Summer has made its unapologetic entrance in Mumbai and it’s kind of a bitter sweet feeling. While we rejoice at the many summer activities that the city is holding, we can’t make our peace with the sweat and the inevitable bad tempers the season causes.
Last week, however, we dined at a restaurant which has made us swing in favour of summer, or at the very least, have more positive connotations of the word ‘summer’. We’re talking about Summer House Cafe, a restaurant and bar tucked away inside Todi Mills, which offers patrons food, drinks and an upbeat vibe that is guaranteed to give you a good time.
We stepped into the restaurant late last week and were immediately stuck by the space which boasts exposed brick walls, high ceiling beams and low, funky lighting. At 7pm, the restaurant was already hosting the corporate crowd who were perched on stools at the tall, booth tables and lounging on couches, letting their hair down and unwinding.
Indeed, the ambience reminded us of the New York speakeasies one sees in vintage movies. This theme was carried forward by the activities at the bar, where a host of bartenders were shaking, mixing and pouring drinks like pros.
Considering the speakeasy vibe, it’s unsurprising that Summer House Cafe has an extensive bar menu. It includes Craft Cocktails like the Pineapple Express (pineapple juice, star anise and whiskey) and the Rich Dogg (white grapes, peach syrup with vodka and triple sec) as well as classics like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan and Bloody Mary.
It also has Apertives, Single Malts, Liqueurs, Wines, Beers, Blended Whiskeys and other spirits.
Since we’ve been on a bit of a teetotaler trip of late, we decided to call for a mocktail – the Blueberry Twist Smash. The sourness of the berries meddled perfectly with the sourness of the lime to create an invigorating drink.
After allowing the drink to thoroughly refresh us, we turned our attention to the menu. It has an extensive selection of finger foods presumably to pair with the drinks.
We called for the Nachos with Sour Cream And Salsa, the Chili Fries, the Sausages Wrapped in Bacon and the Pesto Chicken Bruschetta. From the chef’s special menu also called for the Veg Mezze Platter.
Our favourite of the lot was the Sausages Wrapped in Bacon; soft, plump succulent sausages were wrapped in bacon fried to the crisp to create treats which would appease even the most demanding meat lover.
We also loved the Nachos, which despite being piled high with warm, velvety cheese managed to stay crunchy well after they were served.
The Pesto gracing the Bruschetta was also impressive with its punchy flavour. Meanwhile the Veg Mezze Platter heaved with a range of elements which combined to make it a meal in itself. We particularly enjoyed the Feta Samoset which enfolded crumbly cheese in a crisp pastry and the Hummus, which was smooth and rich. Also on the platter was Pita Bread, Pickled Vegetables, Tabouleh and Falafels.
Already happily stuffed, we then called for two main courses; the Sun-dried and Cherry Tomato Boccioni and Fresh Basil Pizza and the Chicken Kra Pao with Sticky Rice. While the pizza was well executed with a thin yet doughy crust that allowed the clean flavours of the tomatoes and the soft cheese to shine through, it was the Chicken Kra Pao which captured our hearts. It was a dish like no other we’ve ever tasted. Lemon grass tinged sticky rice was paired with a peanut sauce, a crunchy prawn crackers and a perfectly fried egg, sunny side up. Despite being ready to burst at this point, our taste buds demanded that we keep eating the dish – and so we did, nearly to its end.
Since we now felt like a stuffed Christmas turkey, the chef was kind enough to send us off with a packed Carrot Cake to try later. After the midnight munchies set in later that night, we grabbed our spoons and dug in and we’re delighted that the dessert held up the high note of the rest of the meal – crunchy, sweet carrot combined with smooth whipped cream to create a beautiful balance of textures and flavours.
We’re definitely going to be paying a visit to Summer House Café again to sample its cocktails and chow down on those delicious sausages again. Perhaps we’ll see you there?
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