Bombay has always been very close to my heart, a city that gave me my first job, an independent lifestyle with responsibility and some amazing friends. As they say, Bombay is infectious – once you start living here, something keeps pulling you back even years after you leave.
So what constitutes the Bombay experience for me? Food and especially sinfully indulgent desserts that I don’t find in my city. Apart from food, I love walking around South Bombay’s old fashioned lanes, admiring the stately Victorian architecture or losing myself to the beauty of Marine Drive.
After reading Lonely Planet’s article on Bombay bakeries, I planned a weekend trip to Bombay with a to-do list to check out some charming and distinctive food places in South Bombay.
Matunga Food Walk
On a Saturday morning, I travelled to Bombay and hopped out of an MSRTC Volvo at Matunga with my mother. I was curious to explore this locality and the special South Indian Udipi restaurants after hearing about Vipul’s (also known as Foodie Baba) Matunga food walks.
Ram Ashraya was at number 1 on my list. As we walked closer, we noticed a long queue of people, anxious to savour the aroma of sambhar and other delicacies that filled the air. The friendly staff assured us that the wait won’t be long. Within 10 minutes, we got a table and ordered for a Mysore Onion Rava Dosa and a sheera. This place is known for its amazing fruit sheeras but make sure you go after 11am to try the “Special Sheera of the Day”. We got the normal sheera with raisins and we still loved it.
Mysore Onion Rava Dosa and Sheera at Ram Ashraya, Matunga
The mysore onion rava dosa was crispy with a thin layer of potato, onions and mysore podi. The sambhar had a sharp flavour of spices along with mild coconut to balance the taste. I don’t remember eating such a dosa even on my Kerala trip!
Though Matunga maintains a posh cosmopolitan vibe, the communities residing here, cherish their culture and tradition which easily reflects in the locale along with its food. We stopped at the popular Astika Samaj temple and then proceeded to Amba Bhavan Coffee Club. We had a filter kaapi and a Pesarutu dosa, made from green moong. The sambhar here was mild in flavour than the one at Ram Ashraya.
Flower Vendors near Astika Samaj Temple, Matunga
Next we visited Café Madras to try the Idli Butter Podi. The idlis were soft and fluffy and I loved the podi with melted butter. The food at most of these Udipi joints is quite reasonable and the service is quick and efficient.
Idli Butter Podi at Cafe Madras, Matunga
South Bombay – Fort and Kala Ghoda
After relishing the south Indian fare, I decided to walk around South Bombay’s heritage sites until lunch time. I took a train to CST which is a UNESCO-World Heritage site known for its outstanding Victorian architecture blended with a traditional Indian design.
Bombay CST Station – A UNESCO World Heritage Site
It was nearing lunch time as I reached the end of Colaba after shopping for some knick-knacks.
Chai shop at Marine Lines
Silver Beach Cafe, Fort
Sameer from FBAI told me about the newly opened branch of Silver Beach Cafe in Fort and we decided to check it out. This cool bistro has a charming location, very close to the famous Sterling Cinema. It’s beautiful, pristine and cute. On a hot afternoon, when you feel like chilling with your bestie over a good meal, then Silver Beach Café is the ideal place to go.
Salads at Silver Beach Cafe, Fort
The pineapple cucumber mint was rejuvenating and the apple beetroot celery was a unique refresher. This bistro has great salads, different from the traditional Caesar or Greek salad. We called for Cinnamom Spiced Poached Pear, Walnut and Goat Cheese salad and a Homemade feta Eastern Mediterranean Salad. Both were spectacular!
Main Course at Silver Beach Cafe, Fort
For mains, try the Grilled Cottage Cheese Steak with salsa, cous cous and flax seed.(top left) Sameer tried the Pan Seared Rawas (bottom left) and they were good. But the signature dish here is the Teriyaki, Mascarpone and Mushroom Risotto with grilled spinach and pines(right). If you’re a mushroom lover, this is an absolute must try!
Desserts at Silver Beach Cafe, Fort
After all this goodness, I still had room for dessert! I was eagerly waiting to try the sweet course, when Sushant, the manager got us the New York Cheesecake and Pear Tart with Mascarpone toffee. The cheesecake was good, but the pear tart was a clear winner. Overall, I loved my dining experience at Silver Beach Café.
Ideal Corner, Fort
Another great place in Fort is Ideal Corner, renowned for its Parsi cuisine. I had been yearning for the traditional Dhanshak ever since I tasted this dish at a Parsi friend’s house during my school days. To my delight, the Sunday special menu at Ideal Corner had Veg Dhanshak.
Veg Dhanshak at Ideal, Fort
I also tried Patra fish and loved it. This was, undoubtedly, the best meal I had on this food trail. This place offers fabulous Parsi dishes without leaving a dent on your pocket.
Patra Fish at Ideal Corner, Fort
La Folie, Kala Ghoda
Savouring the flavours of different cuisines, heightened my cravings for a sinfully indulgent dessert. While living in Bombay, I regularly visited Theobroma’s and believed that it had the best desserts in town. So, this time a friend recommended La Folie in Kala Ghoda.
Desserts at La Folie, Kala Ghoda
Upon entering this chic café, I was immediately attracted to the glass counter, gleaming with a colourful array of assortments. The options made it difficult to choose. Knowing my love for dark chocolate, Sanjana, owner of La Folie, recommended that I try the 100% Chocolat.
100% Chocolat at La Folie, Kala Ghoda
The 100% Chocolat has a dense, moist dark chocolate base topped with praline and a French waffle with chocolate mousse that melts in your mouth – the sound of it is enticing and taste, drool worthy! I’d give this a 10/10.
La Folie is devilishly good, but this goodness comes at a steep price. (Rs. 267 for a pastry with taxes) Nevertheless, the entire experience is divine and irresistible for a dessert lover.
Eat, walk, repeat – that’s how I spent a weekend in Bombay. The traditional Irani bakeries that I visited, are legends that deserve a mention in a separate story.
I couldn’t tick off all the places on my Bombay list, but during these two days, I never met a meal I didn’t like.