From Tokyo To Latin America, 3 New Mumbai Hotspots That Blend Design And Dining

As Mumbai's dining culture evolves with increasing creativity, here are three new establishments where the ambience becomes a sensory delight.

  • 3 Jul '24
  • 4:41 pm by Sana Chohan

In a city teeming with an unmatched social pulse and a surge of new hotspots emerging weekly, Design Pataki unveils three unmissable venues delivering unforgettable gastronomic experiences. Mokai, with its Asian-inspired Indian-crafted coffee adventure, transports you across Southeast Asia. Charlee, a bar-centric vegetarian haven, offers a rugged hideaway, while Otra presents a warm and exclusive Latin American farm-to-table dining experience

  1. Mokai, Bandra – Unlike Any Other

Left: A cosy coffee window awaits daily joggers and bikers, providing quick takeaways. Right: The ground floor washroom intrigues with visual collages and infinity mirrors, creating an immersive experience. (Image Credits: Assad Dadan)

Standing as an open portal in the quaint lanes of Bandra, this all-day dining and coffee house takes you on a journey across the café cultures of Southeast Asia, A striking artwork by Zero & Anup wraps around the facade of the cosy bungalow walls, drawing inspiration from the iconic woodblock print ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ by Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai interjected with bright brewing visuals of a moka pot. In a delightful dance between Japanese minimalism and Tokyo’s vibrant street culture, the café designed by Studio 6158 permeates energetic warmth, inviting patrons to savour the eclectic charm of this Asian-inspired Indian-made coffee house. From the Japanese ‘Sashiko’ embroidery to Indian ‘Kantha’ motifs, the interiors, packaging, and brand collaterals in collaboration with Jungle Gym showcase a unique graphic language that reflects a distinct brand identity finishes like brass and veneer. 

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The seating arrangements differ on each floor, inviting guests to embrace novelty and versatility. (Image Credits: Assad Dadan)

The furniture from FM International echoes the principles of wabi-sabi, celebrating imperfections through raw textures and curved forms. A pet-friendly outdoor area and a small coffee window cater to daily joggers and bikers, enhancing the café’s welcoming ambience with two floors inside for co-working or relaxing. At the heart of Mokai is founder Karreena Bulchandani’s passion for travel and coffee, resonating joyfully throughout the café. From meticulously crafted manual brews to vibrant smoothies, Mokai’s menu is a treasure trove of coffee delights. Transporting your taste buds through Southeast Asia, you can savour treats like creamy Taro Boba from Taiwan, bold Dancing Coffee from India, and fragrant Teh Tarik from Malaysia. Celebrating coffee, culture, and craftsmanship, Mokai delivers authenticity in a coffee-infused concept.


 2. Charlee, Santacruz – An Atypical Escapade 

Entering Charlee envelops you in a mysterious charm, with dark textured interiors that exude a timeless and rustic allure. (Image Credits: Lost and Hungry Studios)

An urban hideaway, Charlee is a bar that serves vegetarian fare. “Charlee isn’t just another typical pub, it’s an opportunity to explore a mystery spot cleverly tucked away in the busy lanes of Santacruz,” reveals Suren Joshi, Co-founder of Charlee. Akin to a ‘Batcave meets Gentleman’s Club’ aesthetic, the space is an intriguing blend of dark interiors that exude a timeless allure. Sitting between exposed stone walls, textured floors, and undulating metal mesh that wraps around the ceiling is the sleek leather-surfaced furniture that glimmers under the soft lights. A stunning bar counter with natural stones that exude an organic charm serves as the focal point of the space creating a captivating focal point that draws the eye. “In conceptualizing Charlee, we aspired to design a venue that exudes both sophistication and charm, providing guests with a distinctive experience within Mumbai’s exclusive vegetarian bar scene,” express designers Kasturi Wagh and Vineet Hingorani of Kaviar Collaborative. A den-like hideaway – Charlee derives its name from Old English tradition, evoking warmth, familiarity, and modernity in this mysterious enclave.

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The bar counter, clad in natural stones, captivates with its organic charm and harmonious blend of exposed textures and contemporary style. (Image Credits: Lost and Hungry Studios)

textures and contemporary style. (Image Credits: Lost and Hungry Studios)

Infused with avant-garde cuisine and inventive cocktails, Charlee boasts an intriguing menu curated by Restaurateur Suren Joshi and Entrepreneur Mokksh Sani. Charlee’s all-vegetarian menu dazzles with Kimchi Brussels Sprout, Sriracha Salted Edamame, and Nori Nachos, while mushroom lovers will thrill at Portobello Sliders, Black Truffle Udon, and Mushroom Galouti, all crowned by the show-stealing Sesame Cheesecake with tahini ice cream. Sunny, Head Mixologist at Charlee, aims to redefine the cocktail scene by infusing white spirits with roots like Turmeric, herbs, and complex flavour pairings, blending nostalgic vibes with a contemporary twist to introduce guests to a new world of flavours and experiences. Whether seeking a sophisticated evening or a casual gathering with friends over drinks and bites, Charlee invites you to turn ordinary evenings into extraordinary ones.


 3. Otra, Fort – Championing The Culinary Community 

The semi-circular granite bar, clad in weathered wood, features cocktail stations for 10 guests with a front-row seat to the mixology experience. (Image Credits: Sahil Behal)

Otra, a contemporary Latin American restaurant parked in Mumbai’s colonial lanes, curated by Chef Alex Sanchez and Restaurateur Mallyeka Watsa, has redefined dining for Mumbaikars. Sanchez, known for farm-to-table cooking in India, champions locally sourced produce, infusing Mumbai with fresh Latin American flavours. Designed by Case Design, the restaurant blends natural textures for a rustic yet modern ambience. The space exudes a cavernous appeal, with dark and sultry interiors complemented by accent lighting and a gentle glow emanating from two custom-made marble chandeliers. At the centre of the room sits an impressive semi-circular granite bar clad in weathered wood echoing a megalithic inspiration. The restaurant features three distinct areas: a lounge for walk-ins and casual nights out, a bar for immersive cocktail experiences, and a dining room for complete meals. The abundant use of salvaged wood from Mallyeka’s family farm enriches Otra’s aesthetic, infusing the space with warmth and a sense of heritage, emphasizing sustainability, and lending it a characteristic familiarity.

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The extensive use of salvaged wood throughout, from frames to bar cladding, gives the space a distinct look sourced from the co-founder Mallyeka Watsa’s family farm. (Image Credits: L – Sahil Behal, R- Nirmala Patil)

Chef Alex Sanchez’s menu ranges from tangy Botanas and reimagined Pork Belly ‘Pernil’ to seven unique Tacos. The bar program, crafted by Darren Crawford and Govind Singh, highlights vibrant Latin American spirits, especially agave, rum, and pisco. Central to Otra’s ethos is the fresh-ground Masa program that realises Chef Alex’s dream of serving the perfect taco with fresh corn tortillas in India. This achievement, over 13 years in the making, marks India’s first homegrown corn tortilla program in a standalone restaurant. In crafting authentic experiences, Otra stands at the forefront of excellence in homegrown dining.