Poetry by Love and Cheesecake (Bandra, Mumbai)

I thought I was walking into a scene from Jessica Mitford’s “Behind The Formaldehyde Curtain” at Poetry by Love and Cheesecake. The place is devoid of life and reassembles something between a mortuary and doctor’s waiting room. The floor, stairs and walls are painted in a clinical and institutional turquoise colour – the shade of doctors’ scrubs and a very similar one to that which dead bodies are wrapped in the Western world. The comparison might seem extreme, but it is singularly the most ghastly colour scheme I have seen in a restaurant. Even the central island refrigerator has a similar streak of turquoise running along the side.

The light wood cabinets and tables on the side again strike a hideous aesthetic. I am talking about the sort of shade my parents decided was appropriate for my bedroom circa 1998, when glass tiles, lava lamps, black leather sofas and stainless knobs were all the rage.

The poetry theme is a non-starter. I counted 2 non-descript poems on the walls. If you are going to have a theme, at least try get some mileage out of it – oh and presenting me the bill in the front page of an Indian book of poems is not in the least bit “imaginative”. At least indulge me with some lines of the greats and pay hommage to those struggling poets who as Maugham describes in his novel “Of Human Bondage” would give up everything, including their dignity just to make works of art.

The light coloured, pastel murial on the left-hand wall is a strange feature for a place called “Poetry”. It reminds me of a heavily filtered graphic from a new age men’s t-shirt; the sort that has some reference to “electronic dance music”, “waves”, “sunset” or any other inane but cool sounding set of words.

Aesthetics aside, the food is rather splendid. A kale salad with avocado, orange, almond shavings, little stubs of parmean and unctuous garlic dressing is a formidable combination: no ingredient superflous and no ingredient overpowering.

The make your own omelette allows for an infinite number of permutations and a commendable set of cheeses are available (note to self: must try the cheese board next time). An omelette might seem an easy dish to make but it’s amazing how many get it wrong (ref: my recent experience at Craft). Alas, my rather limiting food regime wouldn’t allow for a dessert but minus some of the squirty cream thrills, the desserts behind the glass coffin (read refrigerator) looked enticing.

It has to be said, for the quality of the fare at Poetry, I’m almost willingly to overlook even the gravest of aesthetic shortcomings.

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