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from a hundred countries and many locals, both foreign and Indian, who come there from every part of the city to conduct their business.” The second wave of renown sprang from tragedy. Leopold was one of the first targets hit during the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November 2008. A grenade was thrown in through the open café doors, then terrorists began shooting randomly into the establishment, killing two waiters and 10 customers. In spite of worldwide shock at the attack, Leopold’s owners did the nearly impossible: they reopened four days later, becoming a symbol of freedom and resistance for Mumbai. “We will never let the terrorists win,” was Farzad Jehani’s simple statement at the time. Bullet holes still line the walls of the cafe, even today, providing what is almost a shrine of remembrance. The Jehanis have no plans to repair the damage done by the attack. “This will never let us forget what happened,” says Farzad Jehani. Customers have shown their solidarity by continuing to flock to Leo’s, which is even more popular today. A full menu is served from eight in the morning to midnight, along with beer and wine. The three-foot tall beer cylinders introduced a few years ago have been a hit; for nondrinkers, an array of fresh fruit juices and lassis are on offer. But perhaps what draws most people to Leo’s, beyond its history, mystique and authenticity, is that it remains one of the best places in Mumbai for traditional café people-watching. A great place to grab a chair and sit and watch the world go by. Leopold Cafe, near Electric House, Colaba Causeway, Mumbai; 71

Open Skies | November 2012  

Open Skies

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