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Drink Up: A Beer Lover’s Guide To Andheri

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DRINK UP: A BEER LOVER’S GUIDE TO ANDHERI

WORDS BY KASTURI GADGE

The rise of the microbreweries has been good news for connoisseurs of craft beer in the city. Taprooms have mushroomed across town over the last couple of years, but it’s safe to say the trend is especially tight in Andheri.  Here’s a list of locals you can hop on over to, say ‘Prost’ to a fresh brew, and skip wearing the lederhosen.

Woodside Inn

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Woodside Inn opened its second outpost in Andheri way before the beer revolution hit the town, and its beer and burgers bring all the folks to the yard (They’re so good they have an annual beer and burger festival). A reliably good playlist, great crowd, and extensive beer list make this a great choice whether its Oktoberfest or not. On tap, they serve beers by Gateway Brewing Co, Great State Al,e and some local and international names. If you’re adventurous, keep an eye out for their beer infusion nights where they bring out the Randall for some extra fun with the brews.

Woodside Inn, Shop No. 11 & 12, Link Plaza Commercial Complex, Bhau Tatoba Toraskar Marg, Mhada Colony, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 102. Phone: 022 2632 8963. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 200

Brewbot Eatery & Pub Brewery

Brewbot

We don’t know if bots actually brew the beer, but if they are, they’re doing a great job.  The pub imports all the ingredients from beer capitals like Germany, Belgium, and Australasia, and the beer on offer includes pints of German Kolsch, a French-style Apple Cider, a crowd-pleasing Hefeweizen, and a full-bodied British-style stout. Put that down on a table in a fun space that has natural light by day and plays with Edison lights at night and who wouldn’t say ‘ja’ to that?

Brewbot Eatery & Pub Brewery, G-01 & 101, Off New Link Rd, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 93260 72768. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 175

The Finch

Their tagline is ‘Rhythm and Brews’, and The Finch has been on every music lovers radar since they opened. Live music performances by performers – fresh, familiar, and sometimes famous – have always drawn the crowds in, but the latest draw is a microbrewery that’s been on the cards right from the start. Their craft beer menu includes a Belgian Wit, an Indian Pale Ale, a Nitro Stout, a Cider, and a Hefeweizen.

The Finch, Shah Industrial Estate, Opposite to Huntsman Building, Saki Vihar Road, Andheri (e), Mumbai 400 072. Phone: 080559 92993. A pint of beer: Starting Rs. 355

Independence Brewing Company (IBC)

Independence Brewing Co

On a more serious note, the beers on offer at IBC are seriously good. One of the country’s first craft beer companies, the Pune brewery came to Mumbai at the behest of city fans who sampled their beers and wanted more. It was initially available only in a couple of neighbourhood bars, and this is their first stand-alone taproom. Expert advice: one trip won’t be enough, as they have an elaborate selection that’s worth exploring. Start off with an easy going Belgian Wit, move on to a Pilsner, get a little heady with the Four Grain Saison, and call it a night with the creamy nitro stout Ixcacao.

Independence Brewing Company, 41, Citi Mall B, 001 & 101, Link Rd, Veera Desai Industrial Estate, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 022 2639 9065. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 175

The Stables

This equestrian-themed pub promises to add a little glam to the life of office goers in Andheri East with its luxe interiors and free popcorn. They don’t horse around with the beer menu either. An elaborate list of craft beers from the city are available here in 330ml to a 3-litre serving option, and they’re opening an in-house beer garden very soon too.

The Stables, The Peninsula Redpine, Near Airport Road Metro Station, Andheri (e), Marol Mumbai 400 069. Phone: 9820647072 Drinks for two: Starting Rs. 300

Doolally Taproom

Doolally- Belgian Witbier - India Pale Ale IPA- Pic Credit Kavita Narwani

Doolally, Pune’s first microbrewery, had become the Mumbaikar’s weekend pilgrimage, so news of them opening outposts in Mumbai was greeted with great cheer. On their opening night, the taps ran dry. Today, there’s a Doolally in pretty much every neighbourhood.  The brightly lit décor, comfort food, and good selection of board games cater to a troop of happy regulars. We recommend sampling  their Weitber, Pale Ale, or Oatmeal stout to begin.

Doolally, C18-21 Dalia Industrial Estate Near, Fun Republic Road, Off New Link Road, Veera Desai Industrial Estate, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 074001 71674. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 300

Sammy Sosa

When Sammy Sosa opened in 2008, a big draw was their beer menu that featured 45 international beers. This Mexican restaurant remains popular with families, and it’s bright, cheery, and a great place to clink glasses across generations. Their beer list will have something for everyone. There’s a tequila-flavoured Mexican beer Amigo, an intense one called Shepherds Neame, and the Leffe Fruitesse that is a hit with non-beer drinkers.

Sammy Sosa, Meera Tower, Shop No 18, Link Rd, Oshiwara, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone:  098336 66555 A pint of beer: starting Rs. 175

Barrel & Co

Barrel and co

Barrel & Co is only a year or so old and a little different from the rest. Launched by a bevy of Bollywood stars, it’s known for its happening parties and an aura of glitz. If you want a change from your usual, this is the place. Their in-house brewery offers a medium bodied Bavarian brew. They also have a selection of beer cocktails where mixologists use house beers and get adventurous with their recipes.

Barrel & Co, 2, Link Rd, Industrial Area, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 047. Phone: 098838 34567. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 250

Feature photograph copyright puhhha – stock.adobe.com. All other photographs courtesy the restaurants.

 

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Operation Beach Cleanup And The Aftermath Of Visarjan

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OPERATION BEACH CLEANUP AND THE AFTERMATH OF VISARJAN

Each year, thousands of Ganesha idols are immersed into the sea on visarjan days with pomp and ceremony. But these idols often don’t dissolve and, instead, add to pollution in the waters and the beach.

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The elephantine gentleman waded into the waters off Versova Beach, bobbed once, twice, thrice, and lo! – Ganesha vanished from the wooden platform in his hands, immersed in the sea. From the shore, his wife raised an arm in farewell with tears in her eyes. She gazed at a distant point where the waves must have carried Ganesha, who took the obstacles in her family’s lives away with Him.

The next family to brave the surf for visarjan encountered an obstacle, tripped over it, and found themselves submerged in the Arabian Sea along with their Ganesha. The first idol was precisely where it had been deposited, intact, and covered with just two shallow feet of brine.

We bring home a God, lavish love upon Him for a few days, and then – with great pomp and ceremony – dump Him in the sea.

