Stuff memories are made of

You the thing about nostalgia? It’s just like – karma, catches it up with when you least expect it to!
As a student in Mumbai I had my fair share of chai and Samosa at Café Samovar. But when I moved back here a couple of years ago and started working, there were different places to explore, new dishes to try and a whole lot of interesting adventures at hand. The good ol took a backseat. Anyway, it’s not like much would have changed I thought, and pushed the visit a little further down my list.

The entrance to Cafe Samovar
Then last week I received a jolt as I woke up to news of this iconic café shutting down. The memories flooded back. Chatting nonstop over chai. Five of us sharing a sandwich courtesy our pinched pockets at the end of the month. Giggling over samosas. Talking about life, our dreams and hopes. I wished I could go back just once, one last time but given my crazy schedule I wasn’t very optimistic.
So on Instagram the other day I saw a post by Rashmi Uday Singh asking if people wanted to join her for a meal at Samovar. I jumped at it. I had to rearrange schedules and actually leave work while the sun was out but I knew it would be worth it.Eleven other foodies – many of them bloggers – were present at the packed café. We exchanged notes, spoke about what we loved here and how sad we would be when the place shut. 

Old style: Menu on a blackboard

The elegant Usha Khanna, founder of the café, joined us for a while. Charming as ever, she and her daughter told us they were so delighted to note that even youngsters have fond memories of the place. The staff at Samovar bought us plates of pakodas which we had with their famous red chutney, cups of chai, glasses of the kalakhatta juice, lime soda, kheema Samosa, aloo Samosa, sandwiches and then insisted we try the kheema roll too. The food was fantastic as usual, but,  just this one time it wasn’t so much about the food. The conversations, the busy vibe and all the warmth shone through. Perhaps that’s why the place will be missed!

Messages like these are testimony of the fact that this quaint little cafe is indeed special 

Not just another brick in the wall!

A surprise visitor in the form of Jaya Bachchan dropped in for a quick bite and to spend time with the café’s founder. Apparently the Big B and her were regular during their courtship days. The actor got into action during our photo session – she picked up one of the cameras, instructed us on where to stand and then clicked away. What a delight to see someone so revered on the silver screen effortlessly shed that larger-than-life persona! That’s when it hit some of us, it’s moments like these which the café has witnessed, will be the real loss.

Jaya Bachchan organising our photo shoot

Our evening ended with a fun photo session at the entrance of Jehangir Art Gallery. There was a whole lot of laughter and cheer, Rashmi’s bubbly nature is contagious and that surely was another highlight.
Melt-in-the-mouth brownies 

Cutting Chai with pakodas

A book-full of memories

Looking at the menu, one last time

These chutneys tempt you to eat just another bite and then, another 

When you have memories, good food, company and laughter it is difficult to go wrong.
So long Café Samovar, you will be missed but we’ll always remember you with fondness!

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