Salt Water Cafe 87 Chapel Road, Rose Minar Annexe, Next to Mount Carmel Church, Bandra West, Mumbai

Salt Water Cafe, this sophisticated not so little Bandra cafe, has made a nice little comfy place in everyone’s heart. And with good reason! It is perfectly located. And be it Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Happy hours, or Dinner, this place has it all covered! Although, the Ninja and me love this place, the prices don’t give us the liberty to visit this place as much as we would like to!

Here is what we think 🙂

The Ninja: What’s not to love about Salt Water Cafe right? The place looks like a million dollars. Their happy hour menu serves unlimited beers for a grand. The food is really, really good. And to top it all off, it’s just a hop, skip and jump away from where I live. But like many of the other, bigger, mysteries in this world, I have somehow not been going to the place all too often. Maybe I’ve been travelling too much. My ninja duties have been taking me all over the world of late. But I digress.
Everybody should go to the place. If not for anything else, for the food. It is simply divine. After a long hiatus from Bombay, I arrived a few days back to my dear apartment and found a dear friend camped in my room. Calls were made and so were plans. Lunch was in order. A late lunch.
As it turns out, the lunch was really, really late. More like linner. Err. Scratch that. Anyway, we showed up there. Waited for our table and meanwhile stared at all the pickle jars. Fifteen to twenty minutes later, we were shown to our table. Not too shabby. I don’t mind a bit of a wait if the food is good.
Ah, the food. So many options. And they all look so good. But there was that one little thing that kept calling out to my eyes – tenderloin. Mmmmm. My mind has been made! The House Spiced Tenderloin it is.
This is the part where you would assume that that wonderful bit of tenderloin and me lived happily ever after. But no. You would be wrong. Because this where our villain enters. Okay, I might be exaggerating. I’ll just go ahead and narrate our little story and you can decide for yourself.
So here we all were, party of four, waiting to give our orders. But the problem was the waiter. There are several things that rile me up. One of them is when a waiter starts talking to me like I don’t know what food I’m ordering. What riles me up even more is when they start talking like that to my friends. I’m no restaurateur, but if I were one, I’d make sure my waiters weren’t rude to my guests. Else my place would just fall flat on its face!
“I’d like the tenderloin please”
“That is beef, sir”
“I know it’s beef, That’s why I want it”
“How would you like it, sir?”
“Well done, please”
“That will take time, sir”
“I sure hope so. Wouldn’t want it to be rare when you serve it, no?”
“We won’t serve you anything after that, sir”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Because the kitchen is closing”
“I see…”
“What will you have?”
“Get me the grilled chicken, please”
“Ma’am, chicken has bones”
NO SHIT SHERLOCK!

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Most of this is just me over reacting, but when your waiter comes and acts snarky with you with a look of arrogance on his face, in most cases I feel inclined to slap that right off his face. He should just be thankful that the food he served was good. Even then, a smile would never kill you, Mr. Waiter. It costs nothing. It might even get you a nice fat tip, no?
But that’s all inconsequential because what Salt Water Cafe really is about is the food. The tenderloin. Oh man. It was well done all right. It was well done, just the way I like it. On the outside was a thick layer of spices that gives it some intense flavours that keep exploding in your mouth. The flavour of the  meat itself is however not overpowered. So that is great. And add a dash of that whiskey jus and the combination of the flavours are quite divine. I’m not one of those who like the taste of raw meat, so the rich flavour actually worked for me. Especially with that garlic mash it was served with. Full marks all around for presentation and flavour. Service though. Very poor. Hopefully next time you’ll earn that fat tip we left you, Mr. Waiter.

The Foodie: I’ve been to Salt Water Cafe, for a lot of casual lunches and work meetings . While I like the food, I find it very difficult to read their menu. Everytime I go there, I waste some alot of time just trying to put my finger on what I want to eat. Just something about the layout that makes it difficult.

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Salt Water has a lovely breakfast menu (from 9 am to 12 am) , that includes Muesli, Oats,  Waffles, Pancakes and  Eggs (different types of eggs accompanied with Rosti, Roasted Tomato, Toast) . Waffles with seasonal fruit, Smoked Bacon Pancake, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine and this very appetizing dish from the “Served all day” Menu called Cured Chorizo (It comes with Potatoes and 2 Eggs) are on my wishlist.

After  the lavish breakfast, starts their lunch time  (from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm) I love the Chicken Caesar Salad, at this place ( I usually order it with Bacon Bits 😛 ) For Burger and Sandwich lovers, Salt Water has some really nice options. You can pick your bread and get a mustard cole slaw on the side with fries. From their Pastas and Risotto section, I spotted a Champagne Chicken Risotto. I tried my luck, to get them to make a Champagne Chicken in Spaghetti but the waiter declined right away saying “Sorry we don’t do special orders.” Having been friends with the Chef for far too long, I understand that on a busy day asking for special orders can be little stressful for the people working in the kitchen, but like the Ninja mentioned, our waiter wasn’t too nice about the “declining our request thing.” Anyhoo, we settled for the Champagne Chicken Risotto. The flavors were nice and light, risotto was perfectly cooked and the tomatoes in it really helped the dish break that monotony. The chicken pieces could be more maybe.

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The Li’l One had the Vegetarian Main Course. Ten points to her for spotting one of the tastiest dishes I have tried at Salt Water. Caramelized Vegetables with Parmesan Bake. It looked fantastic, tasted fantastic and while the portion looked tiny, it was perfect for our Li’l ones stomach. That paired with this cocktail called “Woo with this” seemed to have been the combination of the day for us.

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What I don’t like about Salt Water is that their sides portions are like a separate dish all together. So once I made this mistake of ordering 3-4 of them together and our table was full of those huge plates on which they come. They occupied more space than our regular food! If you go to Salt Water you’ll know that their tables are quite large. So just imagine, 35 million huge plates of SIDES around me on that massive table , while the rest ate, managing with the little corners of the table they got. Also while we are at it, from the sides I HIGHLY recommend  the Creamed Spinach. I tried it with the Plancha Seared Basa and Citrus butter, and as the Basa was too sweet for me, (almost felt like I was eating sophisticated gujju food) the creamed spinach really helped me eat it.

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Roast Chicken with Juiced up Bread and Salad, ordered by our friend. She loved the quantity and the flavor of this dish. The White wine Sangria, which was on the happy hour menu , did not appear as fruity, and had pieces of Ginger instead, but it tasted right  and refreshing.

From the desserts, we ordered the Chocolate Creme Brule and Hazelnut Mousse. Hazelnut mousse was accompanied by melon sorbet and Almond crumble (too crunchy for me) and the Chocolate Creme Brule came with a Tulie (which was yum!) and seasonal fruits. Creme Brule  was the clear winner!

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For all the food listed above, total damage done was Rs 7000. Therefore Our Review:

Food: 4
Decor: 3.5
Value for money: on this thin line between 2.75-3
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