Forty years ago, it was a great place to go to – and it still is. If you are in South Bombay, I would recommend a visit, writes Vickram Sethi.
Much before Leopold became a tourist attraction because of the infamous Pakistani terror attack in 208, it was a place that we all went to for good, honest food where a burger could be shared by two with Cokes, and that was quite filling.
In my college days, I went to Leopold quite often with friends. It was affordable. The place had a very cheery college canteen look about it. Randomly placed posters, mirrors, neon signs advertising beers and coke. It was typical Irani / Parsi ambience, a very homely, mom-n-pop restaurant air about it, and even today it is still the same.
The mirrors seemed to have faded with age, a mural painted many years ago still hangs on the wall telling his age. Coke has an overwhelming presence. Even the signboard outside has an old coke visual. There is a certain nostalgia about the place, black polished tables and chairs, tablecloth with a glass toping gives the place its Parsi/ Irani character. The waiters are friendly, offer you good advice and give you great service.
The bullet holes from the terror attack are still there. The early tourist attraction of Leopold has faded out and it’s popular because of the food it serves.
The fans are still the same. A poster of beetles, Bob Marley. I went at teatime and ordered four dishes. The waiter advised us that the helpings were large, and we are over-ordering. I appreciated his honest advice.
What we ate and how I rated it:
Chilli Cheese Toast – Served the old-fashioned way, the bread was toasted first and then put in the oven with the cheese. It came straight from the oven to our table. Hot, large slices, generous coating of cheese. On a scale of 1 to 10. I would give it a 6.
I ordered a Chicken Burger that came with a decent helping of French fries. Large bun with Mayo on either side of the patty along with cheese lettuce. The patty and the mayo had a scuttle flavour. On a scale of 1 to 10. I would give it a 5.
They have a Combo Meal where they offer you beer/ milkshake/ one starter and a pastry. I ordered Chicken Harissa. Full of flavour served with crispy salad and two slices of garlic bread. On a scale of 1 to 10. I would give it a 5.
A Classic Pizza with Chicken Toppings. Thin crust, Crisp, good portion of cheese, onion capsicum giving it a nice desi flavour. The tomatoes adding a little hint of sweetness to the pizza. On a scale of 1 to 10. I would give it a 6.
I ordered a Coke and A Strawberry Milkshake. It had the taste of fresh strawberries. Nothing synthetic about it and not overloaded with sugar.
Leopold is an all-day dining restaurant and at 4:30 pm, customers were having curry and rice. Forty years ago, it was a great place to go to and it still is. And we are sure it was the same 150 years ago when it opened.
Good, honest food served hot on the table. No cutting corners. Comfortable chairs that allow you to be seated for as long as you like.
The meal cost us Rs 3100, which I found expensive. However, if you are in South Bombay, I would recommend a visit.
Leopold Cafe and Bar
Shahid Bhagat Singh Road (Colaba Causeway), Mumbai 400001
Open from 7.30am to 12midnight
Seniors Today reviews anonymously and pays for meals.