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Go To Roshan Bakery For Delicious Snacks And Rotis

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GO TO ROSHAN BAKERY FOR DELICIOUS SNACKS AND ROTIS

The century-old Roshan Bakery in Mazagaon bakes everything from doughnuts to rotis. Cooked in a traditional tandoor, the rotis are available in several forms – Mughlai, parotha, kamachi. The bakery also sells vegetarian and meat patties and rolls.

Roshan Bakery, 88/90 Seth Motisha Lane, Opp. Mazagaon Telephone Exchange, Mazagaon, Mumbai 400 010. Phone: 098202 32489

READ MEHER MIRZA’S STORY

It all begins at the gym, where my gym-loving father holds court, polishing his disciplinarian nature with a glossy coat of charm. Hapless employees scurry hither thither to do his bidding. “Turn down the music,” roars my father. Or “Why hasn’t this bench been wiped to shiny perfection?” And for reasons unbeknownst to me, the hapless employees listen every time.

Actually, the story really begins when my dad unfurled his charm offensive on a polite young man at the gym. The young man turned out to be the owner of Mazagaon’s Roshan Bakery and Patisserie — ‘Baking Since a Century’ ‘Taste of Quality with Tradition’. You already know how this story ends: we made our way to Roshan Bakery and Patisserie.

Roshan is cleaved into two. On one side lie shelves replete with wonders like the French doughnut, bhujia biscuit, coconutty bolinas, patties and rolls. This is the more salubrious of the two.

On the other is a grotty baking area with a charcoal-burning tandoor and a knot of ganji-clad men fretting over it. On any given day, several varieties of rotis are made here in a tandoor: my favourite, the Mughlai roti, is enormous, cracker-like and airy at once, punctured by bubbles, and faintly reminiscent of cream cracker biscuits and naan. The parotha is dappled with speckles of brown, and betrays the slow melt of butter in its innards. The kamachi roti is fluffy and light as a halo. Get one, get both, get all three; they make the perfect backdrop for a slug of curry or dal. Unless of course, you’re like me, and finish everything before you even step into a homeward-bound taxi.

Photographs by Suruchi Maira

 
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The Story Of Magazine Street Kitchen

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THE STORY OF MAGAZINE STREET KITCHEN

Magazine Street Kitchen is a beautiful 2,500sqft space in Darukhana that functions as an events venue, bakery, and kitchen-on-hire. It is the brainchild of Gauri Devidayal and her husband, Jay Yousuf, along with head chef Alex Sanchez (the team behind Colaba’s popular restaurant The Table).

Magazine Street Kitchen, Gala No 13, Devidayal Compound, Near Britannia Company, Magazine Street, Gupta Mills Estate, Darukhana, Byculla (e), Mumbai 400 010. Phone: 022 2372 6708

READ MEHER MIRZA’S INTERVIEW WITH GAURI DEVIDAYAL

Beginnings

Gauri Devidayal: From the time we first saw the space to the time we opened was exactly two years. It was my dad’s old factory, one big warehouse that belonged to my dad. Honestly, the state it was in, when we saw it, I would not have had the vision to convert it into Magazine Street Kitchen, but that’s kind of Jay’s forte. It works well, we haven’t killed each other yet – he has his strength, which is the bigger vision. He is the creative ideas person and I am the execution person. Obviously, Alex had his technical inputs as well.

gauri devidayal magazine street kitchen the table

The Location

GD: I love it because it exposes people [who come for our events] to a part of Bombay they didn’t know earlier. The flip side is that you are a little off the beaten track. When you’re doing a business, you need people to come to you. We realise now that it is easily accessible, but the initial reaction was usually, “Oh, where am I?”

We were very clear that Magazine Street Kitchen is an event-driven space, so the location isn’t that much of a deal breaker. We don’t expect people to walk in, although I hope one day we can do that (once it is established enough). I think it will change, because of real estate pressures – that’s how every neighbourhood has evolved. And it’s nice to be first here.

We did take a risk for this, but it has paid off. Look what happened with Blue Frog when it opened at Todi Mills! In the beginning, everyone was like, “Oh be safe when you go there”, and now look at it today.

gauri devidayal magazine street kitchen the table

The Draw

GD: People don’t generally get to see such professional kitchens up close like this. They acquire a whole new appreciation of food as well, because they can see firsthand what’s going on. A lot of the events we host start off in the kitchen where we serve canapés and drinks. Then we move the guests upstairs for the actual dinner. Even though it is a little hotter down there than it is upstairs, people don’t mind, because it is theatre, sort of like dinner and a show.

The other thing is that when we hold workshops, we restrict them to twelve people, because the idea is that people get to use our professional equipment. I remember at the very first workshop that we did, a pasta-making workshop, people were so surprised that they could use the burners. That’s something everyone gets really excited by.

The Events

GD: The whole point about this space is that it’s purely a venue, a platform for chefs – and not just our chefs. We’re not going to do tastings of every meal and then ‘allow’ or ‘not allow’ certain chefs. It’s a blank slate.

