Saturday, January 05, 2008

A taste of Bombay for those visiting Bombay

Rejoice O' young man, in thy youth.
- Dialogues of Cimon

I get a lot of mails asking about what to eat once in Bombay if you have limited time. So for all those visiting Bombay for the first time or looking for tips on a jolly good time here are a few things you should do while you have the time. The point is to try and distill the food and beverage scene down into a few choice alternatives so you get some good food.

Drinks at the Dome - The Dome has the best view of any bar in this city. the place is beautiful and a truly Bombay experience. Jot down there around half past 6 and stay past 8ish and trek some place for dinner. A must do. Gin and Tonic would be around 600 ($15) Beer 350 ($8.50)

The Dome
Intercontinental Marine Drive
135 Netaji Subhash Road
Marine Drive, Mumbai 39879999

The best cocktails in this city are available at the Pan Asian at the ITC Grand Maratha by the airport. Slightly out of the way if you dont live in the suburbs, its not a separate bar but they do the meanest mixes this part of the city, country, world.

Pan Asian
ITC Grand Maratha Sheraton & Towers,
Sahar Road, Andheri (E), Mumbai

Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhaji at Santosh Sagar
Pav Bhaji is a signature Bombay fast food dish. It can be had just about anywhere in the city. Mashed veggies studded with butter and spice served with a side of some more buttered bread. In my opinion the dish that defines Bombay. The best example of this is of course at Santosh Sagar. Wash it down with some Orange or Cocktail juice. Meal for two 200 ($5)

Santosh Sagar
Shop No 6, Matru Ashish
Nepean Sea Road, Mumbai
23631199, 23640099

Sushi at Wasabi - I am not a big Sushi person, the place itself serves more than just Sushi. However even if you arent i reckon you should hop on down and eat here because its a restaurant helmed by Iron Chef Morimoto (formerly of Nobu as well as head of Masa both in the apple) A meal here would be around 5000 for two ($120) However a comparable meal in NYC would cost about $600 for two (24,000)
So go here and revel in how much money you just saved and yes the food is pretty on the money...

Taj Mahal Palace & Tower
Apollo Bunder, Mumbai

North Indian
North Indian at Kebabs n Kurries ITC is for me the best North Indian option in either part of the city. they serve good kebabs and their entrees are fabulous. You get an opportunity to dine at a place which serves the best dishes from signature ITC restaurants like Peshawari and Bukhara (consistently in one of the worlds best restaurants list) Meal for two would be around 3500.

WG's Kebabs n Kurrys
ITC Grand Central Sheraton and Towers
Dr. Ambedkar Road
Parel, Mumbai

Indian Chinese
Is a variation of traditional Chinese turned on its head by us Indians. Its becoming a cuisine in itself with numerous outlets offering the same in New York City.
Chinese at CG 83 - When you walk into China Garden go in expecting a very Indianised version of Chinese food. The food is spicy, tasty and crunchy. There are quite a few restaurants that serve better Chinese but CG- 83 is the only one that does it Indian style.
Meal for two would be 2000 ($50)

Om Chambers
Kemp's Corner, Mumbai
23630841, 23630842

A thali literally means plate. Its a big round steel plate, with about 7 little bowls. The style is buffet but it comes to your plate rather than yo getting up to go and pick what you want. The food is usually in the Gujarati, Rajasthani style and in some cases South Indian. However the food is usually very tasty, home style and not very expensive.
Quite a few options in this case, try Joshi Club, Samrat, Status, Golden Star. Meal for two should be around 400 ($10)

Pani Puri at Charni Road, there is a small not very glamorous tikki wala who makes some glorious North Indian fast food. Its near Hinduja College. Non descript place but worth the hunt. Take in the pani- puri, the dahi puri and the aloo tikki. Meal for two 120 ($3)
Near Hinduja College opposite Golden Star Thali.

Is a dessert you drink, fairly popular in India but of middle eastern origin. Its made using, milk, rose water, vermicelli and tapioca. Sometimes also served with Vanilla Ice Cream of Kulfi. It comes in plenty of variations but begin with the traditional version. Best tried at Badshah who specialize in this.

152/156, LT Marg
Opposite Crawford Market, Mumbai 23421943, 23449316, 23425950

Is an Indian dessert made with boiled milk, cooked to the point where it turns red. It is also served in different flavors (pistachio, saffron, almonds and plain being the best) It is served fairly cold but is apparently not an ice-cream in the western sense but a frozen dessert. It comes in different forms, served on a stick, in a clay cup. However the best way to eat this is to try from any one of the vendors that serve it on Chowaptty Beach in South Bombay.

