This Iconic Cafe is an Oasis of Good Food in SoBo!

Cuisines: Lebanese, Fast Food

Filters: Dine-in

Attributes: Restaurants, Legendary

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and you’re itching for a mid-day snack. If you’re in Fort, then chances are that most of your options fall into two categories – roadside stalls or high-end restaurants. Bridging this rather wide gap is a cozy little eatery called Chikita Café.

Chikita is a play on the Spanish word Chiquita which approximates to “woman” in English. Ironically, the furniture inside the café consists of high-heeled, or shall I say long-legged tables and chairs. The café is located near Regal Cinema, right next to one of the busiest traffic junctions in Fort. Despite this it creates a cool and calming atmosphere that seems removed from the madness outside.

Chikita Café is all about serving healthy fast food. From Lebanese shawarmas to Italian pastas, the chefs can quickly whip up a wide range of meals. Meherwan, the owner of the eatery, introduces us to the newly crafted menu. “Pizzas are a recent addition, “ he says, “but you could also try our smoked chicken mayo sandwich. The regulars love it!”

Like so many establishments in the area, Chikita is housed in a pre-independence era building. The architecture is Victorian in style and the walls are comprised of thick, sturdy stone blocks

Meherwan’s family has owned the café since the 60s and despite being renovated in 2012; the café drops hints about its vintage origins. The Victorian-era wall clock and the teakwood staircase with a rickety handrail contribute to the vibe that makes this café a refreshing pit-stop on a hot, humid Mumbai summer day.

On the ground floor, Chikita’s kitchen is in plain view and is best described as airy and hygienic. It occupies nearly half of the floor area so there is plenty of space for chefs to move around as they prepare sandwiches, hummus platters, pastas, shawarmas and desserts.

Coming back to food, we take our time imagining all the appetizing dishes that Chikita has to offer and settle on pita bread falafel and a smoked chicken mayo sandwich.

The wait for our snacks is punctuated by catchy music from the 90s and early 2000’s. 

The falafel consists of soft pita bread which wraps a bundle of vegetable patties and keeps the excess sauces from flowing out. Each bite until the last is a mouth-watering treat.

The smoked chicken sandwich is a very good blend of tender chicken pieces and onions along with mayo. The bread is crunchy yet somehow retains its softness at the same time.

Both dishes taste authentic but a tad more spice would have invoked sighs of pleasure.

Adding to the taste is Chikita’s collection of whole wheat bread. Meherwan is quick to point out that breads are the basic ingredient in many of his dishes and Chikita is all about offering healthy fast food. He says, “It’s very easy to source sub-standard, cheap groceries but I want to maintain a basic standard of healthiness in the food we serve here.”

It’s impossible to leave a café without trying out their selection of desserts. A white board proclaims the day’s dessert menu – caramel custard and dark chocolate mousse among one other option. If an eatery is bold enough to offer only three choices of dessert, you can be sure that they are going to tease your taste buds. We opt for the caramel custard and chocolate mousse.

The caramel custard is a squiggly dollop of a dessert that’s as much fun to cut as it is to eat. It has a texture which virtually shouts melt-in-your-mouth but refuses to budge until you use your tongue to slowly squish it against the roof of your mouth at which point it unleashes buttery flavours.

Our next choice, chocolate mousse, is a tricky dish. A common mistake bakeries make is to pump up sugar levels to compensate for chocolaty-ness. Sadly, Chikita didn’t score too well on this dessert although the mousse itself was soft and delicate.

All things considered, Chikita Café is a fine pit-stop for travelers and regulars alike. It offers a variety of healthy dishes and supplies a much-needed break from the chaos of South Bombay. The next time you happen to be in Fort, don’t forget to drop in for a quick bite.

Address: Shop No:11, Ground Floor, Oriental Mansion, Nathalal Parikh Marg, Colaba, Opposite Regal Cinema, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001

Contact: 022 2283 6000

Author and Picture Credit: Vivek Kavadia

Tags: chikita cafe

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