Tuesday, 14 June 2016
Chaos Control Cafe, Parel, Mumbai
Simplicity is divinity. Simple things in life often give the most pleasure and Chaos Control Cafe proves it in droves :)
My mom walks a lot and I suspect all the shopkeepers in Dadar area (both east and west) now know her like their own family member. Needless to say,nothing escapes her eyes, whether it be a new shop or a new restaurant that springs up around here. She had seen this place sometime at the beginning of this year and told us that a new age 'tapri' seems to have opened up barely 15 minutes away from our home. Tapri-that amalgamation of soul satisfying, stress reducing daily chai and boatloads of rustic neighborhood gossip. A new age version of that? Indeed.
It was recently when we had about half an hour of free time before going for a dinner appointment that my mom, my sister and I checked out this cool and contemporary cafe situated nearby Parel TT junction. Just take a right from there (keeping your back towards KEM hospital), keep walking, see that petrol pump at barely 2 minutes walk away? Just see opposite that, Chaos Control Cafe welcomes one and all. A cool modern tapri with open air chairs & funky tabletops (they also have umbrellas to protect from searing heat,if you are worried about that!) and the main kitchen area with all those funky graffiti, it is pretty hard to miss :)
Park yourself on the funky chairs and enjoy everything on the menu, at a princely sum of Rs. 25 per dish. You read it right. Rs. 25 for chai/ toasts/ sherbets/ paan which make up the whole menu. Rs. 25 that is for everything on the menu! In an age where we think that there is no better place to chill at those cafes charging Rs. 200 for (often) watery coffees, there is also Chaos Control Cafe! Get the pleasure of observing Dadar - Parel area's humdrum of life for free along with a cool, carefree breeze that refuses to stop plying here :D
My mom, the eternal Chai lover had the Kesariya Chai, with real saffron strands on top, in a kulhad (earthen pot) and loved it. Totally reminded me of all those childhood vacation trips we used to take in trains where every morning, the train would park at some station and all grown ups would buy the Kulhad Chai. That scream of 'Chai Chai, Garma Garam Chai, Chai Chai', we all associate that with out childhood,don't we :) The satisfaction that a Chai lover gets on drinking it from that Kulhad is something different altogether, with that earthen smell and flavor. And the chai itself was delicious and full bodied, as mom herself said. This is pakka Calcutta style chai, again something my mom knows as she spent a lot of time in West Bengal 2 decades ago :)
My sister and I tried out Sherbets (with soda) and loved them, perfectly refreshing for the sultry summers we have been suffering through. I had the Kacchi kairi while she had the Blackcurrant which tasted just like those purple golas we had, again in the childhood. Wonder when we became so old that childhood feels so far away? Anyway, at Rs. 25 a cup, these sherbets are a complete steal for the punch that they pack in each sip :) We also had the mango milkshake which was on the specials board and found it a bit on the sweeter side,yet very enjoyable.
Now we were intrigued and so also decided to taste some toasts (yes, I know we had a dinner appointment waiting but we were on a roll peoples :D) and had Pudina Masala, Kachari Masala, Malai Chini. It is all self explanatory really, the toasts are crunchy, delicious, spicy and fresh, perfect accompaniments to the chai or even sherbet or even when had as an evening snack alone. Again, I was reminded of so many soggy, sad sandwiches I have had at some overprices cafes for Rs. 100 a piece! Rather have 10 of these toasts :D Yummy. Special mention for Malai Chini toast since that one immediately makes everyone think of those days we had this same thing at home, lovingly made by our nani/dadi or maa :) Absolutely smashing. And did I tell you how value for money these are? :D Okay, okay, I did :P They are also planning to introduce some new dishes on the menu as well as tie up with home delivery services, music to our ears. The best part is how this place has decided to just focus on some basics and do it well, instead of going for anything new-age-y or gimmicky.
Just once in a while, when mind wants to roam free, no pretensions, no magical promises, this is the place to be, where some solid food and beverages await us all. That's it. Sit. Sip. Eat. Enjoy. Be Free. Be Happy. And know that simplicity is always best :)