Vada Pav
Is a bombay staple, a patty of potato and peas and onions served with garlic and green chutney. Available almost everywhere you turn but Jumbo serves a hygenic version with brown bread and many other variations.

Dosa is another fairly popular snack, available almost everywhere in this city. however if you want the best dosa trek down to breach candy in south bombay and find the large parking lot right before (or after depending on where you come in from) the US Consulate. Get the mysore masala and have it with his red garlic chutney and forget about anything anyone else has said.

Gujarati Eats
Gujarati snacks though fairly popular are not always as widely available as the South Indian and the North Indian snacks. To try some of these head down to Soam near Chowpatty of Swati near Bhatia Hospital & the various Rajdhani outlets. Make sure you try the pankis with different chutneys, the khichadis, the misals.

Sugarcane Juice
A lot of Europeans & North American visitors find the mention of this fairly odd as its not the most widely available beverage in the world. Being more popular in South East Asia, it can be found in plenty of places and is fairly cheap. If you see this some place, stop by and get a glass. Its sweet, refreshing and if you have never had one before, bound to blow your mind.

A gola literally means ball or bomb. Its made of ice (much thicker than a slush puppy) and this ice is then dunked in a syrup or juice made of any number of things (orange, pineapple etc etc) the juices are actually flavored syrups and not fresh made with fruit. Make sure you stop by and get one of these, pick the Kala Khatta (black sour) flavour with the pepper garnish. Again, blow your socks off.


Anonymous said...

Minor quib, Chef Morimoto is the w\owner of two restaurants that share his name Morimoto in NYC and Philadelphia, Nobu is owned by chef Nobu.

Gaurav said...

you are absolutely correct. However his first big job was executive chef at Nobu (Although owned by Nobu Matusisha and Robert De Niro, it is just one of the many Nobus and Matusisha isnt always there) and it is def e bigger name, hence the mention

Point taken though. Will edit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being gacious, I am in Bombay right now and am dying to try Moshe, based on your recommendations.

Gaurav said...

cheers mate !

if you have any specific questions do let me know.

im hosting a dinner for 12 this week at Moshe.

Nandita said...

Very nice round up- probably we should have one for the suburbs too, for people with their business meetings in the hotels near the Intl airport.
I love the way you have neatly organized the must-do categories...just that I wont recommend Sushi to world traveler, there are better and cheaper places in the world for that :)
It would be good if you displayed all labels in the sidebar, easy to navigate various categories

Gaurav said...


Thanks for the idea about the sidebar. Done.

The Sushi is very important, its the cheapest top chef sushi restaurant in the world (in my opinion) way i see it, eat here and save money :)

Suburbs, hmm, i have very limited experience with the suburbs, why don't you do one. Between you and me well have most of it covered.

Anonymous said...

hi gaurav
i read your blog religiously. and i read your santosh sagar post. You also like thumps up? i love thumps up..these days its not available ealsiy though

Gaurav said...

thanks for being a loyal supporter !!!! really appreciate it.

i love thums up a great deal but it is def harder to find, especially in the more expensive places as they have contracts with Coke or Pepsi.

Coke is pushing themselves beyond TP which is why we dont get enough of it.

thaliplus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thaliplus said...

Hi Gaurav.. it was nice to read your posts about food in bombay... have been out of bombay for last 5 years nd hence felt quite nostalgic... suggest some places u can venture to get a taste of good food ( most of them are light on the pocket so not much harm done if not satisfied ;) )

1. Shalimar in Bhendi bazar - good mughlai food, good fusion chinese and a very good falooda.....

2. Arfa in Amboli (between jogeshwari and andheri) - Excellent Mughlai food at minimal damage to the pocket

3. Uncle's Kitchen - Sundar lane, orlem, malad
Excellent chinese food.... its now in the new location and much better in ambience than before..... food still quite the same...

4. Konkan katta near Bangur Nagar, Goregaon - Good Malvani food

6. Sigri on Clare road, Nagpada - place is small but Awesome seekh with more awesome chutney..

7. Mainland China (saki naka and Oshiwara ) - Good buffet..

8. Vada Pav with Sugarcane juice - Opposite Flora fountain at the junction of road from churchgate

9. Toast Sandwich - Opp Chinai College, Andheri

10. Butter Vadapav - Opp Mithibai college, Vile parle

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