FOOD, Restaurant

Cafe Zoe for an International feel – Restaurant Review

The Fine Dining Revival

Thanks to the year-long textile strike in 1982, organised by Trade Unionist Dr. Datta Samant, Mumbai’s textile neighbourhood of Lalbag and Parel lay eerily silent. Once upon a time, it was a vibrant area with mills working three shifts, providing a livelihood to several workers. For several years, it languished in obscurity and legality while it turned into n urban wasteland.

Then, along came the Retail Revolution spearheaded by Atul Ruia who revamped his family’s Phoenix Mills. Literally, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, it rose to become a powerhouse of activity.

Several dormant mills followed this example and the area once again began to buzz with lifestyle stores taking advantage of the huge spaces available. Along with retail activity, several new eateries opened their doors in this neighbourhood. It has now become synonymous with fine dining.

Cafe Zoe for an International feel

One of the earliest restaurants to be established here is Cafe  ZOE . Situated in the rear end ( it depends which way you come otherwise it is the front end!) of Mathuradas Mills Compound, it is a minimalistic restaurant with exposed red brick, steel girders and industrial piping. This place was always a dump before it was spruced up. You can actually see huge black and white photos of the place as it was before it became the place it now is.


Image for Cafe Zoe Interior

The darkness of the restaurant hits you as you enter from the bright sunshine outside. But if you come in here at nighttime, you will be amazed at how happening it is.

Maintaining the minimalist structure of the godown it used to be, Zoe is starkly decorated in steel ,  and basic wood work. On one side are casual seating arrangements of plump overstuffed sofas upholstered in very 1960’s design fabric. Interestingly,  well worn old fashioned cabin trunks serve as a centre table.

The verdict: Great food and great value for money.

Ambiance: Quirky and international. Sitting here, you could be anywhere in the world apart from downtown Mumbai
Would I go again : DEFINITELY
So if you are looking for a pleasant casual dining experience go for Cafe Zoe.
Word of warning though: Since Cafe Zoe operates as a bar in the evenings make sure your dinner guests are above 21 years of age!
Image for Unishta


Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. Quite a transformation of sort from the textiles days. The days of yore, textiles in Parel area and Elphinstone had quite a history, the underworld, poverty and struggle of the underclass or pain is a history in itself. An interesting write up that you’ve done.

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