[Mumbai, India] Lunch at Leopold Cafe

Parsi/Irani eatery, Leopold Cafe, is a Mumbai landmark of sorts. Founded in 1871, it was a popular hangout for foreign tourists and visitors at Colaba Causeway, near the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, a couple of minutes’ walk away. It became a target of Pakistani-Muslim terrorists in 2008, where 10 people in the cafe were killed.

Today, local Mumbaikars packed the cafe as well, to demonstrate a sort of local defiance that they will never be cowed by terrorism. They now outnumber foreigners almost 10 to one - really heartwarming indeed, and a boon to the owners, Farzad Jehani and Deenyar Jehan, who hosted hundreds of customers every day!

Our lunch consisted of:

  1. Vegetarian cutlets, served with rice, potato chips and salad. The vegetarian patties tasted like bubble-and-squeak! Came with a brown sauce and quite tasty in its own right.

  2. Chicken Stroganoff, served with spiced Indian rice. I’d have loved beef Stroganoff, but this is India, where even McDonalds do not have beef on its menu. The spicy Indian rice was a shock to my palate actually - I was expecting buttered rice, like the ones served in Hainanese-Western restaurants in Singapore where beef or chicken Stroganoff was often offered.

  3. Chicken Shashlik, with rice, potato chips and vegetables. The tastiest option among the three we ordered. We get large chunks of chicken served sizzling in a brown sauce on a hot plate, unlike the Singaporean-Hainanese shashlik chicken which comes grilled and in skewers. Tasty, but not something I’d come back for.

4) Hot apple pie - very popular amongst the local patrons. A bit dry-ish for me, but loved the pastry texture.

  1. Leopold’s cheesecake - very light cheese cake, more spongy like the Japanese sort, than a Western cheesecake.

  2. Chocolate cake - lovely, although the sponge cake was soaked with syrup, like any sort of sponge cake in India. But the balance of the chocolate mousse/cream and sponge was perfect. I’ll come back to Leopold Cafe just for this.

The menu consisted mainly of Indian-style “Western”, Mughlai and “Chinese” dishes, rather than Parsi. Hopefully, we’ll find more of those at Brittania & Co tomorrow.

Leopold Cafe
Opposite Colaba Police Station, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba Causeway, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India
Tel: +9122 2282 8185
Opening hours: 7.30am to midnight daily


It’s a very eclectic menu.


Leopold’s goes back a long, long time – my parents even used to hang out there when they were courting :smiley:. Though I don’t recall any stories about actually eating food – lots of coffee and pastries and desserts and french fries / potato chips. And beer. Maybe some fish and chips or soup or other “continental” fare. (The Indian-Continental-Chinese menu expansion must have come later, as it did with many North Indian restaurants that serve Punjabi-Chinese-South Indian.)

I was thinking of taking my nephews there for dessert and french fries this year, but maybe next year my mom can take them herself.

One of the worst-ever terrorist attacks in India known as 26/11; Leopold was one of 10 locations targeted specifically to impact tourists , Jews (Chabad house), and Indians. 15 years ago just this week. (There’s a memorial wall at the Taj Mahal Hotel around the corner, which was under siege for some 60 hours.)


It was a horrendous episode. I remembered a young Singaporean woman was taken hostage. A day later, they shot her in the head.