Farzi Cafe (Lower Parel, Mumbai)

“Don’t talk to me about sophistication…I’ve been to Leeds”

There’s a famous Harry Enfield Sketch where an uncouth Yorkshireman, just employed as a new Director – “plain speaking[…]doesn’t pull his punches” – walks into a board meeting and lambasts his urbane colleagues for nuanced and pretentious marketing strategies, “farting around” as he would call it.

The great irony in Farzi Cafe, Mumbai, is that they have clearly tried to ride all the fads of new age sophistication: dim lighting, distressed black panels and gigantic open floor space. However the aesthetic strikes the demeanour of something between a student nightclub and barn for animals. It fails what I would term the “red lipstick” test. On the one hand, red lipstick can turn a dull visage into one of refinement and beauty, or on the other can result in one looking like a bedraggled harlot.

I spot some colleagues at the other corner of the barn. When one works in a large, unabashedly traditional corporation, meeting colleagues in informal situations is perhaps as ‘awk’ as it can get and throws up some deep introspection: “will my nocturnal indiscretions be the talk of the Monday’s chai time?” or perhaps even worse “does this mean I might be asked hang out with said people in future?”.

Any individual working for a “promoter” driven corporate is likely to be as dull as ditchwater (dishwater for the Yanks). You are part of an organisation that is designed to preserve wealth and the business for the future family heirs, not to run around the firm doing wacky stuff. The only exception from that impenetrable dullness, is a corporate communications man, who I unexpectedly caught jumping around to the sounds of deep house around a cauldron of champagne with a bevy of glitzy sorceresses (translation: models and bottles).  In short, corporate employees are likely to be time-poor and at an informational disadvantage to the creative, start-up working, self employed freedom-loving “kids”. Never trust these people for restaurant recommendations and if you bump into them…it’s probably time your started going to different places!

The even stranger truth is that I actually liked the Delhi Farzi Cafe in Connaught Place. I wasn’t irritated by the sweet amuse bouche on serving spoons or tacky candy floss Paan. However, on that occasion I didn’t try the bizzare and dry Daal Arancini or the Rasmalai with an absence of Tres Leche, despite the advertisement.

It might be the one time in my life I say this but…. Delhi probably does it better.

At least for Farzi Cafe.

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