A chatter of urchins splashed through the tide, retrieving those Plaster of Paris idols and lining them up on the sands. When I took a photo, a local busybody asked me to delete it; apparently, the artificially created idols – which were supposed to dissolve, representing the cycle of life – are holy, but Nature – whose cycles they disrupt – is not.

A limbless Ganesha, embedded in mud, buffeted by waves, watched the sunset, wondering about His fate.

versova beach cleanup visarjan

When I walk onto Versova Beach 12 hours later, there are more stranded Ganeshas than people. Strangers to one another, we wiggle our fingers into disposable gloves with an elastic snap and stride wordlessly to the Juhu end of the seashore. Over the course of one morning, we aim to make Swachh this little stretch of Bharat.

Every open space is a magnet for trash, but we have no trash magnet that can instantaneously attract and collect the thousands of things strewn across the beach. Bend, grasp, proceed; we repeat this routine ad infinitum. The volunteer nearest to me catches my eye and jerks his head at a marooned Ganesha. I nod, and in unison we inhale, heave up the idol, crab-walk to where others are amassed, set it down, and exhale. My gloves are torn already. As we move on to the next section of sand, a teenager refuses to abandon his still-filthy patch: “Yeh adda mera hai.

It doesn’t matter if the theme of your Ganpati was environmentalism and global warming; undissolved, it still ended up in the back of a pickup truck whose rutted tracks crisscross Versova Beach as it evacuates regiments of Ganeshas. Arms, legs, crowns: sea levels haven’t risen enough to claim them.

versova beach cleanup visarjan

The sea is at war with itself. Relentlessly disgorging more garbage on the shore, it also swallows some of it before we can transfer it to a tub of trash. Initially, my garbage route is determined by whichever stray scrap I first clap eyes on. Looking around, I realise that my zigs and zags have skirted a lot of litter; staking out a plot of sand using parts of idols as limit-stones, I focus on clearing one plot at a time.

I decide to specialise in plastics. Tugging at a plastic bag filled with mud and embedded in even more mud, I tug and tug until it rips apart in my hands and I fall flat my arse. From behind me, I hear the roar of a monster vehicle; the driver of a garbage excavator has slowed down so that I may deposit my fistfuls of detritus in its claw. Unexpected kindness.

Our toil is witnessed by two little girls and one little boy squatting on the beach. They’re quite finished but are too captivated by this growing squad of garbage enthusiasts to pull their pants back on. Pooping on the beach is a clichéd sight, but who are these people who brush their teeth by the sea? I hope the tooth fairy goes rogue and leaves cavities under the enamel of everyone who discarded tubes of toothpaste here. If you’re interested in some free market research, I can report that the most preferred brand of packaged milk consumed by those living along Versova beach is Mahananda.

versova beach cleanup visarjan

We chase the tide, bend, straighten up, and walk back to the collection tubs, squinting at the rising sun. My T-shirt is splattered with I-know-not-what and has ridden up to expose my waist, guaranteeing a tanned belt-line. I ask a young boy to take my specs off for me so I can mop my sweat with my shoulder. This Operation Clean-up successfully transfers several grains of sand from my sleeve to my face, transforming me into a human cutlet. My hips and knees are issuing appeals to the Joint Committee for Joints, and I have managed to strain my rear to such an extent that the only way I will be able to get out of bed tomorrow is to fall out of it. There’s so much left to clean; how will we finish?

Two to an overfull tub of garbage, we carry our pickings to a garbage truck. We tip it over the back, and a sudden gust blows some of it in my face. The sickly-sweet smell of garbage usually makes me retch, but today – and perhaps, after today – I am immune. A young woman in cut-off denims and aviators is in the back of the truck, hefting in the tubs, hemming herself in with garbage. I think I fell a little bit in love.

I spent two hours by the sea without ever really looking at it. Did we transform Versova Beach to Varca? No. But perhaps the amount of trash we did recover from the sea will ensure that it regurgitates a little less rubbish at Worli Sea Face and Marine Drive. Maybe our extra efforts to pick up those tiny packets of paan will prevent the deaths of a few forms of marine life. And I can only hope that next year, the God of Wisdom will help His devotees see the dearth of wisdom in how they worship Him.

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

Pudhchya varshi buddhi dya.

 
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Relish The Real Taste Of Vidarbha At Minks In Marol

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RELISH THE REAL TASTE OF VIDARBHA AT MINKS IN MAROL

Minks is a restaurant in Andheri East that serves Saoji cuisine, which is known to be fiery and meat-heavy. Saoji cuisine comes from the Halba Koshti community that is native to the Vidarbha region, and authentic Saoji food is difficult to find in Mumbai.
Minks, The Nagpur Saoji Treat, 4, Monarch Chambers, Marol Maroshi Road, Andheri (e), Mumbai 400 059. Phone: 098216 86623/ 022 2920 4303

READ KASTURI GADGE’S STORY

People from Nagpur rave about their local Saoji cuisine – fiery and heavy on meat. Unfortunately, in Mumbai, the only Maharashtrian food that Nagpuris have to rely on is the popular rendition on “spicy” Kolhapuri curries and, if you’re lucky, maybe some Agri mutton.
After years of searching for Saoji food in Mumbai, I finally found one restaurant that serves it – Minks in Andheri East. I wanted to try the food as soon as I heard about it, but it was nearing midnight, and the restaurant was about to close. I called anyway. Five minutes in I convinced the restaurant owner to send a parcel home, and half an hour later he dropped off the food himself!
Saoji cuisine comes from the Halba Koshti community that is native to the Vidarbha region. The food gets its distinct taste thanks to the spice mix used to make the curries. Each family has their own spice mix recipe, making the food taste different at each house. This fiercely guarded recipe uses more than 24 spices along with the basic garam masala and red chilli powder. One thing that’s common: to keep the acid content under control, they boil their spices instead of dry roasting before grinding them.
Minks, thankfully, does justice to the food. Located opposite the military café at Marol, this tiny eatery can accommodate just about 15 people at a time. The décor is simple, and you might find it cramped to eat in. To really enjoy the food, parcel it and eat it at home with air-conditioning handy, because this is not for the weak-hearted.

While Saoji cuisine is heavy on meat, the vegetarian options aren’t lacking in flavour.

