Dining regularly from prettily presented plates and sipping fashionable cocktails one can get a wee bit bored. It’s time to go back and enjoy some wholesome filling greasy but delicious comfort food. The sort of food Masterchef Australia calls ‘Dude Food’ and felt it was such an integral part of the food culture they dedicated an episode and challenge to it. I couldn’t agree more. There is nothing more enjoyable than tucking into some snacky cheesy meat loaded grub !
Cafe Universal rumoured to be owned by the same guys behind Cafe Mondegar and Cafe Leopold fame but far less popularised as most people have never heard of this place but regular patrons swear by it. I suppose now everyone will know about it as it features in a good part of the newly released Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi.
With its laid back ambience, cosy wooden interiors and old world charm this little cafe is full of surprises. The menu is considerably expansive with Continental, Tandoori items, Chinese, Sizzlers, Shakes, Fresh fruit juices, Sandwiches etc. I respectfully by pass all this and focus on what I’ve come here for. I’ve been introduced to Cafe Universal only because I’ve heard incredible tales of their wonderful burgers and particularly their famous “Oh My God” burger. We decided to sample as much as we could considering the menu looks extremely heavy, we packed in as much as we could.
A tiny nibbler to start off with was the Chilli Cheese Toast with Mushrooms. The classic chilli cheese toast with a slight twist. A generous serving of cheese and mushroom made this a perfect starter but like everything else on the menu, a tad bit heavy to digest. Considering we aimed to try more this wasn’t the wisest thing to order but since it was delicious we didn’t care.
|Chilli Cheese Toast with Mushroom|
Feeling adventurous we opted for a garlic sizzler with cheese. I’m the sort of person who orders a cuisine at a restaurant it’s known for hence if I’m in a sizzler kind of mood it’s the usual sizzler joints but since we’re sampling new stuff I thought why not? For a sizzler which is slightly smaller in size ( compared to say yoko’s or kobe’s) but equally filling and loaded with the works- cheese, French fries, veggies and tons of garlic sauce all for Rs 300 I thought it was a steal ! A rather tasty steal!
|Beef Garlic Steak|
Last but certainly not least we couldn’t come to universal and not eat the universally loved O.M.G burger. The reason it’s called that is because I promise you the minute you look at it that the first thing you can say- Oh my god! It’s six layers of goodness, tender flavoured beef, solid blocks of cheese, lettuce, onions, mayo and served with a lovely side of French Fries. I honestly don’t think you could get more ‘dude’ like than that! The first time around the blocks of cheese made this messy but delicious burger a task to finish. This time we wisened up and asked for them to substitute the slabs of cheese with slices of cheese instead. Equally tasty and made it slightly more manageable.
|The O.M.G Burger|
|The O.M.G Burger with Cheese Slices|
For most patrons a pitcher of beer would go very nicely with their meal but we decided to skip that. I have to keep reminding my self I’m the Tiny Taster for a reason- there is only so much I can eat or rather take in at a time, solid or liquid! As the food had me hiccupping in delight all the way home. Just a cool fresh ice tea to wash all of it down and our meal at Cafe Universal was complete. What I find most comforting along with the food and the ambience is the fact that not only is this a great place for teenagers to hang out but almost everyone comes here. From office workers stopping by to grab a drink and bite post work with their co workers to college kids tanking up and chomping down burgers which help soak up the beer and even families, aunties and uncles enjoying a good meal.
Tucked in one of the lanes near V.T Station, Mumbai, this unassuming little cafe has taken me back to when food was simple, uncomplicated and very affordable. I think I’ve found me a new haunt!