FOR THE BEST AND MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ABOUT RESTAURANTS IN MUMBAI -- OR FOR ANY CITY IN THE WORLD FOR THAT MATTER -- FORGET THE NEWSPAPERS: BLOGS ARE THE WAY TO GO! There is something about the blog format which makes restaurant reviews come so alive -- everyone has the chance to be a critic, just as everyone has their own inbuilt personal encyclopedia of cool places to wine and dine. Forget Michelin -- blogs offer you access to the Hive Mind of the Collective! As well as being packed with beefy content and saucy commentary, the explosion of digital camera technology means there are some really great photographic dining guides on the Web these days -- and as they say a picture tells a thousand words, and some of the photos are almost good enough to eat. Here are some of the blogs offering a glimpse of the everchanging Mumbai dining scene, and excerpts from their latest reviews:|
Malek's Kitchen ------- http://goanche.blogspot.com/.
Malek says: "Hi i am a housewife and food is a very important part of my life be it cooking, eating, talking, reading or feeding i do it all with equal enthusiasm so if there are friends out there who are like me pls do log and read my blog . thanks..
Malek's Kitchen mostly focusses on home cooking, particularly of the Goan kind, but there are some Mumbai restaurant reviews appearing from time to time, such as this one:
Highway Gomantak: "Last week we went to a quaint little restaurant for our afternoon lunch.
The restaurant is called HIGHWAY GOMANTAK its at Bandra and just along the highway.
"GOMANTAKI food is the food which is from the coastal region and which uses coconut as its base for gravies.
I love going to this restaurant because of its simplicity and the ambience which is really quite different from the other restaurants in Mumbai. It has a simple food which is like home cooked food and served in a way that makes you feel as though you are at home..."
Nita's Restaurant Review: Website here.
Nita recently wrote on her blog, which seems to specialise in Chinese food and Chinese restaurants in Mumbai and Pune: "Noodle Nook Pizzarro is what this stall opposite Shoprite (supermarket) at Nirmal Lifestyle (India's biggest mall) calls itself. Why? Because it sells Chinese and it sells Pizza. I didnE½ft try the Pizza, and now I won't -- not after watching the way they made it (for some others) and after tasting their Chinese.
Give me a break.
Oily noodles in which one had to hunt for veggies. Specks of green and red. And the man who made it was dripping sweat into the kadhai. Worse, the guy who packed it had black ringed fingers with which he kept shoving the noodles into the parcel he had made. When I told him not to do it -- he smiled.
We made the mistake by asking them to pack a 'gravy' -- sweet and sour. I think they didn't have the 'sour' (I heard them whispering) so they packed some sweet corny thing instead. It looked like sugar cornflour soup and when we tasted it was just that. Boiled water with lots of cornflour and a fistful of white sugar and a dash of salt ( I saw them make it).
Guess what? They took half an hour to make the two plates -- hakka noodles and one gravy.
Then when we went home we threw the 'gravy' down the drain, although my husband was brave enough to taste it. Actually, he was the one who threw it.
I tasted the noodles. Almost puked. An ajinomoto rush. Grease rush. Visions of black ringed fingers and blobs of sweat. Wicked smiles.
I have had street Chinese plenty of times before. Never has it been this bad.
They charged Rs 45/- for each dish. I think Rs 10/- would have been too high a price. And to charge that much for the yucky gravy was cheating.
Considering that the next day both my husband and me had loose you know what -- I think they should pay us. Perhaps we should ask Nirmal Lifestyle to cough up the dough. On second thoughts, forget it. If we have to eat street Chinese, why do we need to go to India's biggest mall? We can have it right outside our colony gate, on a thela. At least his stuff is tasty, even if it isn't healthy."
Saffron Trail: A blog on healthy eating and healthy living. Recipes. Nutrition. Tips..
Some of the popular pages on this blog feature Tamil Brahmin recipes, healthy breakfast ideas and also some reviews of the Mumbai restuarant world. Actually, it is virtually all about recipes and pan-Indian food and good nutrition, but I found at least one restaurant review on the blog. The subject was Diva Maharashtracha. Saffron wrote: "You must have heard of Goa Portugesa and Culture Curry, two popular theme restaurants in Mumbai / Bombay. I believe these even have mention in the Lonely Planet's guide to the city of Bombay. Goa Portugesa as the name suggests specialised in Goan food and Culture curry serves up a melange from the South Indian states. I have been to neither. The restaurants are run by a couple, Dr. Suhas & Deepa Awchat. It was announced in the papers that their new and third restaurant Diva Maharashtracha -specializing in authentic Maharashtrian cuisine had a vegetarian food festival on for the month of Shravan, Sumanth and I decided to give it a go. Besides, we had never dined in an authentic Marathi restaurant, despite living in Bombay.
