I am a street food guy. I’d prefer a small restaurant/cafe over a fine dine restaurant any day. So when I receive invites to review a humble place, I cannot let it pass.
Cafe Good Times is a brand new cafe/restaurant that opened it’s doors a day after our Independence Day. It’s located in Aundh, right besides Aur Irani Chai – another cafe that opened up earlier this year. There are similarities – a large menu covering a variety of cuisines and offerings, price range is low to below average and a laid back cafe feel. Cafe Good Times offers a full Chinese menu though which is missing from it’s neighbour.
The place is quite basic with standard table layout and no real decor. It’s early days so I’m assuming the owners would upgrade the look post rains (it’s meant to be an open air cafe).
I was informed up front that some sub-menus were not available on that day so rolls, desserts, pav bhaji and momos were off limits. I tried to order the most basic items from each sub-section of the menu to get a good feel of the cafe. Here’s my take –
Chicken Maggi – they have a pretty large choice of Maggi dishes. Chicken Maggi was really well done with tiny bits of chicken shreds mixed in it. You get a decent helping of chicken bits in every bite. Maggi itself was good with no watery leftovers at the bottom of the bowl.
Kheema Pav – The chicken mince was mixed with good spices and it tasted like something I’ll cook at home. Quantity was good for a quick bite and at ₹80, it was value for money. Only complaint was that the Pav was served cold but the excellent Kheema made up for it.
Spanish Omelette with Toast Butter – the toasts were served at least 5 mins before the omelette which is not ideal at all. The cafe really needs to work on it’s toasting and grilling as none of the bread items were good. Omelette on the other hand was quite decent so no complaints there.
Veg Grill Sandwich – one word: DISAPPOINTING! While grilling itself was not up to the mark, there has been absolutely no thought given to the fillings. Take a look at the picture to understand what I mean. I left it untouched and sent it back as is.
Ginger Tea – Tea & Coffee are the mainstay of any cafe of this type and will often guarantee repeated business. While I could not try the Filter Coffee, the Ginger Tea did not live up to its name. There was too much tea powder mixed in which subdued the taste of ginger.
Veg Manchow Soup – really watery soup with no real taste did not tingle any taste buds at all.
Veg Crispy – typically served in a deep fried style, this one was slightly different – fried veggies with a good helping of sauce over them. While the veggies were crispy when served, the sauce got better of them quickly and they turned soggy in no time. Also, I found too many really large cuts of veggies which are not ideal for a single bite.
Chicken Chilly – another basic Indian Chinese dish not done right. The sauces did not mix well with the chicken, so all I could taste was boiled chicken pieces.
Food is average at best and even with a low price tag will be difficult to market. The cafe needs to work a lot on improving the quality of food being served if they want to sustain in the highly competitive market of Aundh. I feel they’re offering too many cuisines at launch with the relatively small setup they have. If they can limit the offerings for first 3 months and then scale up, it’ll do their business some good.
Ambience is non-existent at the moment and the choice of music is not very good (Bollywood tracks from 90s to now). Also, the music clashes with the equally bad music being played next door which will be a turn off for most customers here. Parking is a big hassle in the lane, even for 2 wheels, so be ready to walk a bit.
Cafe Good Times could be great for a quick meal at a really good price, but not until they fix their food!