Fable, an all-day dining restaurant in Juhu, tries to be many things at once. With design elements such as white picket fences and the words ‘once upon a time’ painted on a wall, it may suit families with young children. At the same time, accessories that make use of books and a slogan that reads “Cooking Stories” are intended to attract young people who will see it as a space where they can lounge for hours, read a book and enjoy a cup of coffee or, even a glass of sangria.
The menu also repeats this confusion. They have a wide selection of pizzas, sandwiches and quiches, breakfast items such as waffles, eggs and pancakes, except for soups, starters and main courses. It lists a few all-time Indian favorites such as kheema ghotala, Goan chili sausage, and paneer bhurji. And then there are attempts at experimentation, such as methi thepla quesadillas or the Bolognese-style Maggi.
But we believe the real test of a cafe and pizzeria lies in the classics it serves. So we decided to start with breakfast and slowly work our way through the menu.
The al fresco seating in the cafe?
We chose a bagel sandwich with smoked salmon, Philadelphia cream cheese and capers (Rs 295) and a serving of waffles with maple syrup which they serve with candied fruit and sliced pear (Rs 195). Unlike most restaurants, Fable does not serve smoked salmon. So the salmon didn’t feel fresh or flavorful. But in a city where soggy and soft bits of batter cooked in a waffle iron pass by as a dish, Fable scored well. The waffles were thin and crispy and thankfully didn’t come topped with the syrup. The pear was fresh but the candied fruit was a tad too sour.
To cover as much of the extensive menu as possible, we decided to continue our breakfast with a pizza and a portion of shrimp balchao (Rs 650). The Spicy Pepperoni and Glazed Onion Pizza (Rs 575) ticks all the boxes – the base is fresh, thin and crispy, the toppings are ample and the pepperoni was tasty. With the balchao, there was more fire – thanks to dried red peppers – than vinegar. It had very little flavor and was more like a Nagpurian saoji dish, if they ever made a shrimp saoji.
What we felt about the dessert we ordered, a serving of their caramel custard, perhaps best describes our experience at Fable in a nutshell. It has things right, but nothing stands out. If we go back to the eatery it will be because of the lack of more spacious cafes in Juhu and their waffles.
Oh, and the owners need to ditch all those management and self-help books that make up the decor if they want serious book lovers to spend their afternoon at the cafe.