Restaurant Review: Vicinia Cafe.Bar, Your Friendly Neighbourhood Eatery


With a name like ‘Vicinia’ which means vicinity or neighbourhood in Italian, this seven-month-old café cum bar channels casual with a capital ‘C’! With screaming kids running helter-skelter, almost toppling down the tray-toting server and parents publicly chasticising their offspring, Vicinia is one helluva noisy place. And don’t even get me started on the loud music and blearing TV. Located at the junction of Kemps Corner, one couldn’t have cherry picked a more perfect location for a café such as this. The dark outer façade gives it a very chic European feel and the interiors carry forward that look with black and white high chairs, exposed brickwork walls and industrial, corrugated metal flooring used in the staircase that takes you to the mezzanine level. Now, here’s where things start to go for a toss. The two giant beams that one has to duck under to reach ones table pose a serious hazard even for someone of average height, leave alone a six footer. Cramped, claustrophobic and sadly the place where I had my solitary Saturday lunch. Red DevilEncouraged by my server to try out their house specialty cocktail, the aptly named Red Devil, I gave in and was pleasantly pleased with the red wine, triple sec and lime juice concoction that even had two naughty little pieces of pineapple fronds in lieu of horns. Very innovative, that! The simplicity and burst of flavour that the Garlic-Parlsey Sautéed Mushrooms provided was truly applause worthy and a lesson in how something so plain could be jazzed up so expertly. Craving a burger, I simply had to indulge myself with the Beef Burger that was composed of one of the juiciest, largest patties of ground up meat I have ever seen. Bolstered by toasted buns anointed with sweet caramalised onions and cheese and served with a delish herb mayo, I crowned this burger the best one I have had in Mumbai for a long time and that’s not faint praise. I was so elated that it called for one more drink to celebrate. And this time, I went with my own choice of the Totally Infused. This one was a symphony of apple and cinnamon-infused whiskey, lime juice and fresh pear slices. While I love the taste of the smokiness that whiskey generally coats ones palate with, here it  was strangely missing and I suspect that the whiskey was replaced by vodka in my drink. Sitting pretty on my plate was the duo of two Grilled Tenderloin Steak pieces with buttery garlic mashed potatoes and a pinot and cracked pepper jus. Perfectly medium rare with a blushing pink core (just the way I lust it!) and juicy to the very last bite. Again a true gem of the dish. But my hopes of a moist, succulent piece of pork belly enrobed in a creamy carbonara-sauced pasta were shattered with a jackhammer when I trucked into the Pork Belly Carbonara Pasta. Substituted by bacon (which usually goes into a carbonara), the pork belly had done the vanishing act and I was told after I pointed out its omission that it wasn’t available that day. How about letting the patron know that when one places the order, guys? JD and Coke CupcakeAnother missing specimen that afternoon was the Jack Daniel in the ‘alleged’ JD and Coke Cupcake that masqueraded as my dessert. Perfectly fine and chocolate-y, but infused with JD it so was not! Other dessert offering are limited here with just a stodgy Apple Crumble and a boring old Blueberry Cheesecake bringing up the rear. While there are some glaring faults that Vicinia needs to remedy ASAP, I see nothing else coming in its way of being a place that becomes the newest go-to spot when in the hood! WHERE? Ground Floor, Chinoy Mansion, Near Gangar Opticians, Kemps Corner. Call, 022 30932030 HOW MUCH? Rs 1,000 for two without alcohol WHEN? 8am to 1am WHAT'S HOT? The superb location. Now, if only a stellar location could satisfy us… WHAT'S NOT? The very cramped and rather uncomfortable seating and the decibel levels of the piped music along with a constantly on TV that provide a disturbing soundtrack to your meal here! SHOULD YOU GO THERE? Hell yes! Images courtesy: Vicinia - Cafe.Bar and Raul Dias

Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.