|There are hundreds of cricket games on the go every day in Mumbai – this is Oval Maidan|
One of Mumbai’s last Parsi cafes Britannia is a crumbling testament to the city’s past. The restaurant first opened in 1923 and elderly owner Boman Kohinoor still meets and greets each patron. Diners eat in a high ceilinged room underneath whirring fans and flaking paint. The signature dish has been the same for years, the berry pulao (R300). Fluffy rice is flecked with tender chicken and studded with sweet cranberries, a classic combination of flavours.
Details: Wakefield House 11, 16 Sprott Rd., Ballard Estate, Mumbai, 400038 +91 (0) 22 22615264. Only open for lunch 12-4. Closed Sundays.
|The berry pulao at Cafe Britannia|
Masala Kraft offers Indian fine dining from chef Hermant Oberoi in the opulent setting of the Taj Palace Hotel. The food is top notch with highlights including a khushk raan and the masala sea bass. The khushk raan (R1500) was a whole leg of lamb slow cooked until tender and served in a glistening broth while the masala sea bass (1950) was silky and firm and doused in a rich mango curry. There was great theatre to be had in a palate cleanser of sugar cane, lime and ginger sorbet which arrived in steaming teapot.
|Masala sea bass|
For sweet fiends, Masla Kraft’s dessert sampler (R625) is a must with its saffron flavoured kulfi and rich, dark halva topped with flaked almond. Unlike many restaurants in India, Masala Kraft does actually have a wine list and we particularly enjoyed a bottle of the Villa Avantori, a dry white Italian wine. The only fault I could pick with our meal was service overkill at times with constant refilling of wine glasses and questions as to how the meal was. The waiters were certainly attentive but perhaps a little too keen. Overall this was the best experience of high end Indian cooking that I had during my trip to India.
|Palate cleanser at Masala Kraft|
Details: Masala Kraft, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mahakavi Bhushan Road, Apollo Bandar, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India (Ph: 022 66653366)
Damage: Budget Breaking but on this occasion I did not pay.
I was a guest of Masala Kraft for dinner.
|Street food at Bademiya|
Only open at night time Bademiya is pure street theatre with its sizzling kebabs and hot charred naan bread all produced out of a small metal stall in a back street behind the Taj Mahal Palace. The chicken tikka wrap (Rs110) has plump, moist chicken doused with just the right amount of fieriness.
Details: Tulloch road, Mumbai, India.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
|Chicken tikka masala at Leopold’s|
Leopold’s is an institution in Mumbai which is thankfully still going strong despite being one of the targets in the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Our waiter told us how he was working on the day, escaped death and then was straight back to work when Leopold’s reopened two days later. So many customers turned up to support the reopening that the police had to shut the restaurant down. He also proudly told us how Leopold’s featured in the classic travel read Shantaram and produced a photo on his mobile of him with the author Gregory Robertson. Leopold’s serves up pretty standard Indian food like mild chicken tikka masala (R355) and vegetable korma (R225) but it has a great atmosphere and is a good place to meet fellow travellers alongside locals.
Details: Leopold Cafe, Corner of Colaba Causeway and Nawroji F Road Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (Ph 022 22020131)
Damage: Reasonable. Our bill came to R1,700 for two.
|High tea at the Sea Lounge|
The Sea Lounge
Mr MTV has a closet high tea addiction so dragged me along (unwillingly of course) to the Sea Lounge at the Taj Mahal Palace which has an afternoon tea buffet between 4-7pm each afternoon. With a piano player tinkling away in the background we were plied with a tiered cake stand filled with crustless sandwiches, tarts and the obligatory scones along with silver tipped tea. The scones and sandwiches both erred on the dry side but the Sea Lounge excelled in its version of chaat, Indian street food, which was described by our waiter as “the hygenic version” and the dessert buffet complete with chocolate fountain. Goof fun for afternoon tea aficiondos and a taste of colonial India.
Details: The Sea Lounge, The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mahakavi Bhushan Road, Apollo Bandar, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India (Ph: 022 66653366)
Damage: Pricey. R2,150 per person.
New Kulfi Centre
New Kulfi Centre is supposed to serve the best kulfi in Mumbai. The kulfi is firm and is carefully sliced off a large block and then wrapped in a betel-nut leaf and then weighed on an ancient scale – which makes it even better.
Details: Cnr Chowpatty Seaface and Sardar V Patel Rd, Mumbai, India.
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve
Gourmet Travel Tips
- Kingfisher flies from London to Mumbai from £500 return. Flight Centre has flights listed from $1,000 to Mumbai from Australia.
- We walked around the city checking out the Victorian architecture and all the kids playing cricket at Oval Maidan. Chowpatty beach was also great for people watching.
- We stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel as a treat to finish off our time in India. This legendary hotel really does go above and beyond in terms of service. When our room was turned down at night special Taj Mahal Palace bookmarks were inserted into any books we were reading and the complimentary afternoon tour of the hotel’s history is a must do. On the downside, we stayed in the Tower Wing which was cheaper but lacked the grandeur and history of the more expensive main wing. Check out the very “retro” bathroom in my video review. Suites start at R8,500 a night (£106/$160).