Category Archives: Anecdotes

Is South Bombay a restaurant petri dish?

It was once said of Manhattan, “You can go out to eat every night, and still not end up at the same place twice”. It may not be much of an exaggeration, if at all it is one, to say the same for Bandra. The suburb is home to many food joints of repute, and restaurants open and shut here much like the doors of fate on their owners.

It is a bigger gamble to open a restaurant in Bandra, simply because of the competition. There are all sorts of places to eat here, and an innumerable number of eateries in each category. If one were to pick a place to simply grab a bite on Linking Road, one would have to choose between the sandwichwalla outside National College, Subway, McDonald’s, KFC, Theobroma, the famous frankie shop and more. Places to drink around Linking Road alone include Escobar, Cafe Mangii, Elbo Room, Janata, Soul Fry, Bonobo and Firangi Paani. If you frequent Bandra, you might have even thought of one or two yourself, in addition to this list. These places are all different in terms of ambience, across sections of price and still attract crowds. Andheri too, has similar characteristics.

Even though the real estate is expensive in South Bombay, there isn’t much competition. It is more viable to open a unique place here, so that the choice deprived locals come, get a sense of the place and help make it a brand. That is what Bandra makes it difficult to do, make your restaurant one that is memorable and unique. And since the restaurant business is one of word of mouth, before you know it, a place can be successful with frequent visitors.

Take for example this list of restaurants. All of them opened in South Bombay first, got noticed and built a  following. Now, they have branches in Bandra and/or Andheri. The list includes: Suzette, Moshe’s, Woodside Inn, Theobroma, Basilico, 5 Spice.

Can you think of any restaurant that opened in South Bombay after a suburban branch? Do let us know!

Sarvesh Talreja

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A head to head Theobroma shootout

Theobroma is one of the nicest joints in town when one is looking for comfort. Their range of breads, brownies, desserts, cakes, etcetera probably have ‘comfort’ as a secret ingredient. They moved from being present on only the tip of the city to being present in Bandra as well.

The Bandra outlet has more space, a more eclectic mix of people visiting, and yet, it retains the Theobroma characteristic of good food served slow. One can’t help but wince at the lack of parking amenities at both locations.

While the name translates to ‘Food for the Gods’, their chariots will have to be left in the skies, or in the hands of the trusty valets of the second location’s parking lot.

Anyway, being at the Colaba Theobroma after it has been redone is slightly sickening. In comparison to their earlier warm wooden tones and orange light, it now appears to be more like Red Riding Hood’s bedroom, with whitewashed walls, and childishly reassuring hues of aqua. If you walk in to the Colaba outlet during a meal, be prepared to fight for your right. Not to a seat, but to walk along the counters and pick a dish without crashing into someone.

Sure, the place is cramped, but we wouldn’t complain simply because we love the food too much, like the Chicken Mayo Wrap here:

Chicken Mayo Roll

What we prefer about the Bandra branch, however, is that apart from the two-levelled setting, there is more space. There is space near the dessert counter, and near the packaged sandwich section. One can browse around more at leisure and pick their meal. The service is significantly better than at the Colaba outpost, where sometimes the waiters look at you as if you are actually speaking in Greek.

The food is the same, but the quantity for some dishes is more at the Bandra branch. While we happened to call for Chicken Rarebit sandwiches at each branch, the one at Bandra came with vegetables as a side. The size of the bread was decidedly bigger. The same order at Colaba yields a smaller piece of bread and fries that are much off colour.

It is odd that a restaurant that made its name in town chooses to be partial towards the suburban branch, even though it clearly generates more revenue.

Theobroma @ Colaba:
Shop No 24, Cusrow Baug,
Electric House, Colaba.

Theobroma @ Bandra:
Link Square Mall, 33rd Road,
Off Linking Road, Bandra West.

Sarvesh Talreja

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A vegetarian Parsi? Oh well…

You’re a taboo to the community!

You aren’t unwell, are you?

You’d better not marry a Parsi.

