Skip to main content

An encounter with Mondy's

“We used to hang out at Mondy’s every Friday”; “It’s the place we had most fun during college”; “You simply must go there once” – it seems like everyone in Bombay has a fond recollection of Café Mondegar. Intrigued, I followed my friend’s directions and walked down from Regal towards Colaba Causeway. At first, I saw this signboard hanging over a corner jewellery shack. A closer scrutiny revealed a door to an ancient looking café.

Café Mondegar is crowded, to put it mildly. Most guests were tourists; a significant number looked like aged hippies. The café itself looks like it has seen better days. But the Mario Miranda caricatures on the walls are still funny; and they play good music. The menu below the glass top on the table has plenty of variety – Chinese, Continental and Indian. But almost everyone in Mondy's was drinking beer. I stayed clear of the universal favorite (can’t stand the smell or the bitter taste!) and ordered myself an average garlic bread and a heavenly hazelnut cappuccino.

Don’t go to Mondy’s looking for great food. Go there for the ambience, for music, for the colorful mélange of people. Or as any Bombay-wallah will say “Go there for the old times’ sake”.

Comments

Sunshinemom said…
For the love of Colaba, for the love of Causeway....you just captured some nostalgia there!

Popular posts from this blog

Farm to Fork in Chail

Back in 19th century, when Shimla was the summer capital of India, the Maharaja of Patiala got the British rulers riled over his dalliances and got banned from entering the city. Not the one to be put down so easily, he found a tiny little town about an hour from Shimla and made Chail his very own summer capital. Today, Chail still has the impressive Palace that the Maharaja built and the highest cricket ground in the world. There really isn't much more to the city apart from a small local market and a couple of hotels that get spillover crowd from Shimla in the summers. It's a pleasant little diversion but that's not why I went to Chail. I stopped nine kilometers short of the town to make Ekam my home for a weekend.

Sumeet Singal built this house on a cliff as his own weekend home. Today, even when Ekam is open as a luxury boutique resort, the cosy homely feeling remains intact. I asked Sumeet what there was to do during my three day holiday at Ekam. He told me that ther…

Mystery Fruit

This only happened a few times every year, just when the rainy season kicked in. A street hawker will come by, straw basket on head. He will yell "kaul chapni" and I will run out to buy a bundle of these. Stuck together like flowers, they looked like a bouquet. Every hole contains a little fruit. You break out the package, peel the tiny fruit that pops out and eat it. Done slowly, it can take you an hour to eat an head. Or did, when I was about 12 years old.

That was the last time I saw this fruit. I've never seen it again, didn't even know what it was called or where it came from. Three weeks back, Vikram Doctor wrote about a store in Khar that sells Sindhi foods. He described this fruit and I knew it came from my vivid childhood memories. And finally, I knew we were talking about lotus fruit.

Now talk about coincidences. Last weekend, I was passing by a lane in Bandra and for the first time in many, many years I saw the straw basket filled with my mytery fruit. It…

Of Brun and Bun Maska

There is more to Bombay's breads than the pao that goes into pao bhaji and vada pao. There's Brun. and there's bun. We will get there. First, you have to get to know the city's Parsis. And Iranis, who are also Zoroastrians, but came to city a little later, in the late 19th or early 20th century. And when they came, they brought with them these little cafes that dot the city.

I am no expert on Irani chai cafes. And I can't tell you whether Yazdani Bakery will provide you the best experience or Kyani's. But I can tell you a few things you need to ignore when you get there. Appearances don't matter; so ignore the fact that the marble/glass top tables and the wooden chairs look a bit dilapidated. Also ignore the rundown look the place sports.

Instead, get yourself settled. And order a bun muska. This one's familiar to you as a first cousin of the soft hamburger bun. It's similar, but just a tad bit sweeter. Maska, of course, is the generous dollop of b…