It’s a great experience for chefs from overseas to do what they love in a new city or new country. Plus a lot of people may not want to take on a whole restaurant, but they still want to cook, and this is a great format for doing that. It also opens them up to a whole new world of diners, and you never know where that leads. Someone might say, “Hey, I want to invest in a restaurant with you”, or “Will you cater a party for me”. So it opens up avenues. Every chef has just loved working in here – it’s a fresh kitchen space where they can do whatever they want.

gauri devidayal magazine street kitchen the table

What we want to do actually maybe in June, is a farm-to-fork workshop. Right now, it is too hot to take people to our farm [in Alibag]. Instead, we thought of bringing it here. The idea would be to show people what we do with our plants but also how to tailor it to their spaces, grow it on their balconies. There’s so much you can grow at home. I have a four-year-old, and her highlight is checking to see, every morning, whether anything has sprouted. If we serve raw tomatoes in a bowl at The Table she won’t eat them, but if she goes to Alibag and sees me plucking one off the plant and putting it in my mouth, she’ll do that! And I’m like, whatever works! Just eat them!

The other interesting thing we do is shoots for TV commercials and films that need a kitchen. Here, they have enough space for their camera equipment, they can move around, they have height. They can do what they want without disrupting a restaurant’s business. It’s fun for us as well. For the Bollywood version of Chef , they replicated a New York kitchen here, and it was really fun. They needed extras, so my staff got to become a part of the movie. It was like, oh my god, this is what it takes to do five scenes in a movie!

One of the things I want to do – there’s a lot of tours in India, tourism boards that have the budgets to bring chefs that we necessarily can’t. So I want to reach out to more people and say, “Hey, there’s this space, would you want to bring anyone down?”

We’re also looking to do very high-end, niche catering, and I guess this would be the base kitchen. Eventually, I want to be at a point where the kitchen is in use every day. It’s really just a matter of time.

gauri devidayal magazine street kitchen the table

Getting to know Gauri

The City Story: What’s your favourite food movie?

GD: Like Water for Chocolate. Oh, and our opening night dinner was inspired by Big Night; we replicated the whole meal in the finale. It was meant to be a “big night” for us. There was a crazy amount of food, but it was the most incredible meal Alex has created. So for sentimental reasons, that movie also.

TCS: What do you like on your pizza?
GD: Truffle, lots and lots of mozzarella, and mushroom. I prefer vegetarian pizzas.

TCS: Favourite food city?
GD: San Francisco. New York is a close second, but San Francisco has my heart.

TCS: What gift would you take to a dinner party?
GD: Goodies from here! It’s easy, it’s a little plug, and it’s yummy.

TCS: If you had to pick between these three for a dinner companion, who would you pick – Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, or Paula Wolfert?
GD: I would say Nigella. Even though I’m a woman, I can’t stop watching her show. And of course my husband is happy to join me! I want to meet her one day, and I want her to come here. I hope Nigella reads this. [laughs uproariously] In five years, when she visits, we will sit back and laugh about it.

 
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Acharekar’s Malvan Katta Is Worth The Queues

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ACHAREKAR’S MALVAN KATTA IS WORTH THE QUEUES

Malvan Katta’s queues are testimony to the Dadar restaurant’s expertise with native seafood staples like the mandeli and Bombay Duck. But besides the delectable fried fish, there’s also wade, tisrya masala and a perfect sol kadi to set your tongue singing.

Acharekar’s Malvan Katta, Ground Floor, Janaki Nivas, DL Vaidya Path, Dadar (w), Mumbai 400 028. Phone: 022 2421 6923

READ MEHER MIRZA’S STORY

Acharekar’s Malvan Katta was not built for the crowds that besiege it on weekends, when a long, snaking line winds its way round the block, tummies are inevitably assailed by pangs of hunger, and tempers fly in consequence. And yet, it will be worth the wait. Let me explain why.

I could tell you about its rosy sol kadi, humming with the tang of kokum. Or I could tell you about the wade, fried to a formidable crunch. I could even tell you about the tisrya masala, sunk deep into their vivid, coconut-laced gravy.

But this story is really all about the fish. Specifically, fried fish. Specifically fish gilded with a crust of cornflake-crispness. Specifically, the bombil or Bombay duck, that has been dredged through a mountain of semolina and fried to a golden crackle that conceals a pliant, wobbly, belly within. The bombil comes in a thali, with a stack of chapatis and a ruddy-hued, assertively-spiced rasa to dip them into.

An honourable mention must be made of the mandeli fry, tiny fish fried until they reach the point of shattering crispness, meant to be eaten whole, brittle bones and all. It’s perfect drinking food, but alas Acharekar’s Malvan Kutta offers no inebriating accompaniments! The food is enough.
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A Parsi Girl’s Guide To Parsi Food In Mumbai

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A PARSI GIRL’S GUIDE TO PARSI FOOD IN MUMBAI

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY SURUCHI MAIRA

Some days draw me into the world of restaurants and cafés, tempting my tongue with the intriguing and the unaccustomed. Others though, are meant to be spent in the company of familiar Parsi flavours, a simple dhun dar chawal or a khichdi kheemo, comforting, frugal and unapologetic. This story points to these days. The shops and eateries I mention below are all unshowy and unpretentious, but the food is always compelling. They are my home away from home.

