My 3-hour Lunch at Polpo Cafe & Bar – A Review

The rate at which the food scene in Bandra, Mumbai, changes is enough to make one dizzy – new restaurants opening, some shuttering, some reinventing themselves... One of the new kids on the block is Polpo Cafe and Bar that has opened up at the ground floor of Shatranj Napoli (in Pali Hill at Union Park, Road no. 3, off Carter Road). Last Saturday I was invited to lunch, along with a bunch of fellow food bloggers, to try out the new cafe; a lunch that went on for almost 3 hours! So, here goes...

We were seated in the bar section, next to a full-sized glass window overlooking the cafe area. The cafe looked inviting, with a beautiful vertical garden. The bar area is also well-lit, with white walls and cavern-like arches, giving an intimate feel to the place.
The Cafe area

We started off with the drinks and most of the others ordered for a variation of the Sangria – in red, white or rose wines. I decided to go for the Limoncello a Capri, in keeping with the Italian tone of the menu. I have always had Limoncello cold, so when my glass of warmed Limoncello arrived, with green apple and ginger juliennes in it, I was a bit surprised. But one sip and the drink won me over; and a few others at the table as well.
Ordering was a task since we were so many, but we decided to simplify and each order one Starter and one Main! This way we could try out several dishes. I ordered a tongue-twister – Girandole di Salmone Affumicato, which was smoked salmon pinwheels, served with rocket. In a word – perfect!
Girandole di Salmone Affumicato
Other starters...
Asparagi al Prosciutto - asparagus wrapped with Parma ham. Delicious!

Caprese - a generous salad of mozzarella, tomatoes with basil pesto and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Flavourful. 

Pollo della Chef - mustard marinated grilled chicken with garlic mayo. Nice.

Fonduta di Funghi - mushrooms stuffed with fondue. This one was OK.

Zucchine Fritte - batter-fried zucchini. A tad oily for my taste, but others seemed to like them.
Before ordering the mains, we went for a second round of drinks and I decided to try the Blushing Sangria (rose wine). It was quite nice, but I preferred the Blonde one (with white wine), which I had a sip of. But the Limoncello was my favourite.

For the mains, I decided to try the gnocchi, so I ordered the Gnocchi alla Ciociara, which was a deliciously spicy tomato cream sauce, with bacon, Italian sausage and porcini mushrooms mingling with the well-cooked gnocchi. A winning dish!
Gnocchi alla Ciociara
Other mains...
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. Delicious, but a bit difficult to eat without spilling! 

Petti di Pollo alla Griglia - grilled chicken breast,  with mashed potatoes, veggies and mushroom sauce. Not bad.

Pollo con Salsa Piccante - chicken tossed with tomatoes, cream and chilli flakes. Spicy but nice. 

Fish Veracruz - perfectly baked fish with a too-tangy tomato salsa. 

Gnocchi al Gorgonzola - vegetarian gnocchi tossed in gorgonzola sauce. This was quite delicious; the gnocchi was nicely done.

Risotto alla Genovese - basil-pesto risotto, with sun-dried tomatoes & topped with pine nuts. The risotto was cooked very well & the flavours spot-on!
Pizza - Meh! 
By this time we were so stuffed that we actually took a 10 minute break, walked outside to the cafe, explored the rest of the restaurant and returned to our table – looking forward to the dessert! The desserts are clearly the best part of Polpo’s menu and of the five dishes we ordered, there was only one miss. And their signature dessert, the Pizookie, was an absolute hit at the table, with the Bailey’s Surprise coming a close second.
Pizookie - freshly baked extra-large cookie topped with ice cream, nuts and chocolate sauce. The Dessert Champion!
Bailey's Surprise - chocolate mousse served in chocolate cup, with Bailey's oozing out when you stick your spoon in it!
New York Baked Cheesecake - scrumptious!

Red Velvet Cake - the only miss; the cake was too dry.

Tiramisu - a lovely combination of sponge and mascarpone, with a BIG coffee kick. Full marks!

We ended our long lunch at the bar, with shots of Italian Stallion – a peppermint and sambuca cocktail, which had an interesting mix of mint and anise flavours; I quite liked it.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Polpo Cafe & Bar. It’s well-located, has the option of outdoor seating, a well-appointed bar, good food and better desserts! What more can you ask for? 

All images are courtesy fellow food bloggers; I didn't whip out my camera at all!

Disclosure: I was invited by Polpo Cafe to experience their offerings.

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