The first thing you notice about the all-new organic deli, The Birdsong, on Waroda Road in Bandra, Mumbai, are the huge French windows. As you enter you realise that those windows are just a teaser for what awaits inside. Set up by Jennifer Mallick, famous for her vegan carrot cakes at Mumbai’s biannual Farmer’s Market, and Ashish Madan, The Birdsong has minimally, yet very tastefully done-up interiors, thanks to Mumbai-based architect Samir Raut. The deli counter, complete with glass jars filled with cookies of different shapes, stands in front of a huge black wall on which sprawls the chalk-written menu. Almost all furniture is vintage and even the tableware has an old-world charm to it. The exposed brick walls and the bulbs that hang from the ceiling give the place a character, which is reinforced by the playful wall doodles of their fare and the charcoal drawing of The Beatles upstairs.
After settling into chairs adorned with cute floral-printed upholstery, we picked the double chocolate chip cookie and the choco-walnut brownie first. While the cookies, topped with walnut and chocolate chunks, were as divine as they looked, the brownie was a bit unconventional because of its non-sticky texture. The reason: they are “gluten-free”, informed the very jovial chef Ambar Samnath. When asked about the largely vegetarian menu (save a few egg and mutton dishes), Samnath told us that they didn’t serve chicken because of the cafe’s name (“no birds are hurt at The Birdsong”). We almost bought his theory till Mallick explained to us, while adding finishing touches to a hand-written menu card, the difficulty in sourcing organic chic
ken and fish in India
As of now The Birdsong has a comparatively small variety of sandwiches, stews, quiches, salads and breads on its menu, but it is all set to unveil a new breakfast-lunch-dinner menu the coming week. We followed up our chocolate binge with a portion of the famed carrot cake and some lemon ginger juice. The carrot cake lived up to its reputation but the strong ginger flavour in the juice was not too flattering. Our favourite among the desserts were the ‘blondies’—a chocolate chip brownie which is not brown—and the coconut banana bread.
However, the cafe has a lot to catch up on its sandwiches, quiches and pastas. Apart from the very homely brown rice and mutton stew combo, the savoury side of the menu could do with a bit of creativity in both ingredients and plating. The crust of the quiches we tried was flimsy and the pasta was a bit too bland. However, the dessert overdose left us full before we could try out the soups. What adds to the cosy atmosphere at the deli is the cheerful and helpful nature of the owners, who are always just a shout away, ever ready to answer any doubts or queries their customers may have. Despite large portions, the catch is that most dishes are steeply priced. The cost of going organic? we wonder.
The Birdsong, Waroda Road, Bandra
Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Approx. Rs 800 for a meal for two