RTI

RTI (Ratan Tata Institute) outlets are sprinkled through the city, but the one I keep returning to is the RTI café cloistered within the gardens of the Parsee General Hospital. This is where friends and relatives of incarcerated patients come to tranquillise the winnowing flail of hunger that assails them at mealtimes. On the menu – hearty Parsi cooking like dhansak and curry chawal. On the shelves – a catalogue of Parsi snacks like bhakra (a sort of tea-time cakelet), chocolate rum balls, chapat (pancakes fattened with a dense coconut stuffing) and cheese straws.

The B.D. Petit Parsee General Hospital, Bomanji Petit Marg, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai 400 036

Paradise

Dhansak is the butter chicken of Parsi food, the dish that inexplicably flies the pennant of Parsi cooking. A delicious dish forsooth but, to my mind, overrated. I choose the sali boti instead – dark, sticky hanks of meat, covered with a pelt of crisp-fried potato sali. But whichever road you choose to walk down, make sure it ends at Paradise. By way of décor, Paradise is restrained, even spartan; its service is desultory, at best. Go anyway. The food has the unmistakeable stamp of good, honest home cooking.

Sind Chambers, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005. Phone: 022 2283 2874

paradise bombay parsi food

Parsi Dairy Farm

What draws me to PDF’s dazzling blue shop-front is the corpulent canine usually lolling outside. I am lured within by its slabs of malai kulfi. And the mawa ni boi, the fish-shaped sweet shimmering in its silver leaf skin. And tangled pats of snowy sutarfeni. And ghee fashioned from buffalo milk, and white butter. The list goes on…

261-63, Princess Street, Marine Lines Flyover, Marine Lines (e), Kalbadevi, Mumbai 400 002. Phone: 022 6775 2222

Meher Cold Drink House

Included for the frivolous reason that its name matches mine. Meher Cold Drink House has settled very comfortably into old age and has dedicated itself to the twin virtues of lassi (sweet and salted and most refreshing) and sweet dahi, set in little tea glasses.

5, Ground Floor, Mackawee Mansion, 7, Rustom Sidhwa Marg, Borabazar Precinct, Ballard Estate, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2266 0444

parsi food bombay meher cold drinks

Ideal Corner

It’s a bit of a thrill to stumble upon this quaint little cafe in the tangled lanes of Fort. Ideal serves the usual suspects of Parsi food, but on Tuesdays they make kharoo gosh, a chunky stew of mutton and potatoes, flanked with rotli. And on Wednesday there is railway mutton.

12/F/G Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2262 1930

Paris Bakery

Don’t be dissuaded by Paris Bakery’s unassuming exterior. It is here that you will find the simple troika of flour, butter and water transform into the khari biscuit, the Bakery’s finest offering. Light as a cloud, with a sunny-coloured glaze, the khari biscuit is meant to be submerged in hot chai at tea-time. Second best are the stubby little lumps of batasa biscuits, spiked with caraway seeds.

278, Dr Cawasji Hormusji Street, Our Lady Of Dolours Church Lane, Marine Lines, Mumbai 400 002. Phone: 022 2208 6619

parsi food bombay paris bakery

Jimmy Boy

Full disclosure: I’ve eaten here only once, a long while ago, but reliable sources have told me that this is where one goes to get lagan nu bhonu i.e. the much-vaunted wedding spread of pulao-dar, patra-ni-macchi, marghi-na-farcha (fried chicken skirted by lacy batter), saria wafers, achaar and lagan-nu-custard. If I go again though, I’d order the dhun dal and tareli macchi, which is nothing but yellow dal and rice served with fish that has been fried until its skin blisters.

11, Vikas Building, Bank Street, Near Horniman Circle, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2270 0880

Kerawalla

This little store has been sliced into two, one half given over to the sale of sapat (slippers), topis and other Parsi worthies. The other half is devoted to pickles and pastries like the khajoor ni ghori (pastries infiltrated by date and jaggery, then fried until crunch gives way to tender); khaman na ladoo (velvety balls of dough with bellies of sweetened coconut) and patrel (colocasia leaf and gram flour furled together, then fried or roasted).

218, Chandra Mahal, Dr. C.H. Street, Marine Lines, Mumbai 400 002

Parsi Food Trail_007

Royal Sweets

Go to Royal Sweets for its crisp whorls of jalebi. Stay for its malai na khaja, slender panes of pastry stuffed with cream and tinged with nuts. Come home with the fudgy, coconutty kopra pak.

L.T. Market, Opposite Novelty Cinema, Grant Road (e), Mumbai 400 007

PAC

This is one I would have left out since I have already written about PAC for The City Story, but it has crept back into this story, by sole virtue of its chicken pattice: a flaky, crumbly, golden-brown carapace that shields its creamy chicken depths. During the winter, PAC also stocks badam pak (a sort of savoury almond fudge) and vasanu (a spicy-savoury breakfast fudge, rumoured to impart strength on wintry mornings).

