Memorable Mumbai – a city guide for foodies

by possandruby

Mumbai, India is considered the commercial and entertainment capital of India. Traffic chokes the sprawling city of more than 20 million people from all walks of life.  The city lies on the west coast of India and peers out through the smog to the Arabian Sea.  It is considered one of India’s most modern cities and is the home of the Bollywood cinema industry. Don’t be surprised if you are approached to be an extra in a Bollywood movie – yes it really happens!

In the late 17th century the city was named Bombay under English rule and after gaining independence in 1947 finally changed the Government of India renamed it Mumbai in 1995 to reflect the local people and discard the British legacy. The city is a blend of traditions of the past and technology of the future, stylish young professionals dress modestly alongside sari clad mothers walking their children to school – it is a city of diversity in many ways.  Visitors can see the communal laundries still commonly used today and visit the market places where you get a personal shopper to carry your purchases on their head and shoulders. Potentially Mumbai is a stopover city on your way to other regions of India but it is certainly worth at least a few days in your itinerary. 

There are so many foodie finds in Mumbai and in one visit you can barely scratch the surface we have shared some places that demonstrate the diversity of the city.  Street food is also a major aspect of the cities culinary offering and well worth a try.



The Gateway of India

An imposing tourist attraction and meeting place for many Mumbaikar’s (Mumbai locals) the basalt arch was built to commemorate King George V’s visit to India in 1911. The gateway overlooks the Mumbai Harbour and the departure points for ferries to the UNESCO listed Elephanta Island. A fantastic spot to take in sunrise and sunset but don’t think it will be romantic or peaceful as you will enjoy it with thousands of others and the resident pigeon colony cooing in the background. 

Dhobi Ghat

This communal laundry has been operating for more than 140 years and is completely operated by human power. Clothes are scrubbed, beaten, rinsed and wrung out before being hung on one of the hundreds of washing lines. There are 1026 open air troughs and people can be seen not only washing their clothes but also themselves. This is a fascinating place to visit and have a chat with the locals.

Crawford Market

This is one of the largest markets in Mumbai and has been selling food and vegetables since 1869. You can buy almost anything here from fruits and vegetables, spices and nuts to household goods and clothing.  It is a busy place with very narrow alleys to explore. You can explore here for hours as the alleys wind this way and that. There are street food vendors throughout the market to try.

Church Gate Station Dabbawala’s

Each day at noon 11am outside the station you will witness the amazing work of the Dabbawala which literally translates to ‘box person’. These men carefully deliver thousands of lunch boxes to workers across the city each day. The lunch box is lovingly prepared in the workers home and is collected by a dabbawala and delivered to their workplace. Fresh and piping hot! They take the train, walk, ride bicycles and buses to deliver the meals on time. For an insight into this work take a look at the movie ‘The Lunchbox’.


The Bombay Canteen 

This is a hot spot on the culinary trail for India’s modern foodies.  The menu takes traditional dishes and brings them into the 21st century with stylish plating and unique accompaniments. The bar is a great place to sit and chat and the cocktails are reasonably prices and exceptionally delicious again with a twist of tradition and local flavours.  Plates are perfect for sharing ensuring that your tastebuds are treated to as many flavours and textures as possible. The location a little hard to find as it appears to be set back in a semi industrial area. The space interior is warm and welcoming, with traditional patterned tiles and low walls. Seating arrangements vary from cocktail tables by the bar perfect for drinks and snacks to large share tables and booths where you can settle in and work your way through the delicious menu. Staff are super friendly and passionate about what they do giving lots of tips and explaining menu items in detail. Don’t miss the Sunday brunch menu  and matching cocktail list!

The Bombay Canteen, Unit-1, Process House, S.B. Road, Kamala Mills, (Opposite Radio Mirchi Office) Lower Parel, Mumbai

Britannia and Co.

This run down looking historic building serves an extensive Parsi menu for lunch 12pm-4pm daily, Saturday night dinner only and closed Sunday. Parsi is a community in India who are descended from Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India to avoid religious persecution by Muslims. 

Food is reasonably priced and serves are very generous.  Two main dishes, a serving of bread and a little dessert will fuel you up.
The cuisine is very flavoursome and you must try  Bombay Duck (actually fish) deep fried fish lightly battered fish with mild spices. Vegetable berry Pulao absolutely delicious rice dish with a vegetable curry filling and topped with berries.

Part of the charm of this restaurant is the history having been in operation since 1923 and dedication to the British influence in India. Don’t forget it’s cash only!

Britannia & Co. 16 Wakefield House Sprott Road Wakefield House (Opposite New Custom House) Fort, Mumbai 

The Taj Palace Hotel – Afternoon Tea 

This luxury heritage hotel is situated opposite the Gateway to India and have with over 200 five star rooms and a fascinating history.  Establish in 1903 due to its proximity to the busy harbour during World War I, the hotel was converted into a military hospital with 600 beds. In 2008 the hotel was one of the sites in the tragic Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Despite it’s colourful past it is a beautiful hotel and a worth a visit even just to look around. In the Sea Lounge you can enjoy traditional afternoon high tea harking back to the British Raj. There are 3 options to choose from the Maharaja High Tea with a full Indian menu, the Sea Lounge High Tea Buffet and the Victorian Afternoon Tea which is an individual serving. I opted for the Victorian High Tea which is served to the table on the traditional petite four tower and is plentiful. Traditional Victorian treats include sandwiches, macarons, quiches and cakes. A word of warning make sure you request this if this is the version that you would like as staff will try and encourage you to the buffet which is the same price but you don’t get the same traditional service.

Afternoon tea is available from 3.30pm – 6.30pm daily. Reservations are not required but if you are limited on time at a busy tourist season it may be worth a reservation.

The Taj Palace Hotel, B K Boman Behram Marg, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai

Colaba Social
This is a contemporary bar serving fusion bar foods tables are crowded by young people on mobile phones laughing loudly and taking selfies and Snapchatting their unique dishes.  The décor is industrial with polished concrete floors, low lighting and cool tunes. The menu fuses traditional dishes and creatively present them – currys in tin cans, grilled chilli-cheese sandwiches are stabbed on metal stakes and salads are served up in military style tin dishes. Cricket is always splashed across the big screen as the country’s chosen sport. There are numerous staff  meandering around service is steady but not speedy.
A full bar is available except on dry days which are dictated by special holidays there are approximately 3 per month – who knew!

Colaba Social,24, Ground Floor, Glen Rose Building, (Behind Taj Mahal Palace), Apollo Bunder, Colaba, Mumbai

Delhi Darbar Restaurant
This restaurant is an uber local, quality cheap eat.  There is a line out the door so surely that is an indication of its quality and reputation. The family have been serving traditional signature dishes for decades. Whilst all the classics Mughal dishes are on the menu, the restaurant prides itself on its biryani. A rice dish that features different meats and spices. Staff wear little red hats and pin stripe shirts and they are not is short supply, help seems to be everywhere.  Service is fast and efficient and your waiter carefully repeats back your order to ensure everything is correct. Servings are very generous and you will be able to take a doggy bag home with you for the following day. The signature restaurant is located on Colaba Causeway.

Delhi Darbar, Colaba Causeway, SBS Road (Near Regal Cinema), Colaba, Mumbai

Have you visited Mumbai? What did you do? Where did you eat? We would love to hear form you in the comments below or tag us on social media @possandruby

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