Leopold Cafe – Colaba, Mumbai

The first time I went to Leopold’s was when I was 19 years old. It was our first trip as a group of friends to Mumbai. We hadn’t heard much about the place but a friend had moved the previous year to Mumbai and was raving about the energy of the place. We felt like adults there. People relaxing and enjoying the loud music. It had this adult, hippie energy to it. As youngsters from a smaller town, we were so excited by the restaurant. We had an absolutely wonderful night and thoroughly enjoyed the vibe.

 

I must’ve revisited the restaurant after years. We reached at about 10:15pm and it was still bustling with energy and noise. It was the 14th of August and I’m sure people were around later than usual because the next day was a holiday. There is such a difference between the seating upstairs and downstairs. Downstairs is filled with tourists who want to grab a quick beer and understand the city’s culture or a group of creative people debating about some topic. There are also those couples who want to spend a few more minutes with each other before going to their own homes, grabbing a dessert or a drink. And of course, the group of young college students who just want to have a good time. Since the upstairs is more private, you find a few more couples, groups that want to enjoy their drink and the larger groups that want to enjoy shots!

 

We decided to sit upstairs because it was air-conditioned. It is loud, dimly lit and has a different, club-like energy. We found a nice table for 2 and realized why couples would enjoy being here! We ordered a pitcher of beer and were so hungry, dived straight into ordering mains. I ordered pasta with mushrooms in a paprika cream sauce, S ordered Malaysian noodles, extra spicy!! The beer was great! Cold and refreshing and I was happy to enjoy the music sipping on my beer! My pasta came first, though that took 30 minutes or so. I don’t know if that’s understandable enough considering the restaurant was totally packed! S’s noodles came in 15 minutes after my pasta. When he said extra spicy they took him literally! The noodles were like fire! I couldn’t eat them at all and S pretended like he loved them and could totally handle them but his lips were burning and he was sweating and tearing up. I’ve learned one thing; men can be the most stubborn creatures on this planet especially when you tell them not to do something! So S faked loving his noodles and his tearing eyes and sweaty forehead humored me.

 

All in all, except for the crazy noodles and a completely non-functioning toilet, it was a great evening. A non-functioning single loo in a pub is just non-acceptable!

It had been a while since I went to a loud pub and I enjoyed my time there. I do think Leopold’s was a little bit pricey considering the ambience and the less than attentive waiters, but it seems to have a name and enjoys a different clientele. Would I go there again? Maybe after a few years… My verdict: 3 out of 5. 

Restaurant Hours – 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Telephone Numbers – 02222828185 OR 02222020131

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Trois Kitchen & Bar – Pune

We wanted to go to this new place which supposedly had wonderful food and excellent wine choices. I had read wonderful reviews about it and I was very excited to try some fine dining restaurant other than Olive Bistro.

 We went on a Thursday, mom, my husband and I, to look for this restaurant. Thank God for Google Maps! I don’t think I could have found this place very easily without it. Its right opposite the Big Bazaar in Kalyani Nagar, tucked away in the a corner. My first impression was, this can’t be right! It looks like someone’s home. But it turns out I was wrong. Trois seems to be a home that has been converted into a restaurant. The ground level has an open kitchen and the wine cellar. As you climb up the stairs, without railings or a support, you see a small dining area. We were keen to sit on the terrace and enjoy the wonderful Pune weather. The terrace has about 5 tables with a seating capacity of about 40-50 people. I am sure they can add more tables and seat a larger number of people if needed.

 The menu looked impressive. Not cheap by any standards, but looked exotic. We started off with French Onion Soup and a vegetable ratatouille.  We were happy to notice a beautiful warm bread basket was put in front of us. I love bread but its always disappointing when restaurants serve a cold bread basket. I understand most places are busy and maybe it costs just a little but it definitely leaves an impact on the customers’ minds. Anyway, back to Trois, they served a white bread, bread with sesame and an herb whole wheat bread alongwith some Lavash and bread sticks. The bread was wonderful. Gorgeously soft, smelled beautifully yeasty and with butter, it was wonderful! We ended up asking for another basket. The French Onion soup was glorious! Beautiful colors, onions caramelized well and just the right seasonings. The ratatouille with grilled vegetables was bursting with fresh vegetables and had all the right flavors! While some may think the portion sizes are small, they’re just right to enjoy the beauty of the flavors.

 For mains, we ordered a pasta in a pesto sauce and a vegetarian lasagna. Both the dishes had a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and were well presented. I loved that all the dishes tasted of fresh ingredients. Salads that came on the side had nice, crisp lettuce, all the mains tasted of vegetables cooked just right and the herbs and seasonings complimented the vegetables. Nothing was over powering but the meal was extremely satisfying. While the pasta definitely felt heavy on the stomach, the lasagna left you satisfied just right. You definitely didn’t feel hungry at the end of it.

 The experience at Trois is wonderful. The servers are attentive, well trained and well versed in fine dining etiquette. They are well aware of the menu and suggest good wine pairings as well. Sitting to the open sky, surrounded by lush greenery and looking onto the quiet lanes with a candle lit table sure makes up for a romantic dinner. It was also a wonderful place for us to talk to mom in peace and solitude. The tables aren’t placed too closely to each other so you feel some privacy. While a little bit on the expensive side, (Mains from Rs. 450 onwards) and the alcochol being slightly on the higher side (Sula wines from Rs. 300 onwards) the place does offer a very different ambience. My only complaint was, the wine glass was less filled than I normally have seen at other restaurants. It kind of upset me and made me undermine the management. Other than that, I cannot complain about the food or the service. We were too full to have dessert but I have heard their desserts are amazing! Trois is open all day.

 If you are looking for a different fine dining experience, Trois is the new ‘IT’ place! I give it 4 stars. 1 star less because of my unhappy wine experience! Happy dining!!

Restaurant Timings: 12 noon to midnight
Contact Information: +91-20-65220068

Beautiful colors all around!

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Its so easy to overlook things we see everyday. They become mundane. I’ve been consciously trying to appreciate the simpler things  in life. I went to a textile store the other day and couldn’t help but appreciate the fabrics, colors and prints surrounding me. It was so beautiful!

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There is so much history behind each type of design and cloth. I can’t help but feel like I need to learn so much about all the fabrics we have in India.

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