292 Shastri Hall, Shop No. 3, Nana Chowk, Tardeo Road, Mumbai 400 007

parsi food bombay pac samosas chicken pattice

Photo by mitrs3 – stock.adobe.com

Dadar Perviz Hall

At Dadar Parsi Youth Assembly’s Snack Centre, the best thing is the chutney egg, a dish of potato and green chutney folded round a boiled egg, and deep-fried to a crisp. Dar ni pori (discs of pastry, plumped with sweetened dal) comes a close second.

803-D, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Road, Parsee Colony, Dadar, Mumbai 400 014. Phone: 022 2412 9437

Bonus: Honourable mentions must be made of Motilal Masalawala and Belgaum Gheewala, purveyors of all Parsi masalas, pickles and other condiments. This is where Parsis go to buy the Parsi dhana jeera, Parsi sambhar masala, dhansak masala, gharab nu achar (pickled fish roe), tarapori patio (Bombay duck pickle) and bafenu (an entire Alphonso mango submerged in a mustardy masala).

Motilal Masalawala, 405 Grant Road, Mumbai 400 007. Phone: 022 2373 4306

Belgaum Gheewala, N. Bharucha Marg, Nana Chowk, Grant Road, Mumbai 400 007

parsi food bombay pickles
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Beyond Visiting Hours At Hospitals In Mumbai

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BEYOND VISITING HOURS AT HOSPITALS IN MUMBAI

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA

Meher Mirza recalls her time spent as a patient and relative at Mumbai’s hospitals.

When people talk about their happy childhoods, they bleat about time spent climbing trees, being cosseted by their grandparents, escapades at school, and such like. Not me. My childhood was pockmarked with countless hospital stays, and that’s what I remember. Not that I didn’t enjoy those stays – I saw life outside the hospital as abrasive, and squalid and it was easy for me to succumb to its dubious charms. Mostly, I was swept into Breach Candy Hospital with a swirl of sirens, a hospital I still feel very fondly about.

Breach Candy Hospital was certainly not the charnel house people seem to conjure up when they think of hospitals. After my first operation (I was maybe six? seven?), I was wheeled into my room and was startled by how posh it all was – no noise, an entire air-conditioned room, a telly all to myself and a splendid view of the sea and Breach Candy Club. The food was sadly indifferent (once, before another operation, I was handed a large slice of boiled, unseasoned pumpkin) but the canteen downstairs made up for it. Most fun was had when doughty relatives visited, duty and virtue shining through their faces; then I would show them my freshly-wrought stabs and stitches and laugh boorishly as they lurched away in disgust. I was a most unpleasant child.

Their rooms overlooked its efflorescent gardens, so beautiful and peaceful that I know healthy people who made walking within a regular evening activity.

Years later, as I grew older and healthier, my mum’s knees gave up the ghost and we had to scurry to the orthopaedist’s office; it turned out that she needed an operation and the best place was Kokilaben Ambani Hospital. Kokilaben Hospital is more mall than hospital – a food court, an upscale “fine-dining” restaurant, a Subway counter, a coffee shop, a bookshop, even a gift shop (yes!). It was said that Bollywood stars languished in their suites upstairs, accessible via a special lift that was not open to hoi polloi. It is that kind of place.

Quite recently, a different sort of shadow fell upon my family. A procession of elderly Parsi relatives started staggering into Parsee General Hospital for assorted illnesses. Their rooms overlooked its efflorescent gardens, so beautiful and peaceful that I know healthy people who made walking within a regular evening activity. Far more affordable than its neighbouring Breach Candy Hospital, Parsee General had another trump up its sleeve – its handsome building houses a tiny RTI on the premises. This is where harried relatives often escape to – the crusty chicken pattice soothes nerves that have been shot to pieces by peevish, elderly relatives.

But this story ends sadly, as befits one about hospitals. Because last of all, there was Jaslok hospital where my delightful granny was admitted after a debilitating stroke. She was not very old but the stroke was severe and we sat around helplessly, watching her life ebb away. Doctors sauntered in and out of the room, sibylline nurses murmured around her bed. My granny seemed suddenly fragile, less vivid, less herself, more frightened. There was no reprieve, we were told; this was the final glide down an icy slope. In the face of so much intractable grief, I don’t really remember much of that hospital. It had all the usual hospital accoutrements – a decent canteen, a frenetic lobby and apparently excellent facilities for foreign tourists (including translators and airport pickups). I remember walking around a lot, trying to distract myself, tire myself out enough to sleep. But no matter where I went, I would find myself encased within the same shell, stewing in my own sad air.

Breach Candy Hospital Trust, 60 A, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai 400 026. Phone: 022 2366 7788

Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, 15, Dr. Deshmukh Marg, Pedder Road, Mumbai 400 026. Phone: 022 2353 3333

The B.D. Petit Parsee General Hospital, Bomanji Petit Marg, Cumballa Hill, Mumbai 400 036. Phone: 022 6118 6118

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Rao Saheb Achutrao, Patwardhan Marg, Four Bunglows, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 022 3099 9999

Feature photo by xy – stock.adobe.com

 
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savor lunch experiences secret supper kanu gupta

Savor Takes You Around The World In A Lunch Box

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SAVOR TAKES YOU AROUND THE WORLD IN A LUNCH BOX

With its emphasis on experiences, Savor Lunch offers its clients sophisticated iterations of the lunch dabba delivery service. Each meal is an exploration of the food of a particular culture: asparagus-studded pasta with lemony ricotta sauce and festooned with bacon bits, earthy miso chicken with nori rice, cochido stew swilling with chorizo and ajoblanco soup.

