Cuisine: Italian, Bakery
Serves: Vegetarian, Non-vegetarian
Baby-friendly scale: 3.5/5
Living in Chembur (Mumbai), my spouse and I have visited Italian resto Le Café in the past as a married-with-no-kids couple. But ever since our daughter Kalyani was born, we didn't hang out there as we weren't sure if it would be baby-friendly. But the call of this favourite food joint haunted us, until we decided to visit it with Baby K for an evening out one fine day.
We reached Le Café by 9pm and there was just 1 table left. Luckily, there was a couch with plenty of space for Baby K to jump on, and paddle across from one side to the other. And we were seated right in front of the telly, which was tuned to cricket but she seemed to enjoy it nevertheless.
Baby K was thrilled when we set her on the couch, and so were we-till we saw the table. The table was not very child-friendly. In the middle, there was a glass bowl with beautiful lilies floating in water, and shiny steel forks and spoons all around; tempting enough for a one-and-half-year old to make a go at. However, the service team was alert enough to watch out for the little tyke and promptly moved the items. The cutlery, thankfully, came back with the order.
The first item to be ordered was our all-time favourite-Le Café Cheese Fondue. The unique presentation had Baby K hooked from the time it arrived at the table. The first bite and viola! We had another addition to the fan club. The little one has always had a taste for spicy food and loves boiled vegetables with a dash of spices, so we were fine with the risotto and the salad bowl that we ordered. Classic Caesar Salad, Pizza Margherita and the oven-baked grilled vegetable Lasagna, arrived shortly after that. In case you haven't guessed by now, we are vegetarians. (My apologies for the caveat so late into the evening.)
Made to order, you can request to turn down or up the spice level depending on the requirement of your child. In our case though, this was quite redundant. The menu has a basic offering from pizzas and pastas, to sandwiches, salads and an assortment of fruit juices. To add to the experience, the desserts are very prominently displayed, and you can also make a ceremony of selecting one with an older child.
In the time between the dishes being ordered and their arrival, Baby K found a friend. Being a family hangout, there were many toddlers playing around. So Baby K and her newfound friend seated at the neighbouring table, got along very well (read: without pulling each other's hair or tugging at the other's dress). And we, of course, could relax a little more. The view from the restaurant, in the evening-with several cars keeping the roads lit with their tail-lights-is also quite entertaining for a toddler. Although the space is limited and has many tables, it has been designed intelligently to make it seem like there is ample gap between tables too.
Note: Although the spacious washrooms are close at hand, there is no diaper-changing facility. There is also no private space for feeding the baby; however this is a hotel too, so the team may be open to giving you a room if available, though I am yet to try that.
What I liked about the team was that they were quite attentive throughout their service. Thoughtfully, no glasses came back on our table, for tiny hands to explore.
Overall, an evening well-spent and one place that scores well on the baby-friendly scale.