Meet Annie Bafna Of The Nutcracker, Mumbai

Namrata Ganguly

Meet Annie Bafna, Founder and Head Chef of The Nutcracker. This tiny cafe, with its clever use of space, is located at the heart of the Heritage Art District of Mumbai. Open for the early birds with fresh breakfasts, their delicious food is packed with soul & flavor. Don’t miss the 3 Cheese Rolled Omelette, The House Salad, The Passion Fruit Smoothie & the famous 7 Layer Cookie.

Annie Bafna

What motivated you to leave the safety of a profitable job and open The Nutcracker?

Food has always been my passion – whether it was eating, cooking, research, shows…just about anything that was food related always absorbed me the most! It was at the back of my mind for many years to someday run a small home style café. I was at a point in my career where I had spent seven years in the finance industry and seven years in a more business focused role in the fashion industry. I felt ready to start up something on my own and the food industry was the obvious decision! My husband Siddharth was a huge motivational force behind my decision to take the leap….I knew if I was ever going to do it the time was NOW!
In a few lines could you tell us about your journey back to Mumbai and opening The Nutcracker?

The hardest part was finding the right spot. I had my heart set on Kala Ghoda – I love the old Bombay charm around it. It took me nearly six months to find the right place. Once we identified it and signed up, the next five months were like a whirlwind – designing, menu planning, branding, staffing, logistics, licenses and loads of other stuff. We spent a lot of time on food trials and getting friends and family repeatedly in to taste everything and give us their feedback and made changes so many times before we were finally happy with our menu. Since I had zero background in this industry, I had zero experience or perspective….so I had to just follow my instincts and hope it would work out!
Were you worried about the reception you’d get for being a vegetarian cafe not serving Indian food’

Yes there was certainly a level of anxiety – mainly because we were in an in-between “eggetarian” space and we had really no market trends to go by. We are not completely vegetarian and we are definitely not non-vegetarian. There was the comfort of knowing that Mumbai has a large enough vegetarian population. But what I really wanted to achieve was to have an equal number of non-vegetarian lovers walk in and enjoy their meal with us without missing the meat! To get people to understand that vegetarian food can be as interesting and fun…and that was the challenge!
What is your dream project?

My dream project is to have a Farm-to-Table concept restaurant someday. The beauty of a meal using fresh produce picked off a farm and cooked and served immediately is just something else.
What advice would you give your younger self?

There was a point when I got out of college that I really wanted to pursue culinary school but I did not…I kind of got swayed into the corporate professional side. If I could turn back time I would definitely tell that girl coming out of college to hold on to that dream and start it way back then.
Quickfire Questions:

Brunch or breakfast?


Mixtapes or vinyls?

Mixtapes – such memories

Films or plays?


Backpacking or road trips?

Road trips.

GMaps or real maps?

Neither – I HATE maps!

Crayons or charcoal?

Charcoal anyday

Prose or poetry?


culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.