The brief menu features traditional fare only. Meat eaters can start off with a dry starter [my favourite is mutton and khur (paya)], which pairs well with fried garlic that is said to enhance the heat. Minks serves its curries in single-portion plates. Order a crispy chapatti with your Mutton Saoji plate – crush the chapatti, pour the curry over it, and top it off with onion and fried garlic. Be warned: the food looks extremely oily, but that is exactly how it is supposed to be.
While Saoji cuisine is heavy on meat, the vegetarian options aren’t lacking in flavour. A must-try dish is Patodi curry, which subsitutes besan cakes for the meat while using similar masalas. The vegetarian menu, in fact, consists of things we Nagpuris eat at home, such as a simple Daal Kanda, Tamatar Chutney et al. Every Vidarbhi wedding will have the Eggplant Curry that is on the menu at Minks as well.
The food is slow-cooked, allowing the meat enough time to absorb the flavours and enhance the taste. Minks makes its food in limited quantities to ensure the taste is uniform with everything they serve, so make sure you order well before they run out of food.
Feature photograph copyright Arundhati – stock.adobe.com 

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Time To Give Coffee O’Clock A Chance

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TIME TO GIVE COFFEE O’CLOCK A CHANCE

Coffee O’Clock is a café on Veera Desai Road, Andheri that serves a mean hazelnut cappuccino. Don’t be surprised if you find it empty; the neighbourhood residents are still getting used to its presence.

Coffee O’Clock, Shop No. 2, Nirmal LTD, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 098208 31321

READ MRIGANK WARRIER’S STORY

For weeks after it materialised out of the ether, you could read the thoughts of locals passing by. We didn’t quite know what to make of Coffee O’Clock, yet there it appeared every time we looked, sandwiched like 12 Grimmauld Place between a Montessori school and my Wi-Fi guy. Like all sensible non-Muggles, we were wary of its nefariously tasteful interiors, so we – retirees hobbling to the park, Women of the House returning with plastic cloth bags full of vegetables, a befuddled istriwallah cycling by – stopped and stared.

Not too long ago, our little part of Veera Desai Road was a peaceful cluster of old, grey two- and three-storey buildings; the one now under construction is 21 storeys high. When a Domino’s snuck in and set up camp overnight, we knew Raju had started to become a gentleman. When a Café Coffee Day infiltrated our homeland and the traitors amongst us were caught trading cutting chai for a lukewarm cup of air-conditioning, we realised who put the gentry in our gentrification.  But when Coffee O’Clock’s mug besmirched our fair vista, we clenched our fists and had coffee at home like we were meant to. Sometimes, I wondered if it wouldn’t be nice to break the tedium of my daily filter coffee with something new. Coffee O’Clock is literally a stone’s throw away; naturally, I never went.

My uncle, who lives in the next building, asked me if I’d “managed to go to Coffee O’Clock” with an expression that suggested a visit to a bordello. His son, who had managed, admitted to his indiscretion in a tone that implied said bordello was located on some distant, insurmountable peak. “The owner is a Malayalee,” supplied another uncle, apropos of nothing.

The multitudes that queue up to admire our local Ganpati pandal gazed at the café like an art installation that made no sense. The small throng of garba revellers who bumble around our single bedsheet of a community ground peered at the occasional patron – obviously from a foreign pin code – as they would at someone who showed up dressed in the wrong colour for that particular raatri. Late one night, the sight of its warmly lit space made the itinerant kulfiwallah forget to harangue me with his saab-aaj-kuch-nahin-bika spiel; together, we contemplated Coffee O’Clock’s pool table (70 rupees per frame), which appeared to be the only table occupied by customers. “Saab, yahaan koi aata bhi hai kya?”

And why would they? It is situated two buildings away from the main road. There are no signs. Or nearby offices with suits who attend business meetings. Or colleges apart from a maritime training institute that busses its students in and out, so no coffee for them.

We didn’t quite know what to make of Coffee O’Clock, yet there it appeared every time we looked.

I began to worry for the coffee-shop I wouldn’t dream of entering.

And then, one day, a friend came home on short notice and I was out of coffee decoction (Gasp!), so I crossed over to the dark side – paying for coffee.

Coffee O’Clock wants you to know that it loves motorcycles; it reiterates this everywhere you look: biking magazines and keychains, a diminutive model of a racing bike, a wheel-shaped chandelier with bulbs instead of spokes, and a discomfiting sign that just says: “Coffee + Gasoline”. Here, PMS apparently stands for Parked Motorcycle Syndrome (don’t miss the Royal Enfield usually stationed out front), and a poster asserts, “Some do drugs, some pop bottles, we solve our problems with wide open throttles”. The men’s and women’s loos are identified by pictures of a motorcycle and a scooter, which isn’t sexist at all.

But on the wall behind the counter are black-and-white portraits of an elderly couple. I spot a small, well-tended altar. And I’m relieved by the absence of the usual coffee-shop din and the aroma of coffee designed to make you want to hand over your wallet to the barista and ask him to keep you topped up all day.

At 5.30 p.m. on a Friday evening, no one else is here. A young boy and a younger girl walk in, then go behind the counter; they are the baristas. We are all dressed in our home best. The girl takes my order, while the guy glares at me with suspicion as I write this. The girl sets down my hazelnut cappuccino (very good) and cookies (also good), says “sorry for heart” and grins; the floating foam heart in my coffee looks like a flat, pouting fish or a very large clove of garlic, depending upon which way you look.

I’m starting to like my coffee-shop. Umm, it’s not my coffee-shop, but I’d miss it if it were gone.

 

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Your Guide To Food And Drink For A Mumbai Summer

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FOOD AND DRINK FOR A MUMBAI SUMMER

Across the city, the rising mercury has people turning to their kitchens to fire up dishes that help combat the high heat and humidity. The focus is on food that is healthy, tasty, and helps cool you down. Mangoes find mention in many recipes, enjoyed both raw and ripe and added to curries or drinks. Some drinks cool down the system and provide comfort on a hot day.

We speak to people from different communities for their favourite seasonal summer treats.

READ JOANNA LOBO’S STORY

Kokum Sherbet

In author Tara Deshpande Tennebaum’s childhood home in Belgaum, kokum sherbet was an important summer tradition. “In Saraswat cooking,” she says, “kokum is used in a lot of dishes – fish curries, amti, solachi kadhi – and it is a staple in the Konkani kitchen.” The kokum sherbet is made by boiling dried kokum with water and adding sugar till the liquid gains a syrupy texture. Powdered cumin and black rock salt can be added for variety.

“My grandmother made bottles of this,” says Tara, “and my sister and I, accompanied by our dog, would hop from house to house in Belgaum gifting them to her friends. In return, they gave us their homemade summer specialities like Coorgi bitter orange (kaipuli) squash, sour mango pickle, or Goan dried seafood pickle.”

