We’ve gorged on Mag St. Bread Co.’s melt-in-your-mouth cruffins and fluffy buttery croissants at The Table’s bake sales for five years straight. So it’s about time these baked treats got their own outpost! Like us, if you wished for this too, thank your stars and Gauri Devidayal who finally launched the Mag St. Cafe. With a menu featuring classics, and other sweet and savoury offerings for dine-in and takeaway, the new-on-the-block cafe is already the talk of the town. Located in Colaba, the cosy cafe is unmissable with its adorable cottage-like appearance and large windows allowing enough sunshine to seep through–perfect for your Insta-worthy shot!
In a tête-à-tête with Gauri, we find out all about Mag St.Cafe, the must-try dishes, and more.
ELLE: Congratulations on the opening of Mag St. Cafe! Tell us more about your new venture and how it began.
Gauri Devidayal (GD): This is the third avatar of this space since we moved in. First, it was the South East Asian restaurant and bar, Miss T, which we closed after a year and a half. The restaurant had a lukewarm response and we couldn’t revive it. Despite this, we gave the location one more shot and pivoted to a Cantonese concept called Mei 13. We were open for all of 10 days but Covid struck and our ex-pat chefs had to return to Singapore and Malaysia. Unfortunately, we couldn’t wait forever for their return and had just redone the space pre-Covid. So the thought of leaving it was heartbreaking. We gave it one last try with a dine-in space using the delivery brands that held us through the lockdown – brands that signified comfort, which was the need of the hour. And that’s how Mag St Café came to exist.
ELLE: Interesting! So what made you open a bakery after so long?
GD: I’ve always dreamed of having a little bakery and gourmet foods store ever since I worked at one in London. But even though we had the products, the timing was never right to open just a bakery retail store. Also, from an operational perspective, it’s quite a challenge since the shelf life of the product is usually one day so it’s a difficult business to do in a retail format. When we decided to open the cafe that would include everything from pizzas to Asian food and more, tagging the bakery to it made perfect sense.
ELLE: Were there any challenges faced while making the shift from fine dining to comfort food?
GD: I know that The Table is viewed as fine dining because of the service style and ambience but we’ve always thought of it as casual fine dining. There’s no dress code and silver service, just good ol’ family-style dining with a refined food and beverage experience. Last year forced us to evolve and create a strong presence in the delivery space. And now we have a casual format with the cafe with good comfort food. It’s indeed been a year of learning and unlearning with a fair share of challenges from keeping the team employed to undertaking renovations during a lockdown. But sheer resilience helped us overcome them.
ELLE: What can Mag St. Cafe fans look forward to?
GD: Some fun community-driven events and a great dining experience, of course!
ELLE: Any must-try items from the menu, besides the delicious croissants?
GD: That’s like asking me to pick my favourite child! But here’s what I ate in the last few days and loved – the blueberry pancakes, the acai berry bowl, the prosciutto and burrata pizza, the beef pho and the mapo tofu with jasmine rice, and literally anything from the bakery! Oh, and how could I miss the spiced hot chocolate and when I’m in the mood to unwind, the Happy Mahayana or My Tai cocktails.
ELLE: What are your future plans with Mag St. Cafe?
GD: We’re only just getting started so you’ll have to wait and watch!