Tucked away at land's end where Marine Drive and the bustling business district of Nariman Point meet, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) is the antithesis of what lies outside.
The aspirational multi-storied buildings with their pigeonholed offices are in sharp contrast to the NCPA's low-lying sandstone structures interspersed with open expanses of green. Creativity finds expression here; has since 1969 in fact. The pace is relaxed, the conversation unhurried.
Café at the NCPA, which opened here on January 23, is a venue tailor-made for a tête-à-tête. The NCPA already has a fine dining restaurant, Amadeus, but the café will be an informal place. Whether it is to grab a bite before the many events here or a sharing of thoughts post performances, the alfresco eatery is sure to draw creative minds and their connoisseurs.
“The idea,” says Khushroo Suntook, NCPA chairman, “is to create a gathering place like the Mozart Café in Vienna. A place that artists visit, where friendships are forged over a cup of coffee, and animated discussions on arts enliven the atmosphere.”
Three minimalist counters along a walkway of grass-edged flagstones offer Indian, Thai, and American cuisines by Farrokh Khambatta of Amadeus and Joss restaurants fame and his team of chefs. Sink into the comfortable rattan seating with a tall glass of Shaking Amadeus, cinnamon-laced cold coffee, or Mint & Plum lemonade or tuck into flavourful kebabs or dim sum or indulge in a Normandy Apple Tart. Khambatta promises variety and innovation at the café. “We will offer new regional Indian cuisine every month be it Kashmiri or Parsi cuisine.”
The Cafe will also serve as a platform for presentations, discussions and performances in sync with festivals and events at the NCPA. A supper theatre, perhaps? Khambatta says that the food is also modestly priced: Rs 600 for a vegetarian or Rs 800 for a non-vegetarian meal.
As the evening draws the Café is lit with subtle lights. The potted palm fronds gently sway in the breeze from the Arabian Sea casting dancing shadows around. This is yet another performance to behold at the NCPA.
Where it is: Café at the NCPA, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021. Ph: +91-22-6622 3737
We Recommend: Shaking Amadeus: cold coffee with cinnamon and Melting gruyere with jalapenos and onions sandwich
Meal for two: Rs 1600 approx.
Bottomline: Something for every palate and pocket.