July 07, 2011

Mumbai Food Guide III

I have not reviewed restaurants for a long time but it does not mean I have stopped paying visits to them. However, what has changed now is that I feel a bit grown up and just good food can’t get my attention.

Let me start from down south. A place I visit rarely these days. But the other day I was at this beautiful restaurant called Suzette. Italian crepes and brilliant coffee – That’s what makes it a nice place to hang out while you wait for the play to start at NCPA. The best part, they really care to ask how you would like your coffee, juice or food and they show that they care about your food. It’s a cosy little place and just so perfect for an evening of crepes and conversations.

Le Pain Quotidien is the other new Restaurant near Gateway and though I can never get myself to pronounce its name, it makes up for it by serving some amazing breakfast. However, it needs to have more veg options. I think it has a nice location for the shutterbugs. It’s a good idea to have time in your hands, your camera in your bags and wait for the sun to rise up above Mumbai. Somehow, South Mumbai is one of the only places in Mumbai where time seems to stop for a moment. And you can sip on your coffee and read a book. In South Mumbai and in my secret coffee day in Bandra.

Wich Latte, though a chain, actually serves really nice sandwiches if you care to walk down Colaba Causeway and look for a cute little shop. The service is a bit lazy but the sandwiches and the choice of breads make up for it. The coffee is average so you might want to see what other beverage is on the menu.

If you travel down north, you might want to stop for a nice lunch at Gallops, the restaurant at Mahalakshmi Race Course. The cuisine is mostly Indian and authentically so. The ambience is old world, the clientele are the regulars and you just might feel a little out of the place because clearly in your jeans and T shirt, you just don’t seem to belong there. But if any restaurant outside the gymkhanas, Jimmy Boy and Café Britannia can remind me of an old Bombay which was not yet Mumbai, this might just do the trick.

Coming back to my love of Mumbai, Bandra, the choices keep getting interesting. However, the two biggest disappointments also come from here. The first was Pali Village Café. This is a place where the ambience is one of my favourites and if you walk in on a lazy Saturday afternoon post the rush, you will be delighted with their service. However, you walk in on a weekend night and the waiter will be standing over your shoulder ready to swoop down before you can put down your soup spoon. Also somehow the place that has a fatter wine menu than a food one makes me a bit uncomfortable. If you have such an impressive wine menu, you need to have people who understand wine.

The second one that really really upset me was Eat Around the Corner. That’s the reincarnation of one of my old favourites - Just Around the Corner. But this is one reincarnation we could have done without. The pizzeria and Costa Coffee is gone, the entire concept of making your own salad is a thing of the past, the food is still good but they decided to put up a sign whose gist was “hey guys, if you come in here, spend at least 250 bucks and don’t treat this like a coffee place.” I walked out the first time I saw it. The next time I went back, thankfully someone had the sense to remove the message and I had to agree that the minestrone soup was really nice.

Khan e Khas on the other hand wowed me with their service. It is the poor cousin down the road to the well known Mini Punjab. But the food is excellent and one night V and I decided to order in a few stuff. Now we ourselves were embarrassed with the quantity we were ordering but the guy said, “Even if you order only 2 roomalis, we will deliver that.”  Now that’s service I would pay for.

Yellow Tree is my favourite Bandra joint in recent times – not because of its heavenly curly fries, but because it’s perhaps the only place in Bandra which can boast of some space and allows the luxury of a slow and nice dinner over conversations. The food choices are a little strange and I am never sure of what is the cuisine they excel in. But even then, the curly fries, OH!!! The Curly Fries.

The last in this list had to be Nanak Sai. It’s not a restaurant you would find in the regular food guides. But for us it has been the source of numerous breakfasts, late evening snacks and light dinners – you get the gist. It was one of the most affordable places until recently and even now the value for money remains extremely high when ordering in. I loved the way it’s located. There have been days when I have picked up a book from Danai, the lovely quaint bookstore beside it, ordered a cup of tea or a juice and read the book under the spreading shade of the tree outside the shop. But then someone decided to open a Costa Coffee and the cacophony drove me off :)

Happy Hogging :)


Anonymous said...

U have not mentioned some important ones.... where we visited enuf... Now i know u were just going coz I was interested :(

Anonymous said...

The Bandra Suzette is a far cry from what you described, given their food is good but their service is terrible in Bandra- let me enlighten you:

So, it was four of us girls and we had first called for a watermelon mint and peach & grape smozzies (season for peaches). The drinks came at the same time and the watermelon mint juice was brownish in colour and tasted watery and sour, as if it had gone bad. The peach and grape was extraordinarily sour and tasted of seeds and nothingness. We called the waiter and returned it- which apparently was an insult to the owners because two men walked out looking rather offended. They told us that they tasted the drink and they liked it- (Excuse me, I didn;t realize you were serving yourself and that you were the customers) There was a lot of back and forth basically a French ‘pompous’ man trying to teach us what smoothies/ juices taste like. Then the other friend of mine and me decided to try the Iced tea, one of the owners came out and said I’m not sure if you will like it but try a little bit in a glass first and decide, which was very nice of him. The second man came out again and told us that we would not like the Iced tea as it was very French and luxurious in the rudest possible tone- (Excuse me- did not know you owned our taste buds)
After all of this, he still came back and was very condescending telling us that we shouldn’t be mad and that he is not making us pay for it. Firstly if you want to run a business in India, please do not insult Indians by telling us “its french and luxurious and you won’t like it, just because you fail to make a basic smoothie and watermelon juice” and secondly if you want to run a restaurant anywhere in the world-LEARN HOSPITALITY first!! Even thought this was a bad experience after so many good ones- I will not encourage people to go in here, simply because the owners do not know how to treat their customers. And if the owners are reading this, yes you guys are very racists and hopefully sooner then never you guys learn that you are in India, learn to treat US with respect. Antonia and her team need a lesson or two on hospitality!

Madhurjya Banerjee said...

Hi Anon 1, do let me know which ones :)

Dear Anon 2,

Thanks for your comments. The Bandra Suzette was not even there when I was in Mumbai. It's unfortunate that you had this experience. Maybe next time I go, I will stay clear of it. Thanks :) Just for clarity, I blog based completely on my own personal experiences

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