At the moment, Savor delivers lunches from Colaba to Bandra. To get in touch, visit their website, e-mail hello@savorexperiences.com or call +91 7045451777.

READ MEHER MIRZA’S INTERVIEW WITH SAVOR’S FOUNDER KANU GUPTA

Several years ago, a friend took Kanu Gupta to an underground restaurant in Hong Kong. “We walked in, the husband has a torn down wife-beater, he’s sitting watching a Chinese soap, smoking away,” he says. “The kids are playing video games, there’s no acknowledgement that you even exist. The poor wife is steaming in the kitchen, and then she brings out two of everything. And it was the best food I’ve ever had. No, let me rephrase, it was the best experience. I’ve had better food, but I remember that meal. The experience was like a window into that society.”

Kanu is an ardent evangelist for fresh experiences. “We have this line in our mission statement that says ‘people matter more than things, timelessness matters more than time, experiences matter more than anything’,” he says. It is this very avidity that he, together with a group of other people, pours into the Secret Supper Project, an exclusive four-year-old Mumbai supper club.

The Secret Supper Project has always had an unorthodox roster of employees (florists, musicians, architects etc.) with one unifying thread – they all have to be able to cook. This diversity has led to Secret Supper becoming a sort of revolving door of talent.””A lot of businesses started there,” says Kanu. “Sucres des Terres’ ice-cream business, Bombay Canteen did test dinners with us, a lot of our team members have gone on to work in the food industry. It’s an amazing kind of bus stop.”

The suppers grew so enjoyable that a year ago, the team quit their day jobs and poured their hearts into Savor, a collective that forked into two. Savor Experiences, which curates anything from chef’s tables and degustation menus to spirit tastings. And Savor Lunch, which offers its clients sophisticated iterations of the lunch dabba delivery service. “The whole notion behind lunch is… what would you do if you get an extra hour?,” says Kanu. “We want to create time, but how you spend that time is up to you. Want to have lunch in the park by yourself, you want to call your boyfriend and have lunch with him, that’s up to you.”

savor experiences secret supper kanu gupta

Kanu offers his unvarnished opinion about the homogenous Indian lunch dabba: “The quality of everyday lunch in India is quite boring. Lunch is like, grab and go, let’s figure it out….besides, you’re going to have bhindi for dinner anyway. Do you want it again for lunch?”

Naturally, Savor’s lunches have none of that. Instead, each meal becomes an exploration of the food of a particular culture: asparagus-studded pasta with lemony ricotta sauce and festooned with bacon bits, earthy miso chicken with nori rice, cochido stew swilling with chorizo and ajoblanco soup.

Savor’s team members include (among others) Kanu, Tejal Choksi, Sushil Multani and Shashank Poojari. Between them, they belt out American, Arabic, Australian, British, Cantonese, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Jamaican, Japanese, Macanese, Mexican, North Indian, Peruvian, Russian, Sichuan, Spanish, Tasmanian, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese cuisines.

savor experiences secret supper kanu gupta

The team is punctilious about their produce. Each morning, the chefs ferret out the freshest ingredients available, scouring the city’s markets for the best of the day. Savor has also crafted an ecosystem of young producers from around the country, including cheese-makers in Gujarat, and micro-green farms. “The beauty of our lunch service is that we can change our lunch service menu the morning of,” Kanu says earnestly. “If the figs suck, we’ll replace them with strawberries. A lot of restaurants claim ‘organic first,’ ‘local first’, but they can never start with produce that is amazing and then cook around it.”

Cooking specifically for lunch has led to a flip in the production process. “Most restaurants cook and put something in a box for lunch,” says Kanu. “We’re working the other way round. We’re asking ‘what will work for a 45-minute break at room temperature, at a desk in the office?’ I’d love to do fish and chips, but fish only works well right off the pan. That approach is unique to lunch. That’s why we will not repeat a menu in a month, but we also won’t tell you what is going to be in it.”

Savor’s success hinges on its employees’ creativity. “It’s not a ‘nice’ thing to have,” Kanu stresses. “It’s fundamental.” Creativity is plucked from everywhere and anywhere. For instance, the board of Savor is paying for the team to visit the Kochi Biennale. Sometimes, they insinuate themselves into private homes. “Like just today for lunch, we found a crazy-good home chef in Bandra doing a very old-school Goan pork” says Kanu, “We met this Naga chef, who’s insanely cool! He FedExes himself ingredients from Shillong. Ideas come through people, always.”

savor experiences secret supper kanu gupta

It’s all working. Savor is hurtling onwards and upwards at a furious clip, its lunch clientele almost doubling each month. Gupta and Multani ruefully add that one of the attendant problems of scaling up includes maintaining quality and consistency. Another problem, they admit, is sustainability. Savor’s lunch team is working towards a culture of sustainability but there is still a ways to go; their lunchbox design today has about 10 percent plastic, which Gupta hopes to banish completely.

