The misses: My maiden meal at Flea Bazaar Café was not flawless. The mutton seekh kababs at Lucknowee makes for a better photograph than an actual dish, especially since the meat is slightly overcooked and heavy on sodium. There are very few options for desserts barring ice-creams, churros (which were sadly unavailable) and dosa stuffed with coconut and jaggery. The service is sweet although, like a badly told joke, the timing is invariably off with one server repeatedly asking “May I take that away?” a tad too soon.
That notwithstanding, would I return? I’d happily move in.
Cost: Rs 2000 for two (with drinks)
Where: Unit 5, 1st Floor, Trade View Building, Oasis City Complex, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Tel: 00 2224970740/+91 7045939983
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Image courtesy: From the outlets