The Hidden Food of South Mumbai | MF Guide
I’m tired of everyone assuming that there are no “new” places to visit in South Mombay. There are at least a handful of fantastic neighbourhood joints that an average eater hasn’t eaten at yet. Here’s our pick of neighbourhood gems, local secrets, and joints that few people but those living around know. They’re spread around streets that don’t allow rickshaws, and serve promising food at pocket-friendly prices.
Narayan’s Dosa, Grant Road
Settled behind Hughes Road at the end of French Bridge, you’ll find Narayan’s Dosa only after asking someone. With enough place for only a couple of people to sit, you’d rather stand outside the shop to devour dosas locals swear by. They have a surprisingly wide variety of experimental dosas – Palak Paneer Dosa, Paneer Chilly Dosa, Pav Bhaji Dosa, much of which is as unique as delicious. Even if you don’t want to enter this fascinating world of dosas gone rouge, sticking to the classics like Mysore Masala Dosa, Cheese Dosa, and Butter Sada guarantees a mouth watering meal.
Quick tip: Paneer Chilly Cheese Dosa if you’re looking for street-level innovation.
Symphony, Kemps Corner
A family restaurant and bar that’s popular among patrons for home delivery or a fuss-free dinner. This recently renovated space has food that truly does speak for itself. They serve Indian, Chinese and Continental food without muddling up the cuisines. It doesn’t get more ‘family restaurant’ than this. Go here for your fix of normal in a sea of liquid nitrogen and food on chopping boards, a simple places that prepares absolutely heart-warming, wholesome food.
Quick tip: Dum Biryani, Wanton Soup and other memories of simple multi-cuisine restaurants.
Mao, Marine Lines
Mao Family Restaurant is a local joint near the Metro area, immensely popular for its Kepsa: essentially a mix of Chinese Fried Rice and Chicken Tikka. Some say it originated in Iran, some say it is a Bombay bastardization. Although it sounds aggressively unreal, the unusual combination is what makes Kepsa so darn good. Mao produces Kepsa in really large quantities and prices it to be pocket-friendly. It is ideal for take out to serve to a fairly large number of people at home.
Quick tip: Kepsa, Kepsa, and Kepsa. It’s good enough to throw a house party for.
Right Place, Breach Candy
It doesn’t get more South Bombay than this sandwich and softy shop nestled next to Premsons and Amarsons. Right Place strikes the chord of nostalgia, bringing back memories of shopping at Breach Candy and then gorging out on their incredible ice-cream softy.
Many claim that Right Place is historic, believed to be the first in bringing Grilled Sandwich to Mumbai; so obviously, the large sandwiches are exceptional. But do not miss out on their swirly, smooth, and sweet Vanilla, Chocolate, Vanilla-Chocolate Mixed, and Strawberry Softy.
Quick tip: Any Softy you like after a Veg Grilled Sandwich, both introduced to Mumbai here.
Paramount Café, Marine Drive
Paramount Cafe is located right in the middle of popular and overcrowded restaurants and eat spots at Chowpatty, the beginning of Marine Drive. Flanked by the firmly vegetarian Cream Centre, and the much-hyped Bachelor’s, it still remains a jewel that only local residents really visit. This place dishes out South Mumbai’s rarified and beloved cuisine: Parsi, along with the obligatory North Indian and Chinese. However, stick to their Parsi specialties and visit them for a classic bun-maska with chai.
Quick tip: Chicken Tikka Sandwich, Bun-Maska and a side of Irani cafe nostalgia.
Friends Union Joshi Club, Kalbadevi
This vegetarian (obvs) thali joint runs amok with office-goers stepping in during lunch hour on weekdays. The food here is constantly in demand for their familiar, simple flavours, defining homely comfort food for many merchants in the neighbourhood. It’s worth the trek to Kalbadevi, where it’s a hidden gem to many non-locals. Friends Joshi Union Club is best for when you want to feast at a bargain.
Quick tip: Your only real option is their hearty Thali.
Tarabaug Pani Puri, Charni Road
The absolute best food option to resort to when your pockets are feeling light is to go the street food route. Few know about Tarabaug Pani Puri, but it’s been reigning supreme over the local chaat scene since its early days. Since it’s in the name, their Pani Puri is obviously special, but if you do get a chance to drop by, try their Dahi Wada, and Aloo Chaat too.
Quick tip: Pani Puri and Samosa Chaat are our go-to orders.
Taste of Kerala, Fort
We’ve always wanted Mallu friends for ‘sadya’, but then we discovered this place. Now we still want Mallu friends, but our ‘sadya’ needs are taken care of. Although they serve mutton, fish, and even dishes like rabbit during certain festivals, nothing comes near their Sadya. A variety of fresh, spicy vegetables, curries, and sabzis are strewn on a green leaf, and they don’t stop serving unless you stop eating.
Quick tip: Sadya, unless you’re flying to Kerala for some tomorrow.
Bhagat Tarachand, Kalbadevi
There are a number of Tarachands located in Kalbadevi on the same street, all next to each other. They can be distinguished by the letter that stands before Bhagat, as in K Bhagat Tarachand, B Bhagat Tarachand and a few more. They’re all brother restaurants serving largely similar food with only slightly different interiors. These vegetarian eating spots serve delicious Gujrati, Maharashtrian and Marwari thalis, all loaded with unexpected doses of ghee. They serve chilled Chaas in beer bottles way before mason jars were a thing, and their menu draws up a variety of a la carte and Thali options, with prices being genuinely out of the world.
Quick tip: If you’re not the thali kind, get the Dal Tadka, Chaas Bottle, and whatever comes with ghee.
Manoj Pasta, Cuffe Parade
The tip of South Bombay proudly presents a new addition to street food: Pasta. Genuinely, where else have you seen pasta served at a street stall? Manoj Pasta makes their dishes hot, mouth-watering, and live, like at hotel buffets. Although their menu reads with items like ‘Penne Arebixata Raabita’, their pastas hit the spot about as much as accurate archers. They also whip up Pizzas and Maggi, so in terms of late night eats, this barely-there spot at Cuffe Parade has earned its place in Mumbai’s street food scene.
Quick tip: Pink Pasta, a specialty the locals love!
Now that you know more of South Bombay’s local food spots, tell us where you’re going!