Fat Man’s Cafe (Bandra, Mumbai)

“Successful, rich, attractive, nubile, shaggable people are thin people”

Fat Man’s cafe in Bandra, despite the name, is every bit the opposite. It’s a cafe for the thin glamorous elite and apparently regularly plays host to Bollywood’s divas, think: Alia Bhatt (who I recently learn is also of British Nationality).

The reason Fat Man’s Cafe is so suited to such grandiloquent individuals is not because the place is exclusive, lavish or expensive, but precisely because it serves the comfort food (“poor man’s” food of the West) that it so desired by those with vast wealth. This might seem illogical, but whether it be Sunny Leone’s secret love for Domino’s, or Alia Bhatt’s craving for Fatman’s burgers, the message is simple: those for whom food is no longer a symbol of aspiration, have found an escape in high calorific junk. From what I sense, it’s almost as if eating such food, as opposed to dishes that look like they have been designed by an arranger at the Chelsea Flower Show, reflects an innate yearning to be normal. After all, I’m sure Alia can eat anywhere and anything she chooses…

On the table ahead of me, there is rather a nerdy looking chap on a date, wearing a Podhar International School polo shirt (yawn…). I don’t think he can believe his luck that he’s managed to convince a girl almost as good looking as Alia to come and dine with him! I’m almost ready to get up and shout like Harry Enfield “can’t you see mate, she’s after yar money….loadsa and loadsa money”… I noticed he doesn’t pick up the bill either: fair play, young laddie.

The food is hardly captivating. Some potato skins with chipolte cream and synthetic orange cheese. Apparently orange dyes were added to 17th Century cheeses in Britain to pass them off as high end products. As consumers, we’ve come along way since then and as anyone knows orange cheese is a synonym for Ersatz.

The portobello mushroom sliders were a greasy affair. The pesto sauce they came smeared in simply didn’t work well with the already oily mushrooms. Whatever they were charging for 3 itsy burgers was a long way from value. On a separate occasion, I tried a rather feeble tomato and mozzarella sandwich. The cheese was of the pips-squeak variety and no solace was to be found in the wimpy stringy tomatoes.

The venue itself is charmless; it feels a poor attempt at shabby chic and the cleanliness is dubious (relative to the bright and clinical Doolally in the same lane). The crowd is fine, if you’re into eves-dropping into the trials and tribulations of the college-going crowd. Moreover with the restaurant doing only about 20 covers, don’t be surprised if you feel like you’re dining in someone’s conservatory.

This place might satisfy some of Alia’s carnal cravings (God help us what the rest of them are) but for the average hum-drum Bandra diner, Fatman’s will almost certainly underwhelm…

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