The Bandra Soul -
Written by Sama Ankolkar
Situated in one of the off beat by-lanes of Bandra, this café/ restaurant is a blink and a miss. However, do not be fooled by the miniscule size of Bandra’s latest gem- Villa Vandre, which lures you with wafts of deliciousness beckoning you through its doors.
It is tiny when it comes to square-feet, but this 15 seater eatery manages to encompass the very charming vibe that Bandra has possessed over the years. It is enchanting to look at and welcomes you with greenery and wooden doors. We were greeted by a slightly harassed looking but endearing Phiroza, who didn’t know how to accommodate the eagerly waiting hungry looking families. With a couple of chairs outside to seat these enthusiastic foodies who were enthralled each time the door opened because of drafts of either grilled chicken, sausages or some prawn curry. I remember getting delighted with every whiff that caught my senses, putting my mind into spinning wheel of dishes I thought I could ask for.
The high ceiling with pastel walls, decorated with wooden shelves adorned with ceramic pots give you a very comfortable feeling of settlement and Chef Aloysius Dsilva’s endeavors in the kitchen can be spotted through the semi-open kitchen.
The variety on the menu boasts of a breakfast menu, which offers eggs, salads and sandwiches. Villa Vandre also features classics like the Parsi dhansak, a prawn curry with steamed rice, a couple of dishes which have been collected by the chef’s travels across the globe and some experimentation by him in the form of classics with a personal development.
We ordered the Home Made Eastern Sausage Fry, the Classic Prawn Curry with Okra and the Blackened Catch of the day. And oh boy!
The sausages were different from the usual Goan style; the twang of vinegar and spice was balanced out with the mashed potato. Mix the sausages well with the egg that is broken on top of this and dip the bread that it comes with it and you shall have extremely satiated taste buds.
The prawn curry is spiced perfectly with a generous portion of big prawns. It took me to eating at a little Konkan home with flavors of authenticity with every spoonful of delicious prawn curry and soaked ‘bhindi’ and rice.
We were really impressed with these dishes, though the winner was the Salmon with the mustard cream. The first bite hit me with surprise with mildly seasoned, perfectly grilled fish. The mustard cream compliments the dish well and you definitely will come back for this.
We ended the meal with a gooey chocolate brownie which we found wasn’t too gooey, but quite tasty nonetheless.
Villa Vandre is not just another little eatery that Bandra has. It truly does offer an essence of the old charm one misses now and then. The food is absolutely delicious, the place has a vibe that shouts out intimate and comfortable and once you’re in, the wait for a table is excusable because you do realize that its worth the wait. You cannot give this place a miss if you’re looking for a place to have a conversation over some really good food!
Written by Sama Ankolkar.