There’s something so marvellously magical about the monsoons in Mumbai. Life seems to take on an almost wistful quality, peppered with petrichor – that fresh smell of the earth after it rains.
Truth be told I could spend hours gazing out of my window as the clouds pour down to the point where one can’t tell the sea from the sky. Simple pleasures rain supreme from late-night drives soundtracked by raindrops and Bon Iver, to consoling cups of chai, naturally paired with piping-hot pakoras and a gossip session! In fact there are silver linings a-plenty from a foodie’s humble perspective, with no dearth of cosy boltholes to hide out in on a torrential afternoon…
The Champagne Lounge at The Oberoi
They say that the best-kept secrets are the ones hidden in plain-sight, and that’s certainly true of the coffeeshop at The Oberoi. Leading off from the hotel’s atrium lobby, the airy lounge affords the dreamiest view of the relentless waves crashing over the sea rocks of Marine Drive, a lilting tone set by hotel’s iconic red piano. It’s the soufflé which is always the final crescendo though, with flavours ranging from chocolate-chip to caramelised hazelnut… this is really as decadently comforting as it gets on a moodily grey evening!
Hotel Oberoi Tower, Nariman Point
Food for Thought at Kitab Khana
Housed in a vintage bookstore near Flora Fountain, Kitab Khana, this quintessentially-quaint café is ideal for those afternoons when you’re looking to get stuck in a book whilst tucking into a Bombay-style toastie. A steaming cuppa apple tea or melted hot chocolate is never amiss either, mellowed by a lively hum of chatter as Food for Thought is a favourite among young lawyers working in the area! Explore more cafés off the beaten path, here.
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My endless pursuit of #hygge continues in Bombay… (Pronounced hue-gah), the Danish way of living is a cosy one, all about cherishing oneself and others and celebrating life's simple pleasures. Hygge is really as simple as this piping hot cup of apple tea on a wintry evening with a bit of comfort-food (a scrumptiously chattpatta sandwich!) and plenty of food for thought too, chatting with inspirational friends… It's a worthwhile pursuit of happiness 🙏🏻 #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Food for Thought, Somaiya Bhavan, 45 / 47 Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Flora Fountain, Fort
La Folie du Chocolat
For those fiendish about cocoa, there’s really no place like La Folie du Chocolat. The diminutive but oh-so-chic space in Kala Ghoda majors in high-grade, single origin hot chocolates paired with all manners of exquisite French pastries from LCB-trained Chef Sanjana! Explore more of Kala Ghoda, here.
La Folie du Chocolat; No. 16, Commerce House, Rope Walk Lane, Next to Trishna Restaurant, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Upping the ante on Mumbai’s classic rainy-day combination of cutting chai and bun maska, is the Malaysian take on milky tea and buns at Papparoti. Having originated in Southeast Asia the cult chain now has branches from Canada to Dubai, so I suppose that it was only a matter of time before it made it’s way to Kamala Mills.
While the interiors are not much to write home about (and the pesky swarm of flies notwithstanding), the buns are the epitome of bliss – the crisp, golden dome cocooning pillowy folds of warm bread baptised with mountains of butter. The original remains my top choice, dunked in sweet tea creamily loaded with condensed milk! More on the top new openings in Mumbai, here.
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From Malaysia to Mumbai: milky tea & impeccably-golden, buttery buns that melt on biting into! Blissful scenes (minus the unwelcome appearance of a few flies) @PapparotiMumbai. Perfect for those fuss-free evenings when all you need is a carb-boost and a natter with your best pals. #MidweekMood #TopMumbaiRestaurants #TheFoodieDiariesBombay
Papparoti, Gate 4, Ground Floor, “Trade View”, Oasis Reality, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel
Of course – when it comes down to it, is there anything as gloriously-satisfying as a dim sum spread at Yauatcha BKC? Think truffle edamame dumplings, mushroom cheung feung, devilishly deep-fried turnip cakes and the like, washed down with a shot (or a few) of sake. Do be sure to save room for the restaurant’s iconic desserts after (if you know, you know), with forks clanging to snaffle the last bite.
Yauatcha, Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex, G Block BKC, Bandra East.
Simply put, the tom yum soup at Thai Pav is a heartwarming hug in a bowl on a drizzly evening, as are the colourful curries thoughtfully tempered with spices. Any wonder then, that this long-standing favourite at The President hotel in Cuffe Parade remains the top contender for our Thai fix this side of Bangkok?
Thai Pavilion, Vivanta by Taj – President, Cuffe Parade.
The list of go-to’s during the monsoons continues with neighbourhood stalwart, Gustoso, where three simple ingredients – a grand wheel of Grana Padano, brandy and tagliolini – come together in a cathartic combination of cream, cheese and carbs!
Gustoso, Plot 109 Kwality House, August Kranti Marg, Below Kemps Corner Bridge, Grant Road.
Your Local Club
And then there are Bombay’s gallimaufry of gymkhanas, with the very notion of club-food synonymous with the highest degree of comfort – from an Indian twist on Chinese cuisine at C.C.I. slicked in oodles of oil, to Eggs Kejriwal at Willingdon Club sprinkled with heaps of green chilli. The Bar Nights at Bombay Gymkhana are always an inviting proposition too – providing shelter and sustenance, swilled down with pints and pegs!
Explore more things to do in Mumbai, here.