Cafe Bean Garu musings

6 Jan



I have lived in Mumbai all my life. I have seen the rise and fall of malls, restaurants and hotspots all over the city. The beauty of the city lies in the joy of always discovering something around the corner, because no road, corner or nook in the city looks the same after a month. With blogs like this, Twitter, Facebook and what not, that joy of discovering has changed over time, where a small RT makes you discover a new band, hear about this new pub and you and your friends have a flash mob show up soon after.
But I miss the days, when I would go to eat Vadapav after school and discover a new fruit juice stand on the way, or go shopping on Linking Road and see “60% off” in a gully shop like a secret sale made just for me. Discovering a new place today in a non wired manner made my visit to Bombay after a long time totally wonderful. Because unless you work/live in deep Suburbs (Never Never Land for the southern Western Line Girl in me), you have probably missed Café Bean Garu.

The new Phoenix Market City is now open, and I went last minute shopping with my mom.  It is not very crowded currently as a lot of their shops and restaurants have not opened, and they have an excellent food court with many places I have not heard of before serving “mall grub”. I currently live in USA and wanted to relish some good Indian food before the week ends, and I walked endless interesting restaurants like Route 61, Get Indian, etc. The last one in the line had no food items to display except Bean Garu Mascot and Rajnikanth videos. Paying closer attention to the menu, got me hooked. Some of the dishes seemed from another planet Dravidian risotto, Butter Idly with Herbs, Pesto and Cheese dosa, Chilly cheese mushroom dosa.

Now I am not a big fan of the so called “Fusion” experiments. We have seen Only Parathas, Roti and numerous other places fail for being completely over priced street food. If I pay Rs80-100 I want something I can’t get at Juhu chowpatty, updipi heavens in Matunga or roadside food below my building. But this place is like no other. Not even Ghatkopar’s entrepreneurial Khau Gully can compete with their innovation in the deep southie food.
A very smart woman receptionist greeted us with the same curious interest we greeted her with as they had I believe just opened this new branch, and two suspicious women chose 4pm on a weekday to have a meal there. But she was very helpful in helping us decide on our menu, ten minutes later I was all smiles with the yumm Idly and the almost crepe like chilly cheese mushroom dosa. They serve 2 chutneys with every dish and each of them the garlic-tamarind brown, the coconut white, and the coriander-cillantro green were zesty and extremely good.

Taken by such thrill, Kunal, Tushar and I made a second trip for the blog and the obvious good times. We had 5 dishes between the 3 of us and each one was better than the first. Pesto cheese dosa was yumm, so was mulga pudi dipped idlis, Nutella and chocolate dosa and Tushar had an authentic rice and tamarind curry dish from Andhra. But by far the highlight of the menu was the Andhra filter coffee and the amazing spicy muligatany-esque rasam. Every dish is between Rs60-100 but its great food, and mall priced, so I think I forgive the expenses. Enjoy the photos 🙂

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A little more about the place is that it has 13 reviews on Mumbai burrp and a twitter account @beangaru which was my only source of research to confirm this place is of Andhra origin (Garu=suffix of respect)and was a success in Hyderabad. Its fate in Mumbai if it only keeps opening in Malls is yet to be decided.

Now going back to the main idea of this post, mall grub is getting competitive and pricier day by day. We pay 300+Rs to watch a PVR movie and 100+Rs to just get popcorn. But where is the shizz I ask? Take out the corporate bucks, lifestyle show, Mumbai mall glamour, the low priced roadside food still beats it all.

The shizz is in the innovation. It was not that this place did Fusion that attracted me. It was that it tried to do something very creative with its menu. And it delivered all that it promised. I do not see an udipi joint doing very well internationally. But if Bean Garu continued to deliver I see them becoming niche and special. They have taken initiative to introduce a very continental, Mediterranean and Italian flavor to South Indian dishes.

Thinking about the way they prepare the two, makes me see a pattern. Dosas are like vegetarian crepe wraps, Idly is like a rice version of Pita bread of sorts, Curry Rice is like a thick gravy risotto. Wasn’t this so easy and yet so beautiful to market? And they pass any health sanitation approvals that would be the biggest concern of normal udipi places.
What they lack in experience and skill with competition from all Indian and at the moment “Mall” restaurants, they make up with innovation and a menu that sounds not only mouth watering, but makes you stop and say “Does it really say that?” Now that is the shizz I want to see from over priced malls when I shut off the internet and set out to discover THE CITY!
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Anushree is living the good life and asking you to check her very enthusiastic twitter account @anushreejazzz, where she is busy tweeting all the music news.
Comments and shout outs are always appreciated!
Pay close attention to the blog, we will have a new facebook and google+ page, that is up and running by this weekend.

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6 Responses to “Cafe Bean Garu musings”

  1. Rasik January 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Thanks for the review. I never knew such a place existed. Will check it out soon.

    • Afshan Virani January 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

      Hi Rasik,

      Cafe Bean Garu is located at the 1st level of Haiko Mall, Hiranandani , Powai and at Phoenix Market City Mall, Kamani junction, Kurla (W). We will be thrilled to help you explore our menu.

      Afshan Virani

  2. Afshan Virani January 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Hi I came across your wonderfully written blog when a work colleague stumbled across the same. Thought I would let you know, how absolutely thrilled we all are, here at Cafe Bean Garu to learn that our food is being appreciated this well. The tangy curry is called “Nellore Pulusu” just in case you want to order the same another time!! Again, its these kind of blogs and kind words that encourage us to innovate and dare to be different. So Thankyou for your wonderful comments & I look forward to seeing you often at Cafe Bean Garu :Haiko mall Powai & Phoenix MarketCity, Kurla.

    Afshan Virani- Phoenix MarketCity Kurla

  3. Sosha January 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Here’s another take: http://nothingintellectual.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/restaurant-review-of-cafe-bean-garu-powai/

    Two extremes for the same place!

  4. anushreejazzz January 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    @Sosha So this is a different location and most of complaints in the other article were regarding service. But the Phoenix Market City had good service they even gave us complementary sambar when we asked for more.. Do try it yourself if you get a chance!

    @Afshan thank you for your comments and I wish Cafe Bean Garu all the best in 2012

  5. Sosha January 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    I will, Anushree. Just remembered the other review when I read yours 🙂

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