Thadani House, Worli Village, Next to Indian Coast Guard, Mumbai
Meal for two: Rs 2,000
A small house in the heart of a clamorous fishing village with narrow lanes and briny whiffs. A bright yellow exterior. A black-and-white, minimalist interior. Cafe Nemo had a different feel from the average Mumbai restaurant. We chose a table next to the leafy verandah and examined the eclectic menu that seemed determined to travel the world in 80 dishes.
We began with a flavourful Roasted Pumpkin and Feta salad with tahini-honey, greens, red onion and pepitas (Rs 286). Next was the Hot Truffled Shrimp with garlic, chili and olive oil (Rs 485). The tender shrimps were served in a delicate soup, perfect for soaking the crusty French bread. The pleasant staff insisted we try the Bao—freshly steamed Burmese rice buns served with stuffings. The bun in our Panang Chicken Bao (Rs 424) was soft and silky, and went marvellously with the spicy, peanutty chicken. Equally enjoyable was our Seoul Bowl with a spicy beef topping (Rs 589)—a hearty one-dish meal of sticky rice, tangy sauces, green herbs, chilli, peanuts and shallots.
More ordinary was the Pepperoni pizza (Rs 589). While the Open Quesadilla Bake (Rs 485) was stodgy—lacking both zing and Mexican flavours and tasting of desi green chutney.
Both desserts, though, provided a happy ending. The Mocha Profiteroles (Rs 286) filled with ice-cream were fun, while the Dark Chocolate Pot de Creme (Rs 286) was rich and satisfying. After which we emerged once again into the real world of slushy lanes and mechanic shops, happy and replete.