The latter part of my summer this year was spent interning at a law firm in Bombay. I put up with my friends at the Pandita Ramabai Girls' Hostel on Grant Road, a few minutes away from Chowpatty Beach and Marine Drive. Though it was not exactly luxury, but coming from my Delhi hostel, it was the best that I could ask for.
My office was situated at Worli Sea face, and just beside the sea! The associates used to take their smoke breaks enjoying the cool sea breeze! Even we, interns used to spend some 15 minutes everyday in the evening there, relaxing and soaking in the scenic atmosphere.
This was the first time I was staying in Bombay for some 5 weeks. Last time I was here as a tourist for just 1 day, I had spent it by visiting places like Taraporewala Fish Aquarium, Hanging Garden, Iskon temple etc (!). So this time, I was determined to spend my time doing more fruitful sight seeing, well apart from my internship.
After-office hours were usually spent by all of us in Marine Drive, if we happened to get off early at 8 pm. It was so spectacular that the sleeping poet in me woke up just in time to pen a few verses on it. Even every weekend, if we were in the city, we would invariably be in Marine Drive, followed by dinner at new places.
We tried out the 5 Spices outlet at Fort, a wonderful Chinese restaurant and absolutely loved it. 5 of us ordered just 2 main courses but still we ended up over eating! And giving the delectable desert spread here a miss is almost a sin. Another of our favourite place was the roadside joint Bare Mia. I tried out beef for the first time there only because it was the cheapest on the menu and didn't like it too much. It used to be crowded always, with people dining on the pavement and even inside their cars!
We had also planned on a Chocolate Avalanche experience in Cafe Mocha. When we finally managed it, what we still remember is the bill and not the heavenly taste of chocolate! We were charged 31% tax on the total amount, mentioning just 'local taxes' and without a breakup! It burnt so deep a hole in our pockets that we had to go for a light dinner that day.
In comparison, Gaylord at Churchgate proved to be superb value for money, where we had our pick from an amazing choice of croissants, cakes and pies.
But our all-time favourite remains the Naturals, an ice cream parlour on the Marine Drive which serves ice cream prepared naturally from real fruits. The mango and the kala jamun flavours are must tries here. We also dropped in at Italiano Gelato on Marine Drive but being poor students with light pockets, could not savour their variety of flavours much! But we did get a taste of heavenly dark chocolate there!
We also checked out the famous Cafe Mondegar and Cafe Leopold's at Colaba Causeway, but not being beer lovers, didn't find them any special. Food here was ok and we usually preferred other places like Cafe Ideal on Marine Drive due to an overwhelming number of hippie foreign tourists in Mondy's and Leopold's.
Another of my favourite place was Pizzeria on Marine Drive. I tried both the stuffed and the thin crust pizza there and found them absolutely mouth-watering! Someone rightly told me that their pizza was the best. I loved them more so, because I did not have to pay a penny for them! Mt friends were treating me on both the occassions :-)
Though I swear by Phuchka and Golgappas, the Panipuri of Mumbai could not win my heart. And despite being in the danger of being bashed up by the Maharashtra NavNirman fanatics, I must say that the famed Bada Pav of Bombay seemed very ordinary to my palate.
And I must also say that I have never had such horrible and pathetic tasting biriyani anywhere. We didn't try it at an expensive place but even in normal restaurants, it was always a mistake to order biriyani. And coming from Calcutta, where roll is considered a staple junk diet by all, I could not digest the roll here, being offered at a price of Rs. 90/- and that too, in a wrap made of wheatflour!
In conclusion, the city just could not satiate the foodie in me. However, for a different opinion, this post is a must-read.