Whether it’s a quick lunch with your girlfriends from work at that new cafe in your office block, or a lazy chit-chat over wine and fondues with school friends reuniting after many years, girlie lunches are always something special. Why? Well, would you offer your tin of lip balm, point out a bleeding eyeliner in a hushed whisper, agree that the girl at the next table is wearing a fuchsia (not pink!) dress, or go to the loo together to finish that story with your GUY date? That’s what I’m talking about! 😉
My last week’s girlie lunch was not exactly a planned one, but like most unplanned things, it turned out to be even more fun because of the way it came about. I was all tripped up to go chat with Kainaz Messman, the ‘Bakery Queen’ of the city, who I admire and love, so much so that I spend almost half my week at her Theobroma outpost in Bandra, and my ‘usual’ of one Chicken Cheese Patties and a cup of extra-hot Cappuccino is something the boys there jump to as soon as they see me! It was an exclusive preview of a new baby that Kainaz has lovingly patted, prodded and moulded into shape called Three Chicks and a Bear (Kainaz tells a lovely little story on this cute name!). Predominantly a burger joint, it shares space with the first Theobroma in Lower Parel, next to Todi Mills. As I settled down to my nice dark wooden table, cracking my knuckles to get started on the menu, in walks another good friend, food consultant Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, who has been doing stellar work in keeping the city excited about all things food through workshops, demos, pop-ups and what-nots at her lovely, homely cooking studio, A Perfect Bite.
Soon we three ‘chicks’ were deep in conversation about all things food, from Kenyan curries to hill-station bakeries to the French way of making Lemon Tarts back to the job at hand… the job of ploughing through the mountain of food that Kainaz had ordered for us. Crisp Tapioca Chips with assorted house sauces, cheesy saucy Meatballs, crunchy Squid Rings (dusted with a lovely Seeni Sambal spice), super-spicy Chicken Wings, and a griddle full of Mac and Cheese were just some of the dishes from the menu she insisted we try. I know what you must be thinking… ‘These girls can EAT!‘ But never underestimate the power of women’s gossip, because almost everything disappeared into our tummies while we chatted on about life, loves and loaves.
Then arrived the towering Israeli Salted Burger, pastrami-style, piled high with home-cured slices of meat, and the piquant Korean Fish Burger that sat pretty in its sauces glinting wickedly back at you. Kainaz revealed the secret behind the really soft and delicious burger buns – a special Brioche bread baked in-house – and carefully noted our helpful little suggestions, while gently nudging us towards her mountainous Freak Shakes. While Rushina settled for the Lemon one which is a glorious jar of pure, liquid lemon tart, I made serious in-roads into my Red Velvet jar, rimmed with cookie crumbs and topped with a slice of cake that threatened to topple over any second.
So did we finish it all? Food, pretty much. Chat, no way! That’s ‘cos we girls don’t know the meaning of the word ‘enough’, definitely not after that happy moment of discovering we are all Virgos with birthdays within a week of each other!
And that’s what’s great about this place. The food is plentiful, hearty and comforting, the ambience bright and easy with plenty of natural light, and the conversations as long and interesting as you want them to be. And it looks like Kaniaz’s new baby is already a favourite, going by the big crowds on my recent brownie run there. For me, I have my eyes, and heart, set on the Thai Pork Belly and French Blue Cheese Burger next.
So who’s up for a long, chatty, food-packed girlie lunch?