Try kokum sherbet: Aaswad, 61, Sadanand, Opp. Amar Hind Mandal, Gokhale Road, Opposite Chandrika Automobiles, Dadar (w), Mumbai 400 028, or Prakash Shakahari Uphar Kendra, 9/10, Horizon Building, Gokhale Road North, Dadar (w), Mumbai 400 028
Where to buy kokum: Parlekar Masalas Supermarket, Shop 15/16, Vanmalidas Compound, 53-a, Tejpal Road, Vile Parle (e), Mumbai 400 057 or from Delight Foods.

Tok Dal

“This typical Bengali dish is a sweet and tangy thin masoor dal made with green mango,” says home chef Madhumita Pyne. This dal is eaten with rice and fried vegetables like alu bhaja during the summer because it cools down the body.

The dal can be made with yellow split peas too. The key to making it is choosing the right mango – raw, not super sweet, and green in colour. “You want the tanginess of the mango to shine,” says Madhumita, “and it needs to hold its shape after cooking. I’ve always liked the taste of green mango. If there was no tok dal on the table, I would mix green mango chutney with plan dal to get that tangy flavour.”

Where to eat/buy: Bijoli Grill, Hakone Bumpers & Rides, Opp Nirvana Park, Hirandandani Powai, Mumbai 400 076 and Just Bengal, Divyam Heights, Gilbert Hill Road, Gaondevi Dongri, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 047 

Tok Dal

Bilimbi juice

The Pathare Prabhu community uses bilimbi (or bilimba) in many dishes including sheer, chutney, jam, or juice. Bilimbi, also called cucumber tree or tree sorrel, is a pickle-shaped fruit known for its astringency and short shelf-life.

“The Pathare Prabhus were early settlers and used to live in bungalows across Bombay,” says Sunetra Sil Vijaykar, a culinary expert who runs a pop-up kitchen called Dine With Vijaykars in Jogeshwari. “They would grow fruit like amla, nimbu, bilimba, mango and make sherbets out of them. In time, these juices became part of the tradition.”

Bilimbi juice is tangy and refreshing. To make the juice, Vijaykar suggests boiling the bilimbi in water with jaggery and a little salt. Transfer this to a mixer and blend until it becomes a pulp; sieve and the concentrate is ready. “It is rare to find a bilimbi tree in Mumbai,” she says, “but for bulk orders, we go to a veggie market on Mira Road.”

Where to buy: Mira Road vegetable market
Where to find bilimbi juice: Dine With Vijaykars pop-up meals at their Jogeshwari home sometimes offer bilimbi sherbet or chutney.

Kuhireen Khichdi

The lunch table at a Sindhi home in summer is usually laden with bhugha chaanwran (rice cooked with caramelised onions), taryal patata (shallow fried potatoes spiced with chilli powder, coriander and turmeric), and mango. In food blogger Alka Keswani’s home, another much-loved summer dish is patri khichdeen (diluted/loose khichdi).

“Sindhi khichdi is simple,” says Alka. “You add green cardamom and black peppercorns to ghee, then soaked rice, salt, turmeric, and water and cook this till soft. It is then mashed with a wooden whisker and consistency is adjusted to semi-solid.”

Khichdi is chosen because it is easy to digest and not heavy on spices. This is eaten with a simple turi (smooth gourd) subzi, karela basar (bitter gourds with onions), singhi tamate mein (drumsticks in tomato gravy), and kaat (salted sundried karela peels that are flash fried).

Kuhireen khichdi is easy to make. Keswani’s blog has more details.

Ambe Poli

“[Ambe poli] is very popular in my family,” says Nandita Godbole, a cookbook and fiction author from Mumbai now living in Atlanta. “I can trace it back to a mention made by my great-grandfather in his book, about travelling with it from Konkan to Alibaug at the turn of the century. We [the Konkanasth Brahmin community] make a version of it each year.”

Ambe Poli is a sweet and tart sun-dried mango leather made with mango pulp and spices. It is made in the summer to take advantage of the summer heat, since it is dried outdoors or in the sun. Nandita’s family makes it a few different ways – some with a pinch of soonth, others with red chilli powder, one with cardamom, another with kesar and another, more recent version with dried fruits. The ones with added flavours, especially with dried fruits, are more decadent. The kesar one is Nandita’s favourite.

“These are eaten during summer and often just as the monsoons start,” she says, “made using the ripe mangoes. This is the time when body defences are weak. Dried ginger and saffron are warming; a pinch of dried ginger is good for digestion and makes the fruit leather spicy. It is good for an after-meal snack.”

Where to eat/buy: Ladoo Samrat, Shop No.: 1-2, Habib Terrace, Lalbaug, Dr Ambedkar Road, Parel, Mumbai 400 012 or Ramanlal Vithaldas & Co outlets

Panna Pakodi

“My chachi’s summer treat was panna pakodi,” says columnist and curator Anoothi Vishal. “We would eat this with arhar ki dal cooked with raw mango, parwal alu, and aamchur. It was a comforting summer dish.” Panna pakodi is essentially a side dish consisting of moong dal pakodas served in an aam panna (yes, the drink).

“You make the panna the same way as you would otherwise,” she says, “except it isn’t diluted as much, and then add in crispy pakodi. You get a thin soup-like dish, which can be mixed with rice and eaten.”

In Kayasth homes, the aam panna is made by using very raw and tender mangoes and flavoured with cumin, black salt, and mint.

Where to eat: You can dive into aam panna at Revival Restaurant, 39-B, Chowpatty Seaface, Chowpatty, Girgaum, Mumbai 400 007; Punjab Grill outlets, or 29 – Twenty Nine Address: 11, Padma Nagar, Main Link Road, Near Vijaya Bank, Link Road, Malad (w), Mumbai 400 064. It isn’t panna pakodi but a close cousin – and one you won’t regret eating.

 

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Your Guide To Buying Comic Books In Mumbai

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YOUR GUIDE TO BUYING COMIC BOOKS IN MUMBAI

WORDS BY MEHER MIRZA

Most people seem to assume that, as a writer with two MAs in English Studies, I ring out my days with the works of Foucault, Genet, Pynchon, and such. For the most part, they would be right. But smuggled into my edifying literary library lies a filthy secret—a slab of beloved comic books, powder-fine from age.

Comics, I suspect, are still seen by people as being not quite the thing, old chap. To these people I say, “Go away”. Go away, and take your barren, strait-laced pleasures with you. There is a time for Jane Eyre and a time for Hawkgirl: comics are far too pleasurable to be sullied by the vapidity of a bunch of sanctimonious puritans. For many of us, Phantom, Mandrake, and Flash Gordon are the plinth on which our library of reading is raised. Which is why, every so often, you may catch me stapled to the comics section in your friendly, neighbourhood bookstore, dribbling over Art Spiegelman, surrounded by shambolic piles of Justice League Dark and Mister Miracle comics—in short, happy. Here is a smattering of stores that I frequent to get my fix of favourites.

