But not without some Asian cuisine thrown in for good measure, making Donna Deli the perfect co-working cum gourmet cafe experience
On the busy SV Road in Bandra west, Mumbai, appears a white picket fence shrouded by voluminous greens. A small signage bears the name Donna Deli, inviting you into the quaint bistro-cum-bar.
As you enter through the door, the decor changes to a monochrome wonder with vintage accents, transporting you to a chic cafe in Europe. An outdoor seating area under a striped canopy with potted planters continues the visual appeal.
With Donna Deli, owner Ayush Kapur and hospitality entrepreneurs Dhaval Udeshi, Pawan Shahri, Nikita Harisinghani along with food expert Aditya Wanwari try to recreate the vibe of the cafés and bars on the streets of Rome.
Says Shahri, “Donna Deli is inspired by small and chic cafes of Italy and is surely one of a kind. What we had in mind while creating this space was not just the aesthetics but top-notch experience with great food surrounded by greenery. Whether you come in for a cup of coffee in the day, a cocktail in the evening or a pasta for dinner, you will leave absolutely satisfied.”
What’s a mannequin doing in a restaurant? Well, lady Donna — an artist, a storyteller, a whimsical creature, all rolled into one more than justifies her presence. Dressed in a chic new outfit every season by a budding fashion designer, Donna welcomes you into her elegant space where you can go from coffee and co-working in the morning to cocktails and dinner in the evenings.
As we take our seat in the indoor section, we notice the walls of Donna Deli are adorned with antiqued engraved mirrors, a faux mantle with books and other knick-knacks, and chandeliers to complete the opulent interiors. While these create a dreamy vibe, the chic zebra portrait on the wall is mimicked in the striped seating and black-and-white flooring. Interior designer Tejal Mathur has made sure to create a dreamy, vintage vibe indoors, and a fresh, European cafe feel outdoors, both in perfect sync.
Being an Italian joint, Donna Deli serves authentic Neapolitan style pizzas, and homemade pastas. In keeping with the themed cuisine, Donna’s truffle pizza is a burst of flavours in a bite — loaded with mushrooms, red chillies, basil, cream cheese and truffle oil. The ravioli in paprika sauce is another interesting find with its spinach-coated pasta envelopes with feta filling. If you are a fan of cheesy flavours, opt for the rigatoni with drunken alfredo sauce and chicken.
But Italian isn’t the only cuisine on the menu. The culinary team at Donna Deli has also included Asian favourites, and do complete justice to its authentic taste. The hot and spicy bhut jolokia chicken dim sums pairs well with their signature cocktail, Donna’s passion—a sweet infusion of passion fruit with vodka. The edamame truffle dim sums leave a tantalising after-taste and go well with their aviation sour gin cocktail. Classics like savoury turnip cake, yellow curry with blue pea fried rice, udon noodles and stir-fry also make it to the menu.
The bar section at Donna Deli offers patrons a complete view of the joint’s expansive spirits collection and the enthusiastic bartenders. Apart from an extensive list of homegrown and imported brands, there’s a good selection of signature cocktails to choose from. Ask Clint D’Souza, the general manager for recommendations and pairings with your food order. Our favourite for the night is the Bourbon Dream, with hints of smoked Indian spices, and guava that packs a punch with its chilli and sweet flavour.
During the day, you can ask their in-house barista to make your favourite latte or cold brew. Once the bar opens, however, you’ll only be offered cold coffee and espresso from the cafe menu.
As the cliche goes, no meal is complete without dessert, of course. While the meal will leave you stuffed, there’s always room to be made for the Cappuccino ganache with raspberry sorbet. A perfect blend of dark and fruity flavours, it is a party for your palate. If you have a sweet tooth, do try the Vanilla panna cotta and Donna’s rose tres leches.
Before you leave, don’t forget to snap a photo with Donna for the complete Donna Deli experience.