Food Review: Made in Mumbai

Villa Vandre, a cafe in Bandra, proves that old regional flavours are the cool new thing in the city

Written by Meenakshi Iyer | Mumbai | Published: April 13, 2015 2:27:38 am
villa-vandre-main The interiors at Villa Vandre

Nothing prepares you for this modest home-style cafe, definitely not its name. Clad in pale walls, plain bentwood furniture and a blackboard that lists the day’s specials, Villa Vandre pleases the eye with its simplicity. Started by caterer-turned-chef Aloysius Dsilva, the five table cafe’s menu is unpretentious, with breakfast, salads, sandwiches and pastas. However, it is the ‘Villa Vandre Classics’ and ‘From my travels around the world’ sections of the menu that grab one’s attention.

Keeping with global trends of going fresh and local, the menu leans towards pleasing the vegetarian palate. We opted for a hummus salad sandwich (Rs 245). Peppers, cucumber, feta, jalapenos and toasted nuts came rolled in a crunchy multi-grain bread slathered with a generous amount of hummus. The dish is served with a side of potato wedges and a green salad. Next up were regional favourites from the ‘classics’ section — prawn curry and rice (Rs 395), homemade East Indian sausage fry (Rs 315) and mutton dhansak (Rs 295) served with brown rice. Inspired by

Bandra boy Dsilva’s culinary journey that began in the suburbs, this section will be changed regularly to introduce newer dishes. Look out for dishes made using traditional East Indian bottle masala that women
from the community painstakingly make
every summer.

The prawn curry was made using rich coconut gravy and fried okra — an unusual combination. Served with steamed rice and kuchumber, it would be our go-to meal for every visit to the cafe. The East Indian sausage fry came in a hot skillet, topped with a sunny-side egg and pav on the side, to help mop up the delicious gravy. The slightly chewy mutton in the dhansak, made it our least favourite dish of the three.

Like many new concepts in the city, such as The Bombay Canteen and Social, Villa Vandre too plays with regional flavours and locally available produce. We are excited about the prospect this offers to tired foodies and
food writers who are always looking for
something new.

meenakshi.iyer@expressindia.com

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