Granth

Upstairs at Granth, cocooned from the bedlam of car horns on Juhu Tara Road, is a small sanctuary for superheroes. If you pan its shelves for glimmers of comic gold, you’ll find plenty of Watchmen, the luminous Mandela: The Graphic Novel, a watermelon-hefty Drawn & Quarterly anthology, and Black Hole (Charles Burns’s graphic novel about teen angst generously leavened with horror) together with a hank of DC, Vertigo, Dark Horse, and Marvel collections.

Granth, 30/A, HM House, Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai 400 049. Phone: 022 2660 9327

VL Nayak

What VL Nayak lacks in square footage it makes up for in density of choice. As a child, I teetered and tottered through the tiny shop, pillaging the shelves like a bandit, carting away heaps of MAD magazines, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha, and (as a tremendous treat), DC and Marvel singles. It is a river I continue to drink from—it still stacks a whole coterie of pulp writing.

VL Nayak, Plot No. 8126, Surajpati Bhavan, 1st Road, Opp. Rly Station, Khar (w), Mumbai 400 052. Phone: 022 2648 4082

Title Waves

Over at Title Waves in Bandra, you’ll find a sort of Top 20 hits of the comic world; nothing terribly esoteric, no Cable or Birds of Prey, just the usual Marvel and DC titles, Neil Gaiman, Peanuts, and Tintin. Title Waves also ventures into collectables territory, with a small shrine to memorabilia such as t-shirts, figurines, mugs, and other baubles.

Title Waves, St Pauls Media Complex, 24th Road, Off Turner Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2651 0841

Trilogy

Raghuvanshi Mills’ Trilogy store is scalpelled into two sections—the library and the bookstore. The collection at the store reads like a roster of high art comics, all beautifully rendered but haphazardly stacked. What can you buy here? Shigeru Mizuki’s bizarre, protean manga, Showa: A History Of Japan. Joe Sacco’s Journalism, a ferocious comic that scrapes at the wounds of the world’s worst war zones. And among many others, the extraordinary graphic novel based on Martin Luther King’s life, I See the Promised Land, written by Arthur Flowers and illustrated by a Patua scroll artist, Manu Chitrakar.

Trilogy, 1st floor, Building No. 28, Above Mercedes Service Center, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (w), Mumbai 400 013. Phone: 080805 90590

Crossword

Once a fine bookshop chain of some stature, Crossword has now mutated into a sort of portmanteau of DVD toy/book store—a Frankenstore if you will. Still, it does venture briefly into the comic realm; a small collection (mostly DC’s Justice League) reposes on its shelves, an excellent gateway to those who came to the comics via their live-action movie versions.

Crossword Bookstores across the city.

Leaping Windows

It would be folly to leave out Leaping Windows, a space reverential of comics, packed with perfectly organised pages and pages of Neil Gaiman, plenty from the DC and Marvel multiverses, as well as the ubiquitous Tintin, Calvin & Hobbes and Asterix. All this, and a cheery café to boot.

Leaping Windows, 3 Corner View, Dr. Ashok Chopra Marg, Off Yari Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 061. Phone: 097699 98972

*Special mention: Kitab Khana, which has shelves heaving with Amar Chitra Katha, Asterix and Tintin, a collection hidebound by nostalgia.
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Ghosthunters-Guide-band

The Ghosthunters’ Guide To Paranormal Mumbai

SPACE EXPERIENCE PEOPLE FOOD + DRINK VIDEO

THE GHOSTHUNTERS’ GUIDE TO PARANORMAL MUMBAI

WORDS BY JOANNA LOBO

In India, there is a small crew of people that go out at night, armed with EMF sensors or detectors, EVP recorders, motion sensor cameras, and touch sensors, to explore myths about the paranormal. Yes, you can call them desi ghosthunters.

One such team is The Parapsychology and Investigations Research Society (PAIRS), group of paranormal investigators and researchers, parapsychologists, demonologists, spiritual healers, and counsellors. Their modus operandi includes heading to “active spots” armed with equipment to try to record and, later, analyse these abnormal energies.

“Before we go to a location,” says demonologist Sarbajeet Mohanty, “we try to get a recent picture of the location so that psychic mediums can give a reading of what to expect or find at the locations, which provides a roadmap for the investigators.” Mohanty founded PAIRs with psychic developer Pooja Vijay.

Disclaimer: PAIRS and The City Story highly recommend you do not venture into these places without proper knowledge. All PAIRS investigators have been researching this field since the past 6 to 10 years and are certified. Enter at your own risk.

Amar Dham Crematorium, Panvel

Cemeteries and crematoriums are apparently common hunting grounds for ghosts – location certainly does matter. This particular burial ground has spooked many a passer-by. One story goes that a woman crossing the street outside at night suddenly got goose bumps, and at that very moment the nearby lights went off, including those on her scooter. Others have spoken about seeing apparitions and moving shadows and hold them responsible for the accidents that happen in the area.

During their investigations, the PAIRS psychic team found that the location had multiple spirits, as recorded through changes on the temperature sensor and EMF sensor.

Amar Dham Crematorium, HOC Colony, Panvel, Navi Mumbai 410 206.

Mumbai Pune Highway

The story goes that PAIRS member Jignesh Unadkat was riding his motorcycle on the highway, near Bhingari, Old Panvel, when a wayward car forced him to the side of the road. It was then that he realised there was someone standing in front of him, and he veered off the road to avoid hitting the person. His bike was damaged, but he survived. When he went to look for the person, he realised there was no one there.

A few days later, Jignesh, along with Mohanty, returned to the spot to investigate this strange phenomenon, armed with a PAIRS Spirit Box app (developed by Brian Holloway of Soul Seekers, Javier Sanz of  Spain Paranormal). “Jignesh got two replies to questions,” says Mohanty. “One was, ‘Do you recognize me…my bike overturned here some days back’ to which he got a ‘yes’. The other was ‘How did you die?’ to which he got a one-word reply, ‘accident’.”

While this may be a “real” story, there are many legends associated with the place. Another story has a well-dressed lady asking for a lift. Those that don’t stop are treated to a vision of the women running alongside their vehicle, with an evil smile, saying, “You’re next”. Many crashes have been attributed to it. Mohanty says there is also a ‘fake road appearing out of nowhere, which if taken leads to death’.