“We are working on a beautiful design of the classic Bombay steel tiffin, that’s going to be launched soon,” says Kanu. “Another thing we want to do is to engrave cutlery with the names of our long-time customers, send it to them and ask, how about we never send you a plastic fork ever again? The game-changer is the reusable, but we have to slowly move together towards it. There’s no silver bullet.”

Ultimately, Savor hopes to bag itself a Michelin star. “Our mission is to be the first Michelin-starred lunch delivery company in the world,” says Kanu. “If a hawker centre (in Singapore) can get it, why not this?”

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The Essential Guide To Combating A Hangover In Mumbai

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THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO COMBATING A HANGOVER IN MUMBAI

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA

A great night out doesn’t mean you have to suffer the next day. Our guide to surviving an epic hangover has you covered. You’re welcome.

After a sybaritic night on the town, when the dank, fetid winds of hangover start blowing your way, there’s only one thing for it: Food, the cure-all, the do-over, the magic wand. If you have the strength to drag yourself from the rubble of your miserable morning-after, may I point you in the direction of these scrumptious sustaining dishes? There’s a time for fine dining but this isn’t it.

Sharda Bhavan

When you wake up with the taste of last night’s tequila still coating your tongue, there’s really only one thing that can wash it away for me, and that’s sugary, frothy, milky South Indian filter coffee. The rough, sugar hit, the walloping burn; you can be sure that a slug of the potent stuff will slick away any remnants of your hangover. Drink and then down a plate of deep-fried vada, floating in a moat of fiery rasam.

Sharda Bhavan, Lakhamsi Napoo Road, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019

Hotel Noor Mohammadi

Started in 1923 by Abdul Karim, Noor began as an early morning eatery (6 a.m.) catering to the pious Namaz offerer. Noor has a sketch by MF Husain. Noor has a dish named after Sunjay Dutt. But what Noor does best is its nalli nihari – deep, swarthy, velvet-soft thigh meat, ballasted by spice and smothered in a zesty, savoury gravy. Eaten with crisp roti and a fizzy soda, it is a killer cure for a hangover.

Hotel Noor Mohammadi, 181-183, Abdul Hakim Noor Mohammadi Chowk, Bhendi Bazar, Mumbai 400 003

Valibhai Payawala

After a torrid night, it is time for the simple pleasures of life – meat and grease. At Valibhai, the meat is cooked through the day on coal fires, dum style, until it is soft, luscious, unresisting enough to fall off the bone at the slightest nudge and dissolve into the gravy. Order the paya (trotters), the pichota (oxtail), the nalli (thigh / shanks) or the topa (neck); it doesn’t matter which. Scoop it up with the fluffy, charred tandoori rotis. Smile insouciantly. Your hangover has been vanquished.

Valibhai Payawala, 45, Gujjar Street, Bohri Mohalla, Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai 400 003

Sarvi

As a child growing up in a Parsi household, I was regularly fed kidney, brains and trotters. Which is why the bheja masala fry at Sarvi’s is a Proustian memory for me. There is something gloriously warm and emollient about the dish, something that harks back to the happiest, simplest version of myself, a time when I didn’t have to grapple with the world weariness that nips at my heels after a drunken night out.

Sarvi, Dimtikar Road, Nagpada, Byculla (w), Mumbai 400 008

 

Want home delivery options if you just can’t get out of the house and need sustenance brought to you?

RECOMMENDATIONS BY KRUTI DALAL, GENESIA ALVES, JUHI PANDE AND SHIVANI SHAH

If it’s one of those mornings where you need to wrap a pillow around your face and wear your sunglasses over it, then may we suggest you stay home and dial some delicious? Here’s a list of places that will send you exactly the sort of food that you’re craving:

Coma Coma

Burritos, empanadas and tortas with a generous helping of perfect picco de gallo is food heaven for most of us. The 15,000 km gap between Mumbai to Mexico is bridged with ease by Coma Coma.

Order online from Scootsy

Sukh Sagar

There’s nothing better than butter to battle the bitter aftereffect of beer. And no one north of the sea link uses butter better than Sukh Sagar. Crisp pao lathered with liquid gold and a creamy bhaji that could give Sardar hot competition. Fiery onion and tomato masala stuffed inside a moist bun. Golden brown dosas that snap beneath your fingertips like khakras. And then there’s the suspiciously purple, but delightfully tart cocktail juice to wash it all down. Hangover? What hangover?

Sukh Sagar, 11, Subhkammna, Mahavir Nagar, Kandivali (w), Mumbai 400 067

Oye Panjabi Kitchen

Oye Panjabi built its formidable reputation on the highway to Nasik, but you’re too drunk to drive. Stay put and order in. The delivery is efficient. The basics are excellent; maa ki daal, murgh makhani, palak paneer, dum aloo Punjabi. The kebabs seem almost too sophisticated for your average brother-trucker – cleverly seasoned, not too spicy and perfectly cooked. You could pretty much pick anything off the menu and it will be light, wholesome and actually nourishing. Just like mum used to make – without the lecture at the absolute state of you!

