If battles are fought for religion then peace can prevail with food.
Food is a melting pot, a universal experience. A experience that no one can refuse. Everyone loves good food. While Marketers may say Millennials or Centennials or Generation Z or XYZ are technophiles. The universal truth is that food was, is and will always be more important than anything else. In fact, in today’s world it has gained even more importance because technology addiction has stolen the sensory stimulation from our physical world. Thereby leaving a void to fill, which makes us latch on to food as something that engages all the senses and brings people together in physical space.
It is no surprise that travel habits have shifted from “What do I see?” to “What do I eat?” A bad food experience can ruin your perfect holiday. If food is on your mind, Mumbai is the perfect city to plan your days around food and still consume art, culture and history. Mumbai is like my second home. I have a love and hate relationship with Mumbai. The City of dreams has both stolen my heart and broken it too. But one thing that has always been constant is my love for the the non-nonsense attitude of the Mumbai Manush and its food.
So let me take you on a quick virtual tour of Mumbai through the Lens of a Foodie.
PLACE TO SEE: CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI TERMINUS
Of all the places to visit in Mumbai, CST truly shows travelers the life and soul of the city. Marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. With the stunning architecture influenced from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival to traditional Mughal buildings, this busy station sees people from all walks of life.
Food in the area: Cannon Pav Bhaji
For a quick and cheap bite, go straight to Cannon Pav Bhaji. Managed by ladies for over forty years, they closely guard the recipe for their incredible pav bhaji that has made them a legend in South Bombay. It is located right outside CST and draws crowds from all over the city.
PLACE TO SEE: FORT (MUMBAI PRECINCT)
After seeing CST, stepping out and taking a stroll around Fort area is another effortless way to absorb the architecture of Old Mumbai. Step back in time in the old business district of Mumbai that was once the heart of Mumbai in the 18th century, while checking out the small arts and craft stores and bookstores like Kitab Khana and Wayward and Wise.
Food in the area: Jimmy Boy, Mahesh Lunch Home, 145 Kala Ghoda, The Nutcracker
Fort is any foodie’s’ ultimate dream. The range of food is unprecedented. Starting from simple yet delicious Parsi fare at Jimmy Boy to a high end, sophisticated European experience at The Nutcracker, Fort has it all.
Jimmy Boy is a classic Irani cafe that embodies authentic Parsi cuisine in all its dishes. People keep coming back for delicacies like their Mutton Berry Biryani (made with cranberries imported from Iran!), Jardaloo/Apricot Salli Chicken and Lagan Nu Custard. Jimmy Boy’s antique decor and seating arrangements take their guests back in time and makes each meal there a multisensory experience.
Another favourite in Fort is Mahesh Lunch Home. Founded in 1977, this original location of the small chain restaurants produces some of the most coveted Mangalorean specialties. It has built its customer base for decades and they come back for the Surmai Curry, Crab Masala and Lobster Chilli Garlic.
145 Kala Ghoda is perfect for people looking for a great ambience along with delicious food. This all day cafe and bar has a relaxed atmosphere with a pool table, free Wi-Fi and a DJ booth. The decor contains installations from common things you would find around Mumbai: aluminium kettles, umbrellas, small buckets, etc. The dishes pique the interest of foodies who love the unique presentation of food. Their Spicy Pav Bhaji cones are becoming increasingly popular, and the filling in their Chicken Tikka Cigar is mouth-watering.
Finally, for visitors looking for a more intimate, sophisticated experience with food, The Nutcracker is a quaint little cafe in a picturesque setting. The exposed brick walls, art pieces and patterned tiling gives an old school, homely feeling to visitors. Their culinary triumphs include a zesty black bean burger, pesto pasta and the famous seven layer chocolate cake.
PLACE TO SEE: BANDRA-WORLI SEA LINK
Less crowded than the popular Marine Drive, Bandra-Worli Sea Link offers visitors a similar experience of beautiful sunsets against the sea and city lights in the distance. This unique piece of engineering effectively connects the suburbs of West Mumbai (Bandra) to South Bombay (Worli). Being the first cable-stayed bridge in India, the bridge is an architectural marvel and must-see spot for first-time visitors of Mumbai.
Food in the area: Candies, Pali Village Cafe, Kalpana
Like South Bombay, the options for food in Bandra are endless. The difference is that the restaurants here can be more experimental, global fusionesque and truly a unique experience for foodies.
Candies is a bohemian cafe with an eclectic interior design that makes for a relaxed and fun vibe. The food is light and simple, the bite-sized desserts allow for foodies to try a variety of items and the food is well presented (perfect for your #foodstagram).
Pali Village Cafe is all about ambience and food creating the perfect experience for you. This rustic joint has minimalistic lighting, comfortable balcony seating and exquisite fine dining. Some of their highlights are Red Snapper with Strawberry Risotto and the Stuffed Chicken with Hash Potatoes and Apple.
Kalpana’s a unique Bandra local culinary experience. It’s a small roadside stall on Chapel Road but is popular for its fresh burgers, chicken lollipops, pastries and rolls. However, this small family-run establishment is most popular for their fugias. This East Indian sweet bread is at a bargain price of 10 for Rs. 12 and are a delicious snack.
PLACE TO SEE: LONAVALA
While taking one of the many flights to Mumbai and exploring the city life is fun, taking a break and checking into resorts near Mumbai can be equally rejuvenating. Only an hour outside of the city, Lonavala is the right choice to make during monsoon with stunning views from the Western Ghats and the gorgeous waterfalls that form every season.
Food in the area: Chikki and Fudge
As soon as you enter Lonavla, there is no way you can miss out on the numerous shops selling the famous chikki and chocolate fudge. The groundnut chikki and the special dried fruit chikki are out of this world, and coupled with the unique chocolate fudge, they make the perfect snack while relaxing and taking in the beauty of the hills around.
Another food that is very basic but my alltime favourite is Khichdi. I have driven from Colaba to Juhu at 4 am just to have Dal Khichdi and Palak Khichdi at Ramada. I have never left Mumbai without having my fill 🙂
Next time when you are in the town do try out the places mentioned above.
I hope you enjoyed this food trail with me. Please do share your feedback.