“Priscilla, would you care for a bit of brunch after a spot of lawn tennis? I can make reservations at the Little Door.”
I have always imagined brunch as rather sophisticated and genteel affair. It’s a non-urgent meal for those with the liberty to idle away their mornings and dine at leisure. My mind recalls a beautiful piece by the Roman poet Horace (A Day at Rome). He describes the life of a content being who casually strolls through the markets, the forum and the circus with little concern that he must rise in the morning. It’s not a fancy life, admittedly, but one which only a certain amount of wealth and freedom can afford. This is how I imagine brunch.
Now fast-forward over 2000 years to the “Bombayite brunch”. In most cases, the Bombayite brunch is a far-cry from the tranquil dining experience I had once envisioned. In actual fact, it’s very much an extension or a replacement (for curfew-constrained folk) of Saturday night’s shenanigans. At Little Door, the crowd has dolled itself up like it’s Tomorrow Land: Raybans, aviators, tanktops, crop tops, beads, chains, you name it, somebody is wearing it. There is Karaoke going on in the background with a girl singing Abba’s Dancing Queen like a dismembered house mouse caught in a spring-loaded trap. It’s all rather disconcerting but mildly amusing at the same time.
Judgements aside, it’s quite a fun, upbeat atmosphere at Little Door; I manage a heroic, if not slightly dubious, win on the Fuzzball table against two strangers, who even seem to have developed their own code language to play the game. A table behind me are engrossed in a game of Jenga, made even more precarious by the breeze from the 400mm Havells’ wall fans. A foreigner also welcomes me to the place with the utmost courtesy – I can’t make out if he’s the manager touting for business or an unusually gregarious human being for a Sunday morning.
A less diligent reviewer might be tempted to cut this review short, declare Little Door as a “fun and friendly brunch spot”, and move on…But sadly that wouldn’t be in my nature. I turn to the food.
The savoury buffet is a meagre selection laid out on a small table right in the centre of the restaurant. Swarms of people crowd the table, picking up anything they can get their hands on (quite literally). It would make the stomachs turn of anyone slightly cognisant of good food hygiene practices. I pull out a hair of the alphonso mango salad – not a good start. The cold spaghetti salad is hideously overcooked; the mozzarella on the cheese and tomato skewers is more squeaky than uncooked halloumi and the pastry used in the mushroom tartlet resembles a brandy snap basket as opposed to shortcrust pastry. The nutella and banana pancakes are a better effort, but little consolation to what went before.
Clearly the Little Door is doing well with the Andheri locals; I poked my head into a couple of places nearby (Billionaire Club and Boveda) and both were eerily empty. However, people are certainly not coming here for the food…With that in mind, I think my 3/5 rating is exceedingly generous given that one of the core tenants of any restaurant is the “food”, which in the case of Little Door is a wholly unsound proposition.