Living in a city like Mumbai can sometimes make you feel like you need to come up for air. And what with all the blingy festivities and hosting all-night house parties and getting stuck in abysmal traffic jams, more and more people have been running to the biggest stress-buster of them all… the Sunday Brunch!
It’s a bit of a habit-forming thing, these brunches. Once you get into the groove, you want to keep going back for more. Which is why many of these enjoy quite a loyal fan following. In fact, it’s not unusual to see a city restaurant transform into a social club or ‘gymkhana’ on a Sunday afternoon with a lot of bonhomie and back-slapping between the diners. Tables get shuffled, people move from one group to another to hang out, and the whole place takes on the look of a private yacht party, much to the chagrin of the poor servers trying to keep up with the food and drink orders…
But the best thing about Sunday brunches? It’s at a time of day when Monday has still not reared its ugly, monstrous head, and thoughts of getting started on another manic week are distant enough to allow you to pause and smell the flowers… or, the food!
O:h Cha at Lower Parel is one such place where the airy interiors with natural light streaming down from skylights allow you to, or rather coax you to, pause and smell the aromas… of their Thai brunch. The snow-white tables and large bird-cage style lanterns give you a feel of easy style. And the the majestic sculpture of an eagle, mounted high above the bar, keeping an eagle-eye on all the proceedings below, is somehow reassuring as you settle down with a slender flute of Casablanca sparkling wine.
The starters arrive in quick succession, of which the soft n crunchy Turnip Cakes and the quaintly woolly Fried Lemongrass Chicken are very good. But the surprise package is the Chicken Satay with its juicy and tender morsels of chicken, and a peanut sauce that you want to take back home in jars!
Not a fan of soup at most times, I decide to try the Tom Yum in an attempt to appease my sore throat, sheepishly pushing away my now empty glass of chilled wine! And although the Tom Yum may not be strictly prescription material (sorry Doc Hingorani!), its piping hot goodness and rich tomato-ey taste hits the spot!
For main course, we are introduced to the Four Friends, a lovely coming-together of Asparagus, Shitake Mushroom, Broccoli and Forest Fungus that’s heartening in its simplicity and freshness – definitely an ode to good friendships! The Thai Green Curry and the delicately flavoured Steamed John Dory are quite lovely, but the Pad Thai can’t hold a candle to the real thing, as is the case with every Pad Thai I’ve had in the city.
And finally desserts… Although I was keen on trying out some goodies from Sweetish House Mafia or some of the gorgeous desserts of Café Zoe just next door, I am glad we stayed on for the house-made Orange, Lemongrass and Honey Sorbet, a beautifully refreshing little dollop that invigorates you with its sharp citrus flavours and ends your brunch languidly as it melts in your mouth…
As Sunday brunches go, O:h Cha has a relatively smaller spread (served directly at your table) as compared to other city brunch offerings, and is one of the quieter ones in the city, considering most places nowadays offer live music and karaoke to liven things up. But if you are looking for some much-needed R&R, some me-time to linger over heady flavours, a few moments to breathe deeply as you lean back to look up at the mellow afternoon sun and the glinting eagle, this place will fit right in to your city life.