Food Review: The Village Shop, Bandra, Mumbai
Breezy and welcoming, The Village Shop is an all-day organic café, tucked in a cozy villa and surrounded by the old-world charm of Chimbai village. It all started with Electras Organic (a bakery) with a stall at the Farmer’s Market where the health-conscious of Mumbai would queue up to have their delicious vegan and gluten-free goodies!
Founded by Javed Malik, the café elucidates the sourcing of its organic ingredients from all over India on the front page of their menu. With many vegan and gluten-free options to choose from, the café is passionate about the food they serve and abhors packaged foods in their kitchen, choosing to prepare most of the dishes in-house including vegan cheese, tofu, nut butters, seasonal jams and gluten-free – vegan breads.
We ordered for Rose oolong ice tea with chia seeds, Black rice salad, Shiitake mushroom burger and Vegan pizza.
The Rose oolong ice tea with chia seeds was enjoyable, but nothing exceptional. We were here on a hot, hot day and this drink was just what we needed to forget about the sweltering heat of Mumbai. The Black rice salad was zesty and visually colorful, with a generous dressing of spicy lemon. For someone who has never tried black rice before, this dish can rouse a lot of expectations and it lives up to it; the salad was delicious and quite filling.
The Vegan pizza came in a thin-crust, whole-wheat base (they do gluten-free on request), topped with mushrooms, olives, capsicum, and to my friend’s amazement, vegan cheese. The cheese made of cashews was soft, creamy and cheesy enough to become the star of the night even among the non-vegan tribe.
The Shiitake mushroom burger in gluten-free bread was phenomenal. The burger had a distinct meaty texture to it from the Shiitake which played out delightfully with the caramelized onions and vegan mayonnaise. This full of flavor, soul-satisfying burger is the best we’ve had in a long time and we definitely plan to go back for some more!
This melts-in-your-mouth, dripping in chocolate, luscious, moist chocolate cake is miraculously vegan and gluten free. One of the best cakes we’ve eaten, it is a big hit with vegans and non-vegans at the Village Shop café we’re told. Please do not skip the cake.
The Plum-flavoured yogurt is a welcome relief for vegans who don’t easily find dairy-free yogurt in the city. We really enjoyed this yogurt made from peanuts and rice milk with the sweet-sour taste of plums. It also makes for a wonderful mid-day healthy snack when craving something sweet.
Although we were expecting the name of the café to play out in the décor with a village look and feel, we didn’t mind the white-tiled outdoor seating and a sleepy dog at the entrance to welcome us.
The A/C section is really tiny with just 2 tables laid out but the outdoor seating makes up for the space crunch and has a good 5-6 tables with lots of fans to make up for Mumbai’s heat. We went again recently and the place is magical in the monsoon!
Polite, courteous staff, they go out of their way to make you comfortable. They understand vegan and gluten-free and are happy to customise many dishes on the menu without a fuss!
When we decided to pack some dessert for our friends, we were given our food in cute little cardboard boxes but they did not have a plastic bag for us to put the things in. They were firm about not using plastic and apologized for not having a paper bag in place yet. We were very impressed by this small yet impactful anti-plastic stand.