His travels showed him that income inequality, classicism and the fact that there’s no dignity of labour in India are gaping issues that pour into the food and dining scene as well… When was the last time you shared a table with a blue-collar worker, or a domestic help?
Amin decided to make what he saw during the course of his travels, a reality in India. With funds collected from selling his self-published book, he started the Bombay to Barcelona Library Cafe. Now, a tourist favourite and internationally famous haunt, the cafe features wholesome, freshly prepared and mostly healthy dishes from across the world, especially Spain, while maintaining a robust representation of local foods - poha bhajias, sabudana khichdi, and even a baingan-bharta sandwich (yep).
This one also doubles up as a library, with books from all around the world being donated to the cafe. We were touched to know that every book in the library has a heartfelt note from the original owner, talking about why they’ve donated that particular book. It’s safe to say our hearts melted long before we tasted a single morsel… But we ate a lot, anyway. You’ll see!
Our culinary expedition spanned across the tapas menu and the desi menu, starting off with the Cafe Bonbon. Amin told us that this particular drink is the best thing we’ll ever have, a curious combination of chocolate and coffee. While we love the pairing as much as the next guy, the little cup and our expectations from it, were, in fact, quite petite. He told us that the thing about the Cafe Bonbon that sets it apart is that the first sip will have you saying “wow,” the second sip would have you saying “I love it,” and the third, you’ll be asking if you can have one more. We’re happy to point out that we placed an order for round 2 on the second sip itself.
It’s a truly luscious drink, and it is as sinful as it is light. We were amazed to find that this combination of premium coffee and chocolate only cost INR 140!
Next up, we tried the Baked Mushrooms from the Spanish Tapas menu. At INR 220, this one’s a great shared eat, with nostalgic, comforting flavours, owing to the tomato-ey sauce and cheese. This one’s honestly unmissable, and is worth coming back for!
Non-vegetarians, y’all have got to try the Chicken Fingers (INR 240). The chicken was perfectly crusty, soft AF and ate like quintessential, ahem, finger food. It was served with a spicy mayo which tasted fresh, balanced and perfectly spicy. This, too, was a part of the Spanish Tapas menu.
We moved on to the house specialty - Poha Bhajiyas (INR 190) next, and honestly loved the fact that it’s even a part of the menu! Amin wanted to keep things as local as possible too, and we think this one’s a great addition to their well-rounded menu. Served with fresh coriander hara chutney, these are (obviously) the perfect monsoon/winter snack.
It’s time for main course! One of us (AKA me…) is a vegetarian, and Amin recommended that I try the Velvety Butter Mushrooms. When the dish arrived, I was told that this is basically Butter Chicken gravy made vegetarian, served with the ‘shrooms, instead of meat… And I’m honestly so thankful I tried it! Truly velvety, comforting and packed with warm, nostalgic flavours, this one’s the ideal soul-satiating main course.
Now, this meal was more than just a food review for us, so of course we’re gonna recommend that you visit this cafe at least once! Every employee here is a former street kid, who’s met their happy ending via meaningful employment at the cafe. Amin aspires to keep things as eco-friendly as possible, and that’s another thing we endlessly appreciate. When you visit, do remember to donate to their cause - it’s always a great time to give back.