Shuttling back-and-forth between Bombay and London, I’ve always been strategic about escaping the brutally cold winters of the West, and the scorching summers of the East.
The truth is that I secretly enjoy both, and this year – for the first time in over a decade – I’ve spent the entire month of April in India, making up for lost time.
The irony hasn’t eluded me.
While just a glimmer of sunshine is usually enough to send Londoners scrambling for a lunch-time spot in their local square, folk in Bombay tread somewhat differently, their tempers flying as high as the soaring temperatures. The ongoing heatwave has had an uncanny ability to bring out an irritable side of our personalities.
But perhaps it’s time to shake ourselves out of our summer-induced stupor and smell all those pretty Bougainvilleas. That glass of Mango lassi is half full, and there’s a lot to appreciate about an Indian summer….
Bombay in bloom
… Starting with the sprightly greens lazily canopying the bustling streets, interspersed by bursts of yellow marigolds and gently swaying palm trees lending cool shade.
I’ll confess that I for one, am often guilty of letting the quiet beauty of Bombay slip by on the door-to-door drive from my home to any and all destinations. However, an evening wander exploring the lush surrounds of Ballard Pier was an eye-opening experience of sorts recently, showcasing the best of the flowering season (not to mention the city’s old-world charm and heritage)…
There are in fact many-a-perfect resting spots for cooling your heels at, preferably as you sip on fresh coconut water. Just don’t forget to scoop out the tender coconut meat after, it’s really the best bit!
Harvest season is in full swing too, auspiciously marking the start of a new year in Indian States such as Bengal, which recently celebrated Poila Baisakh.
There have been opportunities a-plenty to share in the spoils, with restaurants introducing seasonal specials championing the spring harvest. My top pick would be the Baisakhi menu at Tiqri (the all-day restaurant at Taj Santacruz) which includes classic Punjabi dishes reminiscent of an all-too-tasty trip to Amritsar recently!
In celebration of India's Harvest Season @TajSantaCruz 🍃💐 The hotel's all-day restaurant – Tiqri – is introducing a special menu (from 14th to 23rd April) for Poila Baisakh (Bengali New Year) & Baisakhi (the spring harvest festival in Punjab)… My recent and rather colourful acquisitions from Amritsar were but perfect for dressing for the occasion too! More highlights to follow. #HarvestSeasonAtTajSantaCruz #SpringHasSprung #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Mad for mangoes
Best of all, mango season is fully upon us with the King of fruits cropping up in all parts of our daily diet to add a touch of lusciousness.
I usually try and limit my intake, as just a 1/3 or 1/2 a mango counts as an entire serving of fruit and can generate extra heat in the body…
But it’s not always easy to err on the side of caution, especially upon discovering new summer desserts such as the kairi custard at The Bombay Canteen. Inspired by a classic lemon meringue tart but involving green mango custard and jujubes, it’s simply the stuff of an instant summer classic…
Indian summer on a plate @TheBombayCanteen. This "kairi" custard of sorts (making use of unripe green mangoes) was EVERYTHING – sweet and sour, tart and tangy, a bit mousse-like with mellow meringues, "aam panna" jelly and a crusty base to even out textures. Any surprise that @OopsIFellAgain and I fought over the last bite? Although she definitely deserved it over me for capturing this beauty in all it's perfection (before it was all but demolished a split second later)! Huzzah for supportive friends who let your camera eat first 🙌🏻 #IndianSummer #MangoSeason #FoodTalkIndia #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Ice cream diet
… And then there’s the mango special at K Rustom’s, the humble Bombay institution rustling up simple yet iconic ice cream-wafer sandwiches in Churchgate.
Speaking of which.
It’s definitely time to resume an ice cream diet methinks, a wallop (or two) of vanilla ice cream going a long way in adding a refreshingly-soothing lift to my day – be it in in my coffee or dessert.
Comfortingly colourful wardrobe choices
… I’m not particularly worried about any subsequent bulge.
If not instantly sweated out in the natural sauna enveloping our city, it’s likely to be cleverly covered up by the cheerfully bright and elegantly-flowing fabrics which are so on-trend at the moment. Day-to-night maxis are very much the order of the day too, as revealed in a recent styling session by the devastatingly-fashionable folk over at Harrods (in London).
Afternoon fashionably well spent @Harrods, trend-spotting and lusting after the must-have pieces for SS 17… I have my eye firmly on this playful dress by @roksandailincic (yellow is the new black this season!). Thanks to Anais and the lovely styling team for all the wardrobe tips, I'll be sharing insights gained on the blog soon… #HarrodsMoments #TheFoodieDiariesLondon #MoreLikeTheStartOfMyStyleDiaries 😬
Short of waxing lyrical, perhaps I should finish by quoting the writer, poet and philosopher Henry James instead…
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
What do you love most about summer in India?