"After a heavy duty Sunday late afternoon workout in our gym, we felt we had earned ourself a good meal. Having made reservations, we landed there 15 minutes before time. All 3 restaurants are located next to each other near Hinduja Hospital or the Shivaji Park area in central Bombay.
"The outside is done up like a Maharashtrian fort, albeit a bit too shiny for a fort! After a short wait and a glass of complementary Kokum Sharbat, we were shown inside to the tunes of the traditional Peshwa style announcing trumpet. It was only later I realised that everytime someone opened the door, the recorded music played automatically, and after hearing the long drawn trumpet screech around 5 times, I was quite sick of that sound ;)
[Update: This instrument is called Tutari, credit to this enlightenment goes to our Maharashtrian friend, Kedar]..."
For the full review, click here.
Vikram Karve's Good Food Guide to Eating Out in Mumbai: Website here.
A part of the Sulekha network, Vikram Karve documents his favorite restaurants in south Mumbai and Pune, which is his hometown. As Vikram writes: "I love good food. And I love walking around searching for good food (food walks I call them). Let me share with you, dear fellow foodie, some of my favourite eateries... Read on. It's my very own Vikram Karve's Value For Money Good Food Guide. I've walked there and eaten there. It's a totally random compilation as I write as I remember and I may have missed out some of my favourites but I'll add them on as and when memory jogs me and also keep adding new places I discover during my food walks..."
Here are some of Vikram's Mumbai food suggestions:
Vada Pav: CTO Vada Pav (Ashok Satam's Stall) alongside the Central Telegraph Office (CTO) at Flora Fountain (Hutatma Chowk). Or at Sahaydri at Churchgate.
Misal Pav: Vinay in Girgaum . Walk down Marine Drive, cross the road near Taraporewala Aquarium, take the lane between Kaivalyadhama Yoga Centre and Ladies Hostel (it's called Income Tax Lane), cross the railway overbridge, walk straight on Thakurdwar Road, cross Girgaum (JSS) Road, walk a bit and Vinay is to your right.
Kheema Pav: Stadium. Next to Churchgate Station. Kyani at Dhobi Talao.
Seekh Kebabs: Ayubs (Chotte Mian). Take the lane to the left of Rhythm House Music Store at Kalaghoda and let your nose guide you.
For more good tips, visit Vikram's blog.
m u m b a i - m e l t i n g - p o t|
"Most of these Zoroastrian Iranians - named after the Iranian prophet and reformer - came to India in the late 19th and early 20th century.
"The search for a better livelihood brought them to Bombay, then a global trading centre and home to another Zoroastrian community, the Parsis.
"The Parsis had been economically well settled in the city for thousands of years.
"'Irani cafes became sites for cosmopolitan experience. They were pioneering eating houses,' he says.
"The cafes broke down social barriers and religious taboos to become an important part of the city's public life.
"'Even today, in some Irani cafes you can see a corporate executive, a sex worker and probably even a beggar at the same time,' says Mr Srivastava.
"Sharda Dwivedi says that the cafes did initially cater to the sensibilities of various communities - they had separate cutlery and crockery to serve customers belonging to different religions.
"But as time passed and their popularity grew, these differences were also laid aside. "
p a r s i - & - i r a n i - r e s t a u r a n t s - i n - m u m b a i|
"Not being educated my father could not do any other work except the Parsis told him to start with some tea business, to prepare and serve tea, and uh, the Parsis helped them in the business and slowly they prospered. Actually, they gave them help to set up their stalls, and slowly the stalls gave way to small cafes, and then to restaurants and bakeries...
"Many cafes have closed; in the 40s, 50s and 60s we had about three to four hundred Irani restaurants, bakeries, stores in Bombay, but slowly they are diminishing, and now they are on the verge of vanishing. I think only about twenty, thirty Irani restaurants are left today. Eating habits have changed, in the sense that formerly in the British time our restaurant was serving continental type food, bland food, and the Europeans and high society type of people were not eating spicy food, but now, after independence, we had to change, we had to cook food according to Indian tastes Ewith spices, and masala and all those things. So, biriyani has become popular, pilau has become popular, and mutton, and gravy, gravy cutlets have become more popular than during the past. We used to have beef steak, what they call chops, fish and chips, all those things, but now they are not a part of our menu at all...
"When Iranis started coming to India, especially to Mumbai, there were a lot of vacant premises, and most of the corner premises were vacant, this may be superstitious, but the Hindus would not take the corner, saying that it was very unlucky for them, so the Iranis were coming, and they would find the corners better for business, and so they started renting them. My grandfather started Kohinoor Restaurant, just near Bombay GPO. It was one of the first Irani restaurants in the city, about 1890,'95, around that time..."
Jimmy Boy: 11 Bank Street, Vikas Building, Off Horniman Circle, Opp.
State Bank, Fort. Phone: 270 0880 and 266 2503.