These are some of the reactions I receive when a fellow Bawa learns that I am a vegetarian by choice. For the typical Parsi, turning vegetarian is no easy feat. (Make that eggetarian.)  Not because you don’t possess the will to do so; but because in a community that is illustrious for being partial to meat, you would stick out like a sore thumb. At a wedding feast, you’ll receive glaring stares as you scoff down the insipid portions of vegetables from the ‘Veg patra’ while the others skillfully tear a piece of chicken with gusto. (If you are vegetarian, I’d recommend a thali at a Parsi function over the Veg Patra, because the latter equates to ignominy in the name of food.)

You won’t really be spoilt for choice as far as the eating-out options for Parsi cuisine are concerned. Nevertheless, we’ve picked five scrumptious Parsi vegetarian dishes across restaurants dotting the city. So the next time you eat out with your non-vegetarian kin, you know what to order.

1.      Vegetable Puff at Kyani’s

Perfectly flaky with a hint of butter, the vegetable puff is wholesome yet not heavy. The consistency is just right, with a filling consisting of potato, chopped onions and carrots and peas. When served fresh from the oven, it tastes best when paired with chili sauce.     

 At: Kyani & Co., J.S.S Road 657, Jer Mahal Estate, Opposite Metro Cinema, Mumbai. 

2.      Veg. Dhansak at Churchgate Restaurant

A tad tangy and a tad sweet, the dhansak, priced at Rs. 115 is a steal. We’ve tasted pseudo versions of the revered dish at several city joints but this one successfully matches the flavours of a typical home-made dhansak. The glitch is that they serve dhansak on Fridays and Saturdays only.

At: Churchgate Store and Restaurant, 195, Moti Mahal, J Tara Road, Churchgate, Mumbai. 

3.      Veg. Berry Pulav at Britannia Café

Tucked away in the busy precinct of Ballard Estate, Britannia is perhaps the only joint in Mumbai that serves authentic Persian berry pulav (Rs 150), a secret recipe handed down over generations. The generous portion will leave you almost satiated, with a little room for their delectable chocolate mousse (Rs. 60).

At: Britannia Café, Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, 16 Ballard Estate, Mumbai.

Click here to know more about the old-world charm of the cafe: http://www.cnngo.com/mumbai/eat/britannia-748536

4.      Egg on Potato at Ideal Corner

With a menu that changes everyday, Ideal Corner has a variety of egg preparations. (In case you are an ‘eggetarian’) The Egg on Potato (RS 50) – traditionally called papeta par eendu, consists of finely sliced potatoes as the base, with two eggs popped sunny-side-up onto the potato and served with either sliced bread or roti.  Available only on Tuesdays.

At: Ideal corner, 12/F/G/Hornby View, Gunbow StreetFort, Mumbai. 

 5.      Parsi Chutney Bread at Theobroma

Though this cannot qualify as a meal by itself, the Chutney Bread (Rs 40) is a great option to take home and eaten as an accompaniment. As per their menu, ‘the brioche bread is swirled with traditional Parsi mint and coriander chutney’. Make sure you get there before four o’clock because their stocks usually don’t last in the evenings.

At: Theobroma, Shop No 24, Cusrow Baug, Electric House, Colaba, Mumbai.

In case you are a vegan Bawa, then God save you!

– Khorshed Deboo 

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Look who’s back!

If you couldn’t find time off your busy schedule and thus gave the Kala Ghoda festival a miss, you’ve lost out on some serious chocolate indulgence. After a noticeably successful stint at KGAF last year, we were half-expecting Glee to set up a stall. And boy, they did!

 

At ‘Glee Chocolates’ as the name goes – perhaps the most crowded stall at the festival, be it any time of the day, the prime attraction was the idea of having strawberries dipped in chocolate fondue, at Rs 20 per piece. (We were a little disappointed when they hiked the prices to Rs. 30 within two days of the festival. However, it seems their loyal clientele was irked and so they had to revert to the original price.)  Chocolate nibs and beans, available in three variants- plain milk, white and dark, were a melt in the mouth. Waffle sticks dipped in hot, molten chocolate were purely decadent. But what caught our fancy were the creatively made pencil-shaped and crayon- shaped chocolates, available in a range of flavors like almond, mint, hazelnut, coconut, caramel and dark ones as well. Reasonably priced at 25 each, they were completely worth our money.

Check out http://www.gleechocolates.com/ for their entire range of products.

– Khorshed Deboo 

 

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