For some reasons, I have spent a large part of the holiday season in Mumbai. Just to get the spirit going, I resolved to spend a good amount of this time outside home. And since there are no good movies in town, and my beloved Landmark is still out of existence thanks to the deadly fire three months ago, I found that restaurants provided a good outing. So here are a few of the newbies I recently discovered, combined with some of my regular favorites:
Soul Fry Casa, South Bombay: A delightful place for Portuguese/Goan food. Located right in the heart of business sector around Flora Fountain in South Bombay, it is quite easy to miss if you are not looking out. It is a few meters ahead of Fab India as you walk towards the Fountain, and is hidden amongst the clutter of shops there. Once you enter, you will find a lovely diner. With an overhead loft, it appears quite homely and inviting. The wooden furniture is complemented with lime benches in places. There is lunch buffet on weekdays, but we decided to go a-la carte. The menu is not very long, which makes choosing easier. What I was delighted with is the fact that they had a good Vegetarian fare, which is generally missing from most of the famous South Bombay restaurants. The food itself arrived in the old-world copper ware, very aptly going with the rest of the décor. I don’t know how to even begin on the taste. Though do look out before you ask for making the curry spicy. I did, and the curry was laced with indistinguishable bits of green chili, burning me to the core. Not to say that it wasn’t enjoyable. Don’t miss having Bebinka with ice-cream for dessert.
Rice Boat, Versova: Ok, here is more of the coastal cuisine. Rice boat is quite the place to go if you want to try Kerala food. It is located in the hub of Mumbai’s suburban food factory – JP Road in Versova, a few blocks after the famous Ivy. With a traditional Mallyali décor, complete with quiet waterfalls along the wall and waiters in ethic attire, this place smells of Kerala. The chef rolls out Appams in a quiet corner, tantalizing your taste buds. The food is spicy and delicious, esp if you go with the time-tested Appam with Veg-Ishtew. Olarthiatus are a good choice for starters, and the minty coconut water is lovely for company. This rice boat has a small bar in the corner, and also seating upstairs, either of which I did not try. I am told that the original Rice boat, one near Mahim flyover is a much smaller version with no alcohol in the deal. I am told that the sea food here is very good , though my MIL did not seem to think so.
Signature, Andheri Kurla Road: Now here is a place many people do not know of, simply because of its less than glorious location. After all who likes to visit the dusty Sakinaka area for food. We came to know about it when it used to be Copper Chimney, an instantly recognized brand. I have to say, the food is far ahead of the other chimney’s I have visited. A multi-cuisine restaurant, it is most well known for its North Indian recipes, though you can try Chinese too. Located in the basement, the décor is soothing, and the pictures from old Mumbai are definitely interesting. You can eat almost anything on the menu, but do try their lentil soup and tandoori aaloo which are delectable. My non-vegetarian friends and family loves it as much as I do, perhaps more, and indulge in all chicken items with bliss. The place also has a better than average collection of beer, wines and cocktails. The service is a little slow, so do not try to do a business lunch here, not if you have less than an hour anyway.
Goa-Portuguesa, Mahim: Who does not know this place? It is almost useless to mention this one, especially after its prominent feature in lonely planet. But it is certainly one of my favorite places for Konkani food. This is the only place where I can combine Mallu Appams with Goan Xacutis and though they advice against it at the restaurant, trust me it is a lovely combination. You can be conventional and eat those appams with the chettinads, or eat the vindaloos with roti/naans, and you are sure to enjoy it. The ambience is Portuguese, and rather cool with its happy and chirpy Goan guitarists. The place has sister restaurants that they keep trying to promote – Culture Curry for North Indian food and Diva Maharastra for Maharastrian cuisine. I have personally never budged from Goa – after all that is the place to be.
Brio, Juhu: This is usually the place I go to catch a hurried dinner before going for a movie at PVR Juhu. But this holiday season, I spent a good time over a three-course meal. I love the ambience, which is that of a homely bakery. They have now begun seating outdoors in the lawn, but I think Mumbai is too hot for that, esp in afternoons, even with the shades. Their breads are very good, and so is, by extension, the range of muffins/doughnuts/cakes etc. Round up a good meal of Pasta/Pizza with a syrupy chocolate doughnut. Their ice-teas are good too, but the tumbler is too big for one person. For a quick bite, you can enjoy some of the sandwiches or salads. And do rely on the service – it is quick if you get the table.