Just like the sugar which sweetens milk, Parsi cuisine takes a basically Indian style and enhances it to dazzling new heights. Parsi cuisine adds to the richness and color of Indian cooking. If you are in Mumbai, you should definitely give Parsi cuisine a go. Jimmy Boy, near Horniman Circle, is regarded as one of the best Parsi restaurants in Mumbai, and is full of Irani wit and quaint charms.
Ideal Corner: Fort Area.
Another Parsi recommendation, this time from Anil:
"While Jimmy Boy's, Britannia are more well known parsi restaurants; Ideal Corner is better [full disclosure: I know someone from the owner's family].
Rickety, and faded, cash only, non-AC - what else to dissuade a casual tourist. Food - Just pick the Daily menu and youo will never go wrong, and wrap it with Lagan nu Custard. If Khigdi (sp?) is in the daily menu - I'd avoid it and order something else (because I do not like khigdi)."
Koolar and Company: King's Circle, Matunga (E).
There is something mid 20th century retro and jivey about modern Parsi culture, and this slightly jaded but still quaint ideal of hip has rubbed off on the whole city of Mumbai, in my opinion. At the Irani restaurant Koolar and Company, one of the specialties is the double cheese masala omelette, washed down with fresh lime juice. It sounds like an Indian take on a 1950s style American burger heaven, and indeed it is. That is Irani Parsi culture for you. No wonder they produced someone like Freddy Mercury!
Mocambo Cafe and Beer Bar: Fort Area23-A Sir Phirozsha Mehta Road, opposite Khadi Bhavan, and the famous and amazingly beautiful Flora Fountain.
I have never been there, but aadil recommends the Mocambo Cafe and Beer Bar as another Parsi food utopia. Aadil writes:
The restaurant is a very famous place for Parsi food during lunch hours and is basically a beer bar where a bottle of 750ml of any brand of beer is priced at Rs.65 and a pint for Rs.45 only. A small place with two levels for seating about 50 persons in all, it is generally full at all times!!! Comparatively a very cheap place considering the location in the business district in the heart of Mumbai!!!
Try the chicken or mutton dhansak which is a speciality dish of the Parsis in Mumbai!!! Also other Parsi dishes, continental dishes like Fish fillet, French fries and grilled sandwiches which are very good!!! Chinese dishes also available.
Paradise: Near Colaba Market, Colaba Causeway.
This is one of the last remaining Parsi/Irani restaurants in the Colaba area. The quality of the food has remained consistent with what it was 20 years ago. The renovation in 2001 has made the place look light and airy without changing the ambience. This is no mean feat for a renovation: it manages to pull in youngsters without turning away old faithfuls. Even the pictures on the wall remain the same as before; instead of looking dated they now have an air of tongue-in-cheek kitsch. In all, the newly air-conditioned atmosphere is quite as attractive as the food they serve. At a time when all the old Iranis are selling out to multinational food factory outlets, Paradise is exactly what Mumbai needs.
The sizzlers are good, and come with a variety of vegetables. The steaks are reasonable, although the gravy is always a little too rich. The Mexican rice is quite Parsi, and is recommended to those who can take generous amounts of red chili powder in their stride.
The spaghetti is much better than most places in Bombay have to offer. It certainly attracts a large regular clientele. They have three or four sauces, including one called, very surprisingly, a risotto. Don't be misled-- this is spaghetti!
There is one special Parsi dish every evening. Usually they run out of it by 8 in the evening, so be there early if you want it for dinner.
Sassanian Boulangerie: opposite Liberty theatre lane, Dhobitalao. Call 22006198.
Writes Parsi Khabar: "The good ol' Sassanian, an Irani cafe as old as the hills, may have been given a makeover, when it was turned into a boulangerie, serving puffs, pizzas and sandwiches, but the Mawa and Madeira cakes are still to kill for.
"For lunch, try their fragrant Kashmiri Pulao Dal and Sali ma Chicken. You can't call it a day without digging into the Lagan nu Custard (sinful bread and milk baked custard served at Parsi weddings.) "
Yazdani Bakery: Cawasji Patel Street, Fort.
One of the classic Mumbai establishments, with a history as rich as the Parsi people. The bakery had its origins in the pre-Independence days when its owner Merwanji Zend opened at 3am to serve the priests from the nearby fire-temples such delicacies as early morning brun-maska. Back in those days Yazdani's used to export wedding cakes to Japan, such was the popularity and world-class taste of its offerings. These days the bakery supplies bread to most of the luxury hotels in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal Hotel, Marine Plaza, The President and the Oberoi. Visitors to Yazdani are invariably offered a taste of some of the bakery's goodies. They bake brown bread there and a 7-grain bread, as well as focaccia, olive bread, buns and bruns, mava cakes, khari biscuits, pudding, apple pie, mushroom and lemon tarts.
Want to recommend a good place for Parsi food in Mumbai or elsewhere in India?
Contact the author Rob Sullivan at email@example.com. Anticopyright February 2008.