The city is brimming with new cafés, dessert joints, crepeterias and nonchalant, all-day-dining restaurants. And many of them come accessorised with free Wi-Fi internet and sufficient plug points these days. This is attracting a whole new breed of executives making presentations on the move, freelancers wanting to work amid a social milieu and single-person business owners looking for a quiet place to finish reports. But is every place providing free internet a great place to bury yourself in your work?
There are only some amongst many that qualify as ‘freelance-friendly’ places, which get ticks on all the necessary criteria — free Wi-Fi, spacious tabletops, a low-key environment, affordable coffee and staff that doesn’t hound you to order again and again. Here are our picks of Mumbai’s top freelance-friendly cafés.
The Teapot Café, Fort
This homely café has an elegant European old-world charm to it — airy with brightly coloured upholstery, antiquated flooring and white walls. Located near the Bombay Stock Exchange, it’s frequented by yuppie professionals through the day and other working executives.
Food and drink:
It’s well-priced with the most expensive dish — a full meal — costing Rs 150. Pick from a variety of salads, soups, double sausage burgers, egg preparations like salami cheese omelette, rolls, subs as well as main dishes like curry rice and Dhansak.
Price of a Cappuccino:
While taking a break, flip through magazines or play a game of Uno with fellow patrons.
It’s a great place to ponder over ideas, read and brainstorm.
Bansilal Mansion, opposite Bombay House, Homi Modi Street, Fort
Kala Ghoda Café,
You may find it a bit intrusive, with tables placed so close to one another in this tiny treasure of south Mumbai, but this all-white hip café makes up in quality what it lacks in quantity. Tucked away in a very quiet bylane,
a calm washes over you as you step into this café — making it perfect for concentrating and getting some work done.
Food and drink: Lap up their salads and sandwiches and wash them down with some delish, freshly brewed coffee — served with their mini house special chocolates.
Price of a Cappuccino: Rs 80
Perks: Its small size is also its advantage, as it can never get too loud here.
Tip: The mezzanine has a few cushions thrown about, which makes for a great meeting/discussion place. Come with your laptop charged as not every table has a plug point.
Where: 10 Ropewalk Lane (Across Trishna restaurant), Kala Ghoda, Fort.
Call: 2263 3866 / 3380 3418
Woodside Inn, Colaba and Andheri
This cosy all-day-dining Irish pub-style restaurant is the perfect bet on weekends before 5 pm and for breakfast meetings, as it turns into a popular local bar after hours. An added bonus is the natural light flowing into the ground floor section at the Colaba outlet. The well-aired al-fresco section of the Andheri outlet is also a pleasant change to work from in the evenings.
Food and drink: There is nothing better that mixing work with a cold mug of draught beer, French
fries with Wasabi Mayonnaise and some fine pizza. If you are in early, the breakfast here is the best way to shape a happy day ahead — waffles, pancakes, sausages, poached eggs and the works.
Price of a Cappuccino: R75
Perks: A mellow playlist may just expedite your job list.
Tip: The upstairs section at the Colaba outlet, with proper tables and chairs, is far more comfortable to work from than the ground floor section.
Where: Wodehouse Road, opposite Regal Cinema, Colaba.
Call: 2287 5752 / 2202 5525
Café Zoe, Lower Parel
The open design here is its biggest draw — plenty of natural light and high ceilings at this industrial warehouse-like café is seeing people pour in with their laptops from around the area and beyond. The café, currently shut for renovation, may not be apt for creative work as it turns into a buzzing joint afternoon onwards, but it’s just right for meetings and brainstorming sessions, especially breakfast meetings as it opens as early as 7:30 am.
Food and drink: An all-day menu of fresh sandwiches, salads, seafood mains and juices (and even alcoholic drinks) allows you to pick from an assortment of dishes.
Price of a cappuccino: Rs 100
Perks: It is very spacious, with enough distance between tables and therefore perfect for talking business and reducing the scope of patrons overhearing your new business idea.
Tip: A corner table under the mezzanine is the most secluded and private.
Where: Todi Mathuradas Mill Compound, NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel.
Call: 2490 2066 / 2490 2065
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Nariman Point and Linking Road, Bandra
With plenty of strategically placed plug-points near each table, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is one of the most dependable and fuss-free cafés for office-less workers. The only downside is that it’s not a quiet joint
in the evenings to set up important meetings.
Food and drink: Everything on the menu tastes good. You can indulge in the vanilla-flavoured cappuccino with an almond biscotti for a sugar rush and instant energy.
Price of a Cappuccino: Rs 80
Perks: There is an outlet in every buzzing junction of the city.
Tip: Go before 4 pm on weekdays to get a good seat, and before 2 pm on weekends.
Where: CR2 Mall, Inox Building, Bajaj Bhavan, Nariman Point
Call: 6615 1168