The crisp smell of new books, the appeal of vintage ones, and the realisation that the pages from the library-borrowed book I’m holding has had an impact on others, affects me deeply. That is why I love my visits to bookshops and libraries, where I happily skim, read and rummage away. Discovering that Mockingbird Café Bar is a library-like, book-themed venue, my first thought is that of puzzlement—how do they manage their books? Here’s why: I guard every single book on my bookshelf with my life. So the fact that a reading lounge comes with a food and beverage service has me intrigued. Is the owner not worried about spillage on the tomes and their condition thereafter?
I don’t have to wonder very long—as I walk through the doors of this expansive, split-level Churchgate eatery, I bump into its owner Deepak Purohit, a second-generation restaurateur. We get talking about our love for books—unbeknownst to the fact that I am visiting to write this piece.
Purohit has brought his life-long collection of books to the café and named it after one of his many favourites (no prizes for guessing), willing strangers to share the tomes he calls friends. There’s a moment’s pause as he reflects and blithely adds, “I feel like I’m putting myself out there because books are personal and they give people a glimpse of who you are.” Does he also fear for the condition of the books as they go from hand to hand, or worse, grub to book? “Well, I hope grimy hands or cocktail mixes don’t ruin them, else, I’m happy to share.” His approach is simple: “Instead of profit and loss statements in balance sheets, why not one that measures the happiness quotient?” “How very Bhutanese of you,” I retort.
But after my first few morsels of food from the café’s kitchen, I understand why he wants to gauge the café’s success in non-monetary terms.
The menu, a mix of European, Indian and Asian, happily blurs the lines between these cuisines. For those who love spicy, this place is heaven—the ruby red of the Mix Cheese Chilly prepares you straight away for the Sriracha buzz, while the corn in the Spiced Corn and Jalapeño Toasties with Four Cheese tempers the chilli hit. An exciting dish is the Pav Bhaji in a Thai Twist with Buttered Garlic Pav, which presents all three cuisines rolled into one. What I love most is the Cocktails with a Literary Twist menu, which features novel-based names such as One Flew Over The Cosmo’s Nest, Lord of the Mai Tai, Tequila Mockingbird, Gone With The Wine, Bridget Jones Daiquiri, and Cocktail of Two Cities. With this, the café combines three of my biggest loves—reading, eating and drinking—and for that, I give it three cheers!
How to Get There:
Mockingbird Café Bar
Where: 80, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate, Mumbai
Contact: 022 60226023
Timings: All Days 9 AM to 12:30 AM
Cost: ₹1,700 for two people (VAT & service charges extra)