Vasai Fort

Vasai Fort, or Bassein Fort, is a sprawling structure built by the Portuguese that overlooks the Arabian Sea. The fort has been under the control of the Portuguese, the British, and the Marathas and has been silent witness to many deaths. It is one of the many places in the city that locals truly believe is haunted – though that didn’t stop Coldplay from shooting their video there.

Shishir Kumar, former journalist and founder-president of paranormal research organisation Team Pentacle, and his team conducted an investigation at Vasai Fort. Initially, they didn’t think it was haunted because it still had many people living in the vicinity. “The first time,” says Kumar, “everything went smoothly and none machines worked. Then I used this trick where I asked the spirits to clap as I clap, and that started happening.”

Mohanty adds that their psychic readings reveal a woman who was murdered and whose body was dumped near the well in the fort. Village lore says a lady, assumed to be a witch, committed suicide in that same well, but her body was never found.

Vasai Fort, Killa Road, Police Colony, Vasai (w), Vasai 401201

Mukesh Mills

Mukesh Mills was built in 1870s by the East India Company and was shut down in 1892 after a strike. Soon after, a fire broke out, killing thousands of people. This dark history is possibly what led to it being considered haunted. The mill is a popular shooting location, and there are many stories of how no one, not even film crew, venture there after dark. In fact actor Bipasha Basu has claimed she was unable to speak her dialogues in one room because of some strange power.

PAIRS’ investigations and psychic readings reveal that the location has “some evil and negative spirits from its dark and painful history”. “Such psychic readings are a warning for us not to venture in there,” says Mohanty, “especially if you’re a beginner.”

Mukesh Mills, Narayan A Sawant Road, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005

St John Baptist Church

This Portuguese Jesuit Church was abandoned in the 1800s after an epidemic. Although no one visits the place any more, a Mass is conducted once a year. The claim is that the church is haunted by the evil spirit of a bride who scares anyone who enters the place.

In 1977, an exorcism was conducted there, and everyone present suddenly heard a loud moaning sound and maniacal laughter. It was believed that the exorcism destroyed the spirit.

In 2016, a PAIRS team visited the space to check if it was an “active” location. “We were about to enter,” says Mohanty, “when Pooja told us that a woman was watching us from the wall nearby. When inside, we heard footsteps running away from the place. Later, one of the team members told us that while he was texting, out of the corner of his eye he saw an apparition near him. All this happened in broad daylight.” Mohanty intends to return to do proper investigation.

St John Baptist Church, Seepz Road D, Andheri (e), Mumbai 400 096

Feature photograph copyright – mimadeo

 

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Andheri-Guide-band

12 Hours In And Around Andheri West

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andheri shruti seth

12 HOURS IN AND AROUND ANDHERI WEST

WORDS BY MRIGANK WARRIER

If you ever spend half a day in Andheri West, you might need therapy. If you choose to spend half your day here, you most certainly will.
Versova is not Andheri West. Neither is Four Bungalows, nor is Seven. Juhu is beyond its borders. And Lokhandwala is practically its own principality. The Andheri West I knew was a laidback, mostly residential neighbourhood that an outsider zoomed through to reach snazzier locales. Then, years ago, it was paralysed by the Real Estate Virus; today, its middle-class residents are horrified by the glut of man and machine on its once sufficiently-wide roads, and Andheri West doesn’t know what to do with itself.
For better or worse, this has been my home for 15 years, and I have found – amidst the incessant gridlocks, cookie-cutter apartment towers, and token footpaths colonised by two rows of hawkers – a few redeeming features that root me to my gaon. If ye possess fortitude, a sense of humour, and feet that itch to be run over by demented bikes, read on.

9:30 a.m.

Option A – Merwans Cake Shop

Throughout my parents’ childhood and mine, Merwans was the Willy Wonka of bakes and confectionery. On most mornings, its savouries counter resembles a raucous action house, where students and office-goers clamber over each other to grab a smorgasbord of puffs stuffed with the most delightful fillings, and rolls with buns so soft, you can almost see them go googly-woogly-woosh. Merwans offers a diverse, delicious (all hail the Kabuli chicken!), and ridiculously affordable breakfast.
If you happen to find yourself in its vicinity later in the day at around noon, dash in to claim the legendary mawa cakes; they disappear from shelves before you can say khoya (whattepun, whattefun!). The cashier says they’re sold out by 2 p.m. It’s a pity they’ve stopped making their signature rum balls, but you can always console yourself with a loaf of sliced plum cake embedded with fruit chunks marinated in something strong and spirited.
Merwans Cake Shop, 9/12/13, S. V. Road, Next to Indian Bank, Madhav Nagar, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 022 2624 8157. Closed on Thursdays.
andheri guide

Option B – Hotel Radha Krishna

Andheri’s last surviving Irani succumbed to McDonald’s, but Radha Krishna – or RK, as locals call it – is alive and cooking. What started as an Udupi joint now has something called risotto pomobhara on the menu (no, I haven’t a clue) but RK’s idlis, vadas, dosas,  and uttapams remain finger lickin’ good, unlike a KFC opposite that came, saw, gave up and shut down. Drop in on a Sunday morning to see families wolfing down their Sunday breakfast, a tradition passed down generations.
Hotel Radha Krishna, No. 50, S.V. Road, Opp. Shopper’s Stop, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 022 2628 0197

 11:30 a.m.

Option A – Amboli Village

Yes, a village, in Andheri West, complete with a Cold Storage and Village Beer Shop. Umbilically connected to St. Blaise Church and fanning out behind it, Amboli gaothan has been living and loving for centuries before the first skyscraper. Slip away from deafening Caesar Road (look out for the stateliness of Victoria Cottage) and into the quietude of sun-dappled lanes lined by quaint houses with names like Richard’s Pride and Myrtle’s Dream. Keep one eye roving for a banana grove, endure the fierce glares of Christian dowagers in frocks and middies (and the most beautiful dresses for Sunday Mass). And if you cock a ear, you can eavesdrop on a corner store conversation conducted in pure Konkani.
St. Blaise Church, Amboli, Caesar Road, Andheri (w), Amboli, Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 022 2679 2756

Option B – Andheri Sports Complex

Earn your lunch! Shahaji Raje Bhosle Kreeda Sankul is a BMC-run sports facility responsible for making those of us who live in the vicinity look slim and trim (or so we like to think). You don’t need to be a member or even pay a deposit; from Tuesday to Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., you can play badminton (Rs. 225), Squash (Rs. 150), Table Tennis (Rs. 90), Tennis (Rs. 240), and Pickleball (Rs. 300). Rates are per court/table per hour, excluding 18% GST. Bring your own sports gear.
Andheri Sports Complex, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053.
Andheri Guide_002

1:00 p.m.

