Alleluia! A star is born. Good ole Shakespeare was right, when he thundered “What’s in a name?” For sure, this unpretentious, moderately priced star is misleadlingly named. The brand new Café Sundance shares nothing with the late Sundance (RIP) except its name and space in Churchgate. The menu is entirely different, as is the management and the chef. But it is honest, direct and comforting. Like the three generations of guests today. They share a passion for food and fashion, bubbly young Aditi loves dancing and singing too, while her mother fashion entrepreneur Nisha Sharma moved to Delhi only to wow it with her successful garment factory which supplies to prominent stores. This is obviously in her genes because her mother Nina Vasa has not only been successfully creating garments for decades but also the best cheesecakes. After a long and leisurely lunch “We loved every single dish here” they chorused and like Arnie Schwarznegger we all added “We ll be back”.
Gone are the erstwhile Sundance’s orange mascot with the cowboy hat and rundown chairs. The two levels of this small 55 seater are spruced up, bright cream walls, glassed show kitchen, wooden tables and chairs, a giant backlit wall rack stacked with vintage odds and ends and comic books complete the charm.
Having enjoyed (most of) the lunch, I pop in unannounced for a solitary dinner too (am delighted to bump into my twitter foodie buddy Roxanne Bamboat). None of the old Ninja Turtle Burgers and Indian Chinese but whoa! What burgers, dogs and sliders here. Plenty of other café staples, such as sandwiches,pastas, pizzas and salads. For me, the sliders (Rs 100 each) (especially the moist, flavorsome pork belly slider with star anise and barbecue sauce ) work the magic. True blue German frankfurters made juicier with American mustard, ketchup are enlivened with relish, jalapenos and gherkins, be it the classic Hot dog, or the delightful bacon and cheese dog.
Veggies go for the portobello mushroom burger. The juicy tenderloin burger, Cajun chicken burger (oozing cheese in its centre) and the fish and chips burger (with the tang of Bengali kasundi mustard) come out tops. The gifted 28 year old chef Mikhail Shahani ( who also runs Ketan Kadam’s Two One Two Bar & Grill) is always there. Happily, veggies are taken care of, the four-tiered vegetarian lasagna as good as that in Two one Two. Ask for the side of the steamed corn on the cob (with parsley butter and nimbu and mirchi) and outstanding aglio olio angel hair pasta. Chorizo pizza, Mediteranean grilled prawns and the addictive Barbecue chicken wings are worth trying too. As is the Cheesecake with it’s crunch of Digestive biscuits and the dense, Ecuadorian chocolate truffle (only at dinner).
Packed and noisy. To make matters worse they don’t take reservations. Café Sundance has additional drawbacks, the tables are placed too close to each other. Some of the mains are heaped over with sauce (pot roasted chicken, Rawas) as is the spinach ravioli. Beef strogonoff lacks punch. The option of whole wheat buns and rolls (for the burgers and dogs) is needed. Many desserts are unavailable
it’s centrally located, has a well stocked bar, is open through the day (8am to midnight). Serves affordably priced (Av dish Rs 395) comfort food, has a cheery newspaper menu and the bill is presented in a Jughead comic. But its not about fussy gimmicks, the kitchen is the focal point and Café Sundance is ultimately about eating more than anything else. I applaud their gift for breathing fresh life into familiar genres, for grafting the present onto the past.Jughead khush hua!
Café Sundance, ground floor, Eros Building, Churchgate, call 22026212Open 8am to midnight.
FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 AMBIANCE 3.5
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