Costa Coffee, Bandra West, Mumbai
Some places deserve a second review and we will give Costa that privilege. The Bandra outlet is just off Linking Road, so they have got the location spot-on. The crowd includes a nice mix of college students, people who look like hard-working entrepreneurs furiously typing away at their MacBooks, and occasional movie actors [well, not the A-rated ones, they have coffee outlets inside their own mansions].
I ordered a hazel nut cooler, which was breezy and cool like it is supposed to be. The spicy chicken bear claw (!) was filling but tasted like a regular chicken tikka, so not sure why they had to make it look like a weird claw. Perhaps people like the idea of eating a claw-shaped sandwich rather than a rectangular one. The total bill came up to a little over 400 bucks, which was sort of expected. The staff members seemed well-trained and were friendly, wishing you a ‘hi’ and ‘good afternoon’, which is as good as it gets. They have a huge seating area outside where people can smoke and it’s a testament to the number of smokers in the city that even though the weather was not exactly pleasant, more people chose to sit outside than suffer in the air-conditioned area inside. They sell cigarettes here, which admittedly is a smart move. They also sell soya milk and mocha Italia, if anyone’s interested.
So people, remember, what’s true for alcohol (or anything that induces a feeling of being high and happy) is also marginally applicable for coffee – coffee is not the answer but it does make you forget the question, sometimes.
Sanjana Pegu, professional day dreamer and occasional writer, is currently working in Mumbai [with Bank Bazaar]. Her CV includes degrees from St Stephen's College, Delhi, and Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore; and a four-year stint at American Express, Delhi. [She says a special thanks to Pratik Shinde, a friend from the IIM days, for all the conversations during the coffee shop jaunts.]