Option A – Joey’s Pizza

There is a moment after you have single-mouthed-ly engulfed an entire keema do pyaaza pizza when your chin nuzzles your chest, eyelids melt into each other, and your sticky hand is too exhausted to rise up all the way up to your face and wipe the Joker-ish smear of Joey’s’ sauce that is accentuating your lips. This is the kind of place at which you can order by looking at the ceiling (there’s nothing there, the ambience is Spartan) and stabbing at the menu – whatever your finger lands on is the yummiest pizza in the suburbs. Joey’s makes it worth living in Andheri West. Almost.
Joey’s Pizza, Shop No. 6 & 7, Upvan Building, D.N.Nagar, Madhuban Colony, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 022 2630 4808
Andheri Guide_005

Option B – Harish Lunch Home

Cartographically, this is just over the border in Vile Parle, but since I lived nearby and ordered in often, I’ve claimed it for Andheri. Carnivores from far and wide congregate here for its superlative seafood with a South Indian twist, shorn of branding and brouhaha. What the meat-freaks may miss out on is the most comforting, nourishing, flavourful Dal Khichdi they will ever have. Just the right consistency, with a squeeze of lemon, a little pickle, and a mouthful of bliss. Were I to relaunch the Chicken Soup series in India, I’d title it Dal Khichdi For The Soul; the book jacket would sport a picture of Harish’s finest offering.
Harish Lunch Home, 115, S. V. Road, Irla, Vile Parle (w), Mumbai 400 056. Phone: 022 2671 5758

 3:00 p.m.

Option A – anywhere indoors

Let’s cut to the chase: it’s hot, you’re in a food coma and need to recuperate semi-horizontally, preferably with air-conditioning. So catch a late afternoon show at Fun Republic, where the cheapest seats are as luxurious as the Peacock Thrones in other multiplexes nearby. Or go watch a Bhojpuri film at Navrang with an all-male crowd. Pretend to shop at Susanne Khan’s Charcoal Project for furniture that costs almost as much as the Peacock Throne did. Or spend an hour-and-a-half trying on every last scrap of fabric in Fab India. I dunno, figure it out, men.
Fun Republic, Shah Industrial Estate, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053.
Navrang Cinema, Near Metro Bridge, JP Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 022 2628 6603
The Charcoal Project, Unit No. 1, D-Mall, Off Veera Desai Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 022 6193 6198
Fab India, Unit No. 2, DE Mall, New Chandra CHS LTD., Off Shah Industrial Estate, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 022 65517111
Andheri Guide_002

Option B – Go to a friend’s house and sleep

No, I’m not becoming shaana. If Andheri and you were to be connected on Facebook, your mutual friends would number in two, if not three digits. Everyone knows someone who lives here. Don’t be shy. Phone a friend, go over, and go to sleep.

4:30 p.m.

Option A – Ganeshji Iyengar Fast Food

Potted palms attempt to purdah this Bangalore Iyengar eatery/open-air café from a teeming road. Hope you encounter the genial manager instead of the grumpy one and order anything South Indian. They substitute white chutney for the tastier green one and throw in a tiny bowl-let of orange onion chutney. Feel free to ask for extra saambaar. Linger over your filter coffee, served in a tumbler and dabara.
If you find that you can’t drag your eyes away from a particularly handsome young specimen reading a novel as he savours his rava masala, come over and say hi.
Ganeshji Iyengar, Shop No. 3, Bharat Ark, Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 022 2673 0333
filter coffee

Option B – Ganesh Temple, Andheri Fire Brigade

It’s weird, perhaps even unfashionable, to recommend a place of worship, particularly if you, like me, are irreligious. But this unostentatious temple is an oasis – set back from the road, about the size of your kitchen, an idol less than a foot high, no priest, no loudspeakers, no queue, and often no people. Drop by to gawk at fire engines and uniformed firemen lounging and chatting with their families that live on the premises.
If you bump into a short, stout, friendly South Indian lady clad in white, don’t expect to be invited home for chaaya (tea). My grandmother is a very busy woman who has Malayalam serials to watch.
Andheri Fire Station, Near Bharat Petrol Pump, Swami Vivekanand Marg, Irla Bridge, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058.

6:00 p.m.

Option A – Gilbert Hill

Climb the stairs up this 200ft-high monolithic rock to get a 360-degree view of Andheri West. Altitude screens out traffic, noise, and pollution, creating a tranquil, windy perch that offers a bird’s-eye view of the ’burbs. Watch planes take off over the dirty grey sea and watch the sun set over it. Point and guess the locations of every place on this list you’ve visited. In the evening, this is the place to be, and just be.
Gilbert Hill, Sagar City, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 047.
gilbert-hill-mumbai

Option B – Kala Pradarshini Udyan

Unlike most public gardens, this one does not boast of a lawn. Hence, absent are littering families and screaming children. Instead, you’ll find scores of tall, wild trees looming over well-manicured shrubs, intersected by walking paths used by very few. Rest on a wooden bench that hugs the curve of your back and watch a hip-hop crew practising in the gazebo. Bump into a theatre actor rehearsing his lines, asking a peepul why she left him. If you are a musician or dancer, feel free to claim the open-air stage built around an old tree. No one will mind; some may pause to watch.
KP Udyan, near Versova police station, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058.

8:00 p.m.

Option A – Brewbot

Locally brewed craft beer. Delectable food. Live music and stand-up comedy. Pub, grub, and entertainment hub, Brewbot is curated perfection under one roof. French-kiss a Black Mamba (Chocolate oat cream stout), experience the quirkiness of a Botwork Orange (Belgian Wit). Brewbot takes its beers seriously – it describes the “mouthfeel” of each brew and suggests dishes that would pair well with them. And wine not? For too long, beer in Bombay has been an Outcider in the world of sophisticated spirits; a Draft Punk. Its time has come. Hic.
Brewbot, G-01 & 101, Morya Landmark 1, Off New Link Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 022 3969 8091

Option B – Roadhouse Bluez

If you’re sufficiently sozzled, head over to Roadhouse Bluez and be prepared to be blasted backwards by an off-key voice screaming the lyrics of “Another Brick In The Wall”. This karaoke bar takes its music seriously; there are no lulls, no friends pushing each other to take the mic, no I-give-up-I-can’t-sings. Its modest size precludes any conversation but helps bind the audience – singers and listeners alike – into one chummy scrum of music lovers. Sing us a song, you’re the piano man, sing us a song tonight, well we’re all in the mood for a melody, and you’ve got us feeling alright…
Roadhouse Bluez, Ground/1st Floor, Tokyo House, Next to Andheri Sports Complex, Azad Nagar, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 022 2673 0975
Andheri Guide_003