Order online from Scootsy or Swiggy

Swati Snacks

If you wake up feeling nauseated at even the thought of food, you need something liquid. If you’re not from the “battle a hangover with more alcohol” school of thought and it feels like good ol’ water may not do the trick, don’t despair – that’s where Swati Snacks and its life-saving coconut punch come in. Hydration: check. Energy: check (we’re pretty certain there’s much sugar in there). Taste: double delicious check (They also have sugarcane juice, limbu pani and sweet lassi if you need options).

Swati Snacks, Karai Estate, Opposite Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo, Mumbai 400 007

 
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A Little Corner Of Parsi Food Paradise In Colaba

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A LITTLE CORNER OF PARSI FOOD PARADISE IN COLABA

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY SURUCHI MAIRA

Editors’ Note: Since this story was first published, Paradise Restaurant has been closed down.

Buses rumble and hiss down Colaba Causeway. Cars honk. Cavalcades of tourists are emptied on to the footpath. Stall owners frantically thrust their spoils at me – a pair of chappals, Spongebob Squarepants pyjamas, a necklace. I hop-skotch over the little knots of garbage and debris that stipple the remaining open spaces. And all the time, the chiselling sun beats down on my head.

In the midst of all this, a meal at Paradise is an adagio moment.

Parsi food is the delicious, sweet-sour-spicy fare born of a cultural braid of sorts, the original Irani food having borrowed threads from Gujarati, Goan and British cuisine. It is the food of my foremothers and forefathers, food that for me dissolves the tightness of everyday stresses and strains, the food of my home and hearth. And Paradise serves some of the homiest Parsi food I have ever eaten, from a one-page daily menu hidden under swathes of Chinese, “Continental” and Sizzler dishes.

parsi food

I discovered Paradise many years ago thanks to a beloved friend who long and loudly laments the rise of McDonald’s and Domino’s and seeks out Mumbai’s forgotten eating places. And so, under the pretext of culinary conservation, I find myself eating at Paradise almost once a week. It is an onerous task, filling my belly with delicious dhansak and mutton curry-rice, but I trudge on bravely nonetheless.

My friends and I meet at Paradise often for long lunches. It is the sort of slow, easy, quiet restaurant that encourages loitering, slowing down, opening up. We give our order to the sweet, crinkly-eyed waiter (“But you always think everyone is sweet,” scoffs a doubting friend) and wait. In the meantime, we whet our appetite with words. We soak up stories about each others’ lives. We talk about school days, old crushes, first jobs, our eyes wet with nostalgia. We tear up plump slices of white bread and dip them into the saucy sali marghi. We order extra sali and stuff it into our mouths. Crumbs fly everywhere, and the room vibrates with our laughter. Sometimes, just sometimes, I sob into my steaming Scotch broth, unnerved by the meandering trajectory my life seems to take but instantly comforted by the warmth distilled into my friend’s hug. There’s nothing quite like sharing a plate of food to forge a deeper bond between friends.

parsi food

The food here is always good, always nourishing, unctuous sali boti, velvety caramel custard. We go to eat but we also go to feel stronger and deeper, to laugh louder and longer, to grow our inchoate thoughts, to buttress our flagging old memories. We sate our stomachs and our spirits over hot cups of tea. And then we step out into the cool evening, just in time for the gold leaf sunset slowly consuming the sky.

Paradise Restaurant,

 

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Zen Cafe And Missed Connections

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ZEN CAFE AND MISSED CONNECTIONS

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY SURUCHI MAIRA

Zen Cafe is a vegetarian/vegan cafe and co-working space with hot chocolate that will command your attention.
It looked as if the whole of the sky was hidden behind gray clouds. The tops of Lower Parel’s tallest buildings were smothered in mist. A heavy rain had fallen. The road was silver-slick. Big drops sat motionless on the trees, and all the leaves bowed to the earth, heavy with wet.
She walked past the huddle of security men at the entrance, her umbrella leaving a rill of water in her wake. Up the stairs she drifted until she reached her favourite table, the one by the mezzanine railing. A waiter appeared silently. “Coffee, madam? Tea? Pizza? A soup?” Today she wanted a sandwich, plump with portobello and gouda. No, a quesadilla, perhaps. But at last: “The roasted pumpkin ravioli, please. And a hot chocolate.”
The chocolate came first, a big, frothing cup of it. It must have been good, for she buried her nose in it and sighed with pleasure. Across the room, a man stared at her. He was a most interesting looking man, reading Kierkegaard and sipping a cappuccino, as interesting looking men are wont to do. His hair was closely-cropped and he had long lashes. He peered at her through them. But she looked palely through him; she simply couldn’t see him at all.
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Then the ravioli came, floating in a moat of olive oil. Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers floated from the speakers. Delicately, she speared the pasta into two, watching the plumes of steam escape. As she ate, a gaggle of men and women swept laughing onto the sofa beside her, hung about with large bags. From the bags tumbled out laptops but alas, the Wi-Fi wavered. A chorus of voices rose in complaint. But them she couldn’t see either. There was a large, people-shaped hole where they were.
The waiter whisked away her plate and brought her the menu. It was black and fancy, a “curated, rotational menu of coffee offerings”. She asked for Origin X, a black coffee from the Nilgiris, with “notes of caramel and spice”. The coffee came, strong and hot, and with it a chocolate hazelnut cream and a scoop of ice cream. She strongly approved.
The office crowd stumbled out, and a sudden hush lay heavily on the cafe. The music had played itself out. And then she looked at him, a long, intimate, searching look, and for a minute they were caught in their own circle, just the two of them. Him fiddling with his coffee cup, and her playing with the ganache on her plate. The air danced and quivered between them.
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He turned to ask for the bill and scraped his chair back to go to her…but she was gone. Only an empty plate remained, a moonscape of chocolate rubble tossed around it.
The afternoon lengthened into evening, and the interesting-looking man found himself back outside the cafe. It had grown dusky. The sky was speckled with stars; the street lamps glowed warmly. He turned and walked home.
Zen Cafe serves coffee and vegan/vegetarian food, plays jazz and is a superb co-working space.
Zen Cafe, ICASA, Raghuvanshi Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone:  
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Peeling Back The Years At Regal Cinema

