Café Mumbai – Vancouver, BC


Café Mumbai
2893 West Broadway (@ Bayswater Street)
Vancouver, BC
(604) 737 2500

In my past travels through India, I have never been able to make it to the west coast mega-city of Mubami (ex-Bombay) much to my dismay. Though I am aware that it is the centre of the country’s business and entertainment institutions, and the metropolis attracts people from all over India to work and live.

Café Mumbai seemingly picked up on this, and claimed to cover the diverse range of cooking and styles of cuisine of the nation.  In an almost-direct rebuttal to the Indian-influenced creations at the city’s best known “Indian” restaurant Vij’s, Café Mumbai states they focus on tradition and there is “no confusion by fusion”.

To me, the dine-in menu seemed to be represented more by staples from the north such as samosas and tandoori, with a few smatterings of those from the south such as pakoras.  With owners originally from the western state of Gujarat, the menu also featured a good number of vegetarian choices.  Though not photographed, the Daal Makhni (black lentils cooked with onions and tomatoes) was unfortunately bland in flavour and disappointing.

Lacking a full out buffet as it common at many Indian restaurants in town, for lunch there are some set specials, including the pictured above non-veg mini meal that included two pieces of tandoori chicken, a choice of lamb curry or butter chicken, the day’s vegetable, rice and naan.  It was just fine, not outstanding nor horribly bad, and portion-wise good for a solo diner.  The butter chicken was a touch on the tart side, so for those who like it sweeter, keep this in mind.

Though in a high pedestrian traffic stretch of West Broadway, it seems Café Mumbai suffers from poor curb appeal.  This visit was on a Saturday lunch, and no other customers were there besides our table, though I could see through the front windows many people passing by and some stopping at the dark , heavy door but not entering.  From the outside looking in, the contrast from the brightness outside to the darkness indoors was striking, and perhaps adding to the lack of enticement to come in.

If it were me, I’d open up those windows and the door to allow more flow and air inside.  As well, if I were the lone manager/server who was there that day, I’d get rid of the spread out newspaper and not sit there at the front table while your diners are eating, as it didn’t seem that professional to me – after all this is a place of business and not your living room.

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