Option C – Cooperwala Bhurji

It’s raat ke dhaai baje and the shehnai bajaaoing in your head is the ethanol coursing through what’s left of your brain after 12 hours in Andheri West. Subdue the post-high hunger pangs with anda bhurji mopped up with laadis of pav, pav bhaji, omelettes, and a fiery biryani-pulao hybrid that will sterilise your gullet and commit arson in your stomach in the dead of night. The pavement is jammed with foodies, eggs are cracked, tawas sizzle, the crowd thins, the sun rises, and why in the world are you still in Andheri West?
Mohd Nasir Cooper Wala Pav Bhaji & Bhurji Centre, Mangal Jyot, CD Barfiwala Road, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 093247 06250
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Filter-Coffee-Guide-band

Your Guide To The Best Filter Coffee In Mumbai

SPACE EXPERIENCE PEOPLE FOOD + DRINK VIDEO filter coffee

YOUR GUIDE TO THE BEST FILTER COFFEE IN MUMBAI

WORDS BY THE CITY STORY TEAM

Who serves the best filter coffee in the city is a contentious issue. Wars have started for less. We understand how precious this drink is, so we reached out to several filter coffee lovers in the city and asked them for their favourite spots. More than just a selection of coffee houses, this is a compilation of varied tastes and love for that perfect cup of kaapi. Disclaimer: Cafes Madras and Mysore are not on the list for the simple reason that every self-respecting Bombayite knows about these famous establishments. And probably agrees that their filter coffee is excellent, just like the rest of their food.

Sharda Bhavan, Matunga

There are no queues at Sharda Bhavan, and that should be reason enough to like their coffee. Sharda Bhavan’s beauty also lies in the old-world charm and vibe that the owners have retained. It hasn’t been “manicured” for a younger or newer clientele, and it feels like it belongs in a different time altogether. Sharda Bhavan, Lakhamsi Napoo Road, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019. Phone: 022 2414 1271

Taj Mahal Tea House, Bandra

Despite its name, Taj Mahal Tea House does serve coffee – Indian filter coffee – and we’re not complaining. Their filter coffee is milky and not very strong. Before you turn your nose up at the brew, know that there might be quite a few milky coffee lovers who might appreciate this version of kaapi. Go easy on the sugar and you’re sure to get a good taste of the rich, flavourful coffee. Taj Mahal Tea House, 36/A, Sanatan Pereira Bungalow, St. John Baptist Road, General A.K.Vaidya Marg, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2642 0330

Ramashraya, Matunga

Ramashraya make their coffee strong but don’t hold back on the sugar. So if you want a potent mix of the two, this is the place for you. If you want to make a full meal out of your trip to Ramashraya then order their sheera, which is cloud-like soft and has a soufflé-esque structure. If you go during strawberry season, you’re in for a treat. They’re known to not use any artificial flavours or syrups either. Pair it with some sweet bun puri, and you have yourself a glorious breakfast. Ramashraya, 24, Shreeji Sadan Building, Bhandarkar Marg, Opposite Matunga Kabutar Khana, Matunga (e), Mumbai  400 019. Phone: 022 2410 2369 filter coffee

Dakshinayan, Walkeshwar

If you ever find yourself stuck in a jam near Teen baati, just leave your taxicab and walk to Dakshinayan. Easily the best filter coffee in all of South Mumbai. Not too milky, just the right amount of sugar and far away from the chaos of the traffic. Dakshinayan, Walkeshwar Road, Malabar Hill, Mumbai 400 006. Phone: 022 2367 6701

Indian Coffee House, SEEPZ

SEEPZ is rarely on the map for food and drink guides, but Indian Coffee House are known to make a mean cup of filter coffee, the highlight being that the staff are willing to customise it according to your tastes. Indian Coffee House, Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone, Andheri East, Mumbai 400 047. Phone: 022 2829 0955

Swagat Refreshments, Fort

This tiny, old Udupi restaurant near Strand Book Stall does a pretty good filter coffee. They been around since the 1970s, their filter coffee isn’t too sweet, and you never have to tell them to make it strong. That’s just a given. Swagat Refreshments, Syed Abdullah Brelvi Marg, Gunbow Street, Borabazar Precinct, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2265 7300 filter coffee

Dakshinayan, Juhu

Dakshinayan is an institution. Juhu locals swear by it, and people actually make the effort to trudge across town to have a meal here. Needless to say, their filter coffee is on point. You can see the staff make an effort while fixing you a cup – that dedication always adds to the taste. Dakshinayan, Gandhigram Road, Near Hare Krishna Temple, Juhu, Mumbai 400 049. Phone: 022 2620 8812

Mysore Concerns, Matunga

If you’re looking for proper filter coffee powder then Mysore Concerns is your place. They’ve been around since 1939, and if you like to brew your own filter coffee then you probably already know about them. The heady smell of freshly ground coffee greets you before you even approach the store. Mysore Concerns do several varieties of blends with or without chicory. Mysore Concerns, Maheshwari Udyan, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019. Phone: 022 2402 5339

Poornima, Fort

If you’re fond of the coffee houses/restaurants that are speckled all over Matunga, then you’ll definitely love Poornima in Fort. It is old school in its décor and service, consistent with the quality of coffee (and food), and great value for money. Poornima, Raja Bahadur Compound, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai 400 023. Phone: 022 6631 1396 filter coffee

Amba Bhavan, Matunga

Amba Bhavan opened its doors to the public in 1934, and since then it has been serving its patrons South Indian snacks and coffee. The food is hot and fresh, and a meal here is considered complete only after it’s chased by a cup of strong filter coffee that a server will make at your table. Amba Bhavan, Patel Mahal, Bhandarkar Marg, Kings Circle, Brahmanwada, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019. Phone: 098201 17882

Trupti, Sion

It may not have the reputation of Cafes Madras and Mysore, but Trupti figures high on the list of authentic South Indian food and coffee. The menu is lean but if you’re there for the filter coffee, you will not be disappointed. Trupti, Sulochana Shetty Road, Sion West, Sion, Mumbai, 400022. Phone: 022 2401 5934 Photographs: 1. By Charles Haynes [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr 2. By Triv.rao (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons 3. By Charles Haynes (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons 4. By LuckyRani2990 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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