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PEELING BACK THE YEARS AT REGAL CINEMA

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHIVANI SHAH

Meher Mirza takes a look at the storied history of Regal Cinema, one of the last-standing single-screen cinemas in Mumbai.

Colaba is one of the most storied corners of Mumbai. A rich cultural mosaic chequered with the footprints of the Muslims, Sindhis, Parsis, Christians, Maharashtrians etc, it refuses to be flattened by dull consumerism. Throngs of tourists ribbon through its streets every day, gawping at its colourful bazaars that sit cheek by jowl with grand Colonial architecture. And on the itinerary of every tourist is Regal Cinema, the glorious pioneer of the Art Deco movement in Mumbai.

Casting off the city’s wearied Victorian character, the hip Art Deco movement swept through the city and became so entrenched in its fabric that Salman Rushdie, in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, wrote (through the voice of the protagonist), “I actually grew up believing Art Deco to be a Bombay style, a local invention, its name derived, in all probability, from the imperative of the verb ‘to see’. Art dekho. Lo and behold art.”

Not only is Regal an exemplar of art deco, it is also a fine distillation of Mumbai’s hybrid character; it enfolds influences from around the world. The land was leased by the government to Globe Theatre’s F.H. Sidhwa and K.A. Kooka who, in turn, commissioned architect Charles Stevens to build this grand paean to the movies. Meanwhile, Czechoslovakian artist Karl Schara worked on the interiors, splattering the walls with Cubist sunburst motifs in pale orange and jade green. In 1933, it was finally thrown open to the public.

To watch a movie at Regal meant dressing up in one’s best; one could not just turn up in tattered, every day clothes.

The glamorous Regal has several firsts to its name. The Internet is thick with articles telling us that it was the first building in India (perhaps in Asia) to bask in that new-fangled luxury – central air conditioning. It ushered in Cinemascope to adoring film fans and offered basement car parking to its patrons.

Regal also rang in a new age of illumination by introducing Mumbai to neon lighting. In Cities of Light: Two Centuries of Urban Illumination, Sandy Isenstadt, Margaret Maile Petty and Dietrich Neumann write that, “The first Bombay cinemas like the Gaiety, Edward and Alexander had consumed so much electricity that BEST gave them discounted rates. But the Regal set a new standard for electrical consumption with its elevators, air conditioning and extensive lighting program for its facade and interiors. And its illuminations were designed with great flair and sophistication. Neon accentuated the clean Art Deco lines on the exterior. The auditorium lights came up gradually, creating an artificial sunrise for the audience. Even the design of the lighting fixtures and wall decorations celebrated the theme of illumination with …sunburst motifs.”

The public was suitably stupefied by all this grandeur. To watch a movie at Regal meant dressing up in one’s best; one could not just turn up in tattered, every day clothes. A soda fountain was installed, ice cream was eaten out of wine-shaped glasses and the posh balcony audiences had their own pantry. The best of Western cinema was screened here.

Busybee (Behram Contractor) wrote that Regal was one of his favourite theatres. “Regal was a cinema we went to regularly, or, I should say, more often than any other,” he wrote on Busybee Forever. “A neighbour, Homi Tata, was in charge of its air-conditioning plant, probably the first such plant in the city, and, when my aunt visited the cinema, because she was elderly and could not bear too much cold, he lowered the air-conditioning a little for her.”

Today, the dun coloured building has faded and softened, a tired husk of its former glory. It battles falling numbers, high taxes and stiff competition from shiny, new multiplexes. One of the city’s few remaining single screen theatres showing English movies, it has recently been dredged out of difficulties by partnering with the Jio MAMI film festival; an affiliation that we hope helps the cinema script a happy ending for itself.

Regal Cinema, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Apollo Bunder, Mumbai 400 005. Phone: 022 2202 1017

 
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