Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cafe Zoe

Mathuradas Mills Compound
126 N. M. Joshi Marg, 
Lower Parel
Monday to Sunday : 7.30am - 1.30am
Phone: 022 2490 2065

In Cocktails we trust

Tucked away behind Blue Frog in Mumbai's Mathuradas Mill Compound, Rita Hayworth is alive and well, perched atop Cafe Zoe's logo.

Zoe, a name I like, as I have a fondness for Zoe "Avatar" Saldana, has a small but potent cocktail menu. Personally speaking I like small menus, cause they're easier to choose from, and I'm hopeful that a bartender worth his bar salt, will be able to whip up a classic not on the menu, or create something on the spot, based on my taste profile, a hallmark of a good mixologist. True that's a fancy word for a bartender, but well deserved, for those at the top of their craft.

Fortunately we're in good hands at Zoe, as the three of us settle on our bar stools, and Vinod hands us the menu.
Vinod, the friendly Bartender
Zoe for those of you haven't been, resembles the living room I'd like to have some day, sofas off on one side, some more structured seating on the right of the bar and in the centre, a neat, horseshoe shaped bar, and a flight of stairs leading up to a mezzanine deck, which is still not open to guests.

For those of you who haven't been, I would recommend a visit, whether you stay in Mumbai, or are just visiting. Having read good things in Mumbai Boss , it was added to my list of must visit places, which also included The Table, Suzette and Ellipsis (...).

I've managed to shut our office early and drag my complaining colleagues out for a drink, and we quickly order from the bar menu, a Black Grape Caipirojka (DD), a Classic Margarita (Ameya) and a Green Apple Rock Martini (me, it's served on the rocks and therefore the name). We also order a portion of fries and some chicken wings with hot sauce.
Black Grape Caipirojka

Classic Margarita
Green Apple Martini
It's an early Monday evening at Zoe, so the crowd is thin, but stil exists. As Vinod, our friendly bartender tells us, Fridays and Saturdays are standing room only, and it's no wonder, as the prices are pocket friendly, with a BoB of 1.5 (for a pint of KF), and cocktails in the INR 400-450 range. You can also if you choose, buy a full bottle, with a bottle of Absolut, e.g. going for INR 5500 (mixers separate), which is not a bad deal at all.

Our cocktails arrive speedily, and all hit the spot. Tasty and well balanced, with fresh ingredients.

Ameya, Tulleeho's resident Mumbai mixologist had this to observe (and commend) :

1) The orange zest was perfectly removed.

2) Bar was well organised.

3) Fruits used for making cocktails were cut in perfect fashion and with dedication.

4) Cocktails were tasted by the bartender before serving to us.

Small things perhaps, but they all went to ensuring that our cocktails were top flight. I've seen other higher regarded bars, slipping up on these basics.

Having tasted blood with the cocktails, we asked Vinod what his top seller was, which happened to be their Sangrias. Vinod said that they easily sold up to 20 pitchers of Sangria on a Friday or Saturday evening, and even though it was only a Monday, he had his chopped fruit ready for his evening regulars. We ordered a Rosso Sangria, and were well satisfied with the taste, as well as the quantity, and the Sangria offers great value for the price. A pitcher (~ 4.5 glasses) clocks in at INR 1797/-.

As we sip our Sangria, we discuss bartending politics in Mumbai, especially as relates to the opening of F-Bar at India Bulls Centre, made for an interesting discussion, but let me not mix business with reviews.

Plans are afoot at Zoe (or Zoey as you may call it) to bring in live acts soon, and also open the mezzanine floor. It was lively enough to me.

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