As writers, we all have our individual rhythms and unique processes that stimulate us to create an original piece of work. Some find stillness in chaos; they do some of their best writing when surrounded by a medley of sounds. For others, music helps them clear their minds and start putting pen to paper. And there are some for whom it is about being in an environment that sparks their creativity; which could be a veritable mix of soothing sounds and calm surroundings.
For me to get into ‘the zone’, it helps to have an amalgamation of chaotic calm and visual aesthetics to transport me elsewhere. I need to be at a place that’s well-lit and the sounds around me are at a minimum. So, I constantly seek places that help me write in peace. My pursuit of the ideal setting for writers to find their rhythms, I’ve found these cafes in Mumbai that fit the bill.
The Taj Mahal Tea House, Bandra
The Taj Mahal Tea House is a great place to spend hours at end. Tucked into a quiet street in Bandra near the Mount Mary steps, this white bungalow stores gorgeous vintage furniture speckled in shades of blue, white and chrome. It is always bustling with interesting people from all walks of life, which can boost your creativity as a storyteller and add nuances to the characters you write about.
For those looking to work or simply a quiet place to read, there are several cosy spaces as well—some even have rocking chairs for added comfort. What I love most is the classical music played in the background. They often play instrumental music, which is quite soothing and helps me with my writing process.
If you love tea, you’ll be spoilt for choice. They have a wide range of options to choose from; be it milky masala chai or loose-leaf teas. I personally love their Parsi Mint and Kashmiri Saffron milky teas. They are very flavourful and always consistent in taste.
They also have one of the best High Tea spreads I’ve seen. A traditional three-tiered stand with scones filled with strawberry cream, petit fours, devilled eggs, tiny tarts and finger sandwiches. All of which is super delicious; which is admittingly rare. They also have an in-house store from where you can pick up gourmet tea, a range of tea cups and other tea accessories, as well as a small selection of baked goods.
Quick tip: Go during the day if you want to grab those quiet spots to do some writing or reading.
Address: Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea House, 36/A, Sanatan Pereira Bungalow, St John Baptist Road, off Chapel Road, Bandra (West)
Phone: 1800 - 102 - 2221 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Pantry, Kala Ghoda
My go-to place when I need some peace and quiet is always The Pantry, situated in a tiny by-lane in the Kala Ghoda area. It is the perfect place for solitary writing. Once you step inside, it’s easy to leave behind all the street noises and bustling crowds. There are only 10 tables in the café, ensuring it doesn’t get too crowded. It has an inviting ambience that is accentuated during a daytime visit with natural light streaming in. You can sit by and ponder your musings and concoct stories while listening to some European musical notes.
The overall design is minimalistic as its walls are bathed in pristine white bedecked with sea green and gold accents. I particularly love their French windows with laced curtains, and the shelves on the wall holding vintage items.
The staff is very courteous, which gives you a homely feeling. In promoting a healthier lifestyle, all their offerings are organic and most of the ingredients are sourced from farmers directly. Their menu comprises a range of filling sandwiches, vitamin-boosting juices, organic coffees and teas, healthy mains, indulgent waffles and yummy baked goods.
Quick tip: There is a small table tucked in a corner where you can sit by the window to collect your thoughts.
Address: Yeshwant Chambers, Ground Floor, Military Square Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Phone: 022 22678901
Open from 8:30 am to 11:30 pm
The Tasting Room, Lower Parel
Located on the first floor of the Good Earth store at the Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, The Tasting Room is probably more frequented than the store itself. Glistening chandeliers and chic mirrors will catch your eye the moment you enter, and the rustic walls covered in paintings will draw you in. The wooden tables surrounded by chair cushions in geometric patterns complete the look. Every piece of décor here exudes character; even the cutlery and table mats are handpicked from the store. The vibrant décor can inspire colourful narratives and transport your story to vivid landscapes; painting your characters in different hues.
The eatery is in a loft-like space with the tables spread widely across the floor, creating pockets of quiet spaces allowing you to slow down and unwind; translating your thoughts on paper. They serve a wide range of coffees and teas together with elegant platters of appetisers and hefty mains. In the evenings, they serve high tea as well.
Quick tip: Try and grab a corner table near the window for a cosy, quiet spot.
Address: 11-12 Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat, Marg, Lower Parel
Phone: 022 24951954
Open from 11:00 am - 8 pm
This article originally appeared in Lonely Planet India in June 2018