Coming home to Prithvi Cafe


A slice of nostalgic warmth and a space where the creative and the artistic are celebrated, Prithvi Cafe is a piece in Mumbai’s theatre history. An open air cafe, attached to the legendary Prithvi Theatre inside the Janki Kutir premise in Juhu, the cafe has evolved over the years in terms of its decor and menu but what has remained constant, are the loyal regulars. I for one, belong to that category.

A slice of nostalgic warmth and a space where the creative and the artistic are celebrated, Prithvi Cafe is a piece in Mumbai’s theatre history.

My affair with this quaint place has been never-ending; It began when I was 16 and is thriving till today. As a student with a meagre pocket money, I’d come here with my novel and lounge here for hours at a stretch, sipping on cups of cutting chai and a samosa, in the corner under a tree, and more frequently than not, you’d still find me here on any given day. The place allows you to have your private space even when you’re sharing your table with three others, and yet when you wish to snap out of that, you’d find yourself surrounded with friendly faces.

Cutting chai at Prithvi Cafe

They say that home is a place which allows you to be yourself, where you’re loved no matter what, where you can always come back to and they’ll accept you with open arms. Prithvi has been no less than a second home to me. The staff at the cafe and Raju bhaiya at the bookstore (whose knowledge of Hindi literature is commendable!) are always there to give you company when you need. Kayum, the manager at the cafe will always welcome you with a bright smile and a ‘aaj aane mein late ho gaya?‘ question, giving way to familiarity and warmth.

The food menu here has come a long way. From the basics like cutting chai, their famous Irish coffee, samosa and puffs, they’ve moved on to include stuffed parathas, biryanis, hummus and pita bread, sandwiches, pizzas to exotic desserts and what not! And trust me, they’re all worth a try.

What you must try:

  • The parathas are served with raita, dal makhani and pickle and my favourite is the stuffed paneer paratha – soft yet crisp.
  • The biryanis are delicious and bursting with flavours. They’re served with raita, pickle and salad.
  • Street food like sev puri, bhel puri, chaat, pavbhaji are worth a try too.
  • Beer bottle chaas – avery deceiving drink that will ensure some judgement from the first-timers, especially if it is a group of aunties and you happen to be a girl! 😉
  • Irish coffee, cutting chai and Sulemani chai  – You don’t want to miss this!

PS: The new stuff on the menu is worth a shot too, especially the hummus with grilled vegetables and the Jalapeno poppers.

From the young blossoming romance and new friendships, theatre and book lovers engrossed in a passionate discussion to the old uncle who sits under the tree and enthrals everyone with his flute recital every evening, there is place for everyone here.

And while you’re there, you might spot me sitting there with a novel or writing notes and while a cup of chai rests on the table…come say hello and I promise to enchant you with a story or two.

PS: On a lucky day you might get to meet legendary Shri Shashi Kapoor too!

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