Mumbai's divine eats at dirt-cheap rates make it to a culinary map that celebrates us turning 37 with a spread of under-Rs 37 dishes
Russian Chicken Cutlet At Rs 15
There is nothing Russian about this cutlet, Tosha owner Sheikh Mudassar admits. But, he promises it is "masaledar" with a zing of ginger, garlic, and garam masala. While biryani remains the bestseller at this eight-year-old Versova joint, it's their cutlets that have a fan following to rival the biryani's.
TIME 12 PM - 3 PM; 6 PM - 12 PM
AT: Tosha, Shop 13, Juhu Versova Link Road, next to Vikram Petrol Pump, Andheri West
Single pattice at Rs 37
A two-minute walk from Jhama Sweets, Vig Refreshments is a Sindhi food lover's paradise, offering Dal Pakwan, Chhola Puri, Ragda Pattice and chilled Salted Lassi. However, if you are on a budget, ask for their richly-spiced mixed Single Pattice.
TIME: 7 AM - 10 PM
AT: Vig Refreshments, Chembur Camp, Gidwani Road, Chembur East
MALAI SANDWICH AT Rs 25
You've probably headed here in the past for the Chicken Chilli, Mutton Dum Biryani and Mutton Khichda. But when all the fiery dishes are devoured, we suggest you call for the Malai Sandwich. Made fresh every day, it comes stuffed with khoya and kesar. Calories? What's that?
TIME: 8 AM - 2 AM
AT: Shalimar, Vazir Building, Shalimar Corner, Bhendi Bazaar, Sandhurst Road, Byculla
MAGHAI MEETHA PAAN AT Rs 25
"The paan has 18 ingredients including gulkand, dates, betel nut, clove, rose petals…," rattles off Jaishankar Tiwari, as famous for his handlebar moustache as the Muchhad Paanwala establishment (since 1971) that he manages. For those who aren't on a budget, there is the Banarasi, Chocolate or Chappan Bhog Paan.
TIME: 6.30 AM - 1 AM
AT: Muchhad Paan Wala, Khatau Mansion, Umar Park, Shop No 13, 99, Bhulabhai Desai Road
MUTTON PATTICE AT Rs 18
Flaky on the outside, mushy inside, the Bandra bakery's buttery meat puffs are a steal. A-1 stands cushioned between two other famed Hill Road bakeries, Hearsh and American Bakery, but this counter shop stays crowded nonetheless until goods are sold out.
TIME: 5 AM - 9 PM
AT: A-1 Bakery, 89-B, near Holy Family Hospital, Hill Road, Bandra West
CHUTNEY SANDWICH AT Rs 20
It's far from a fancy preparation, but this item makes it to our list because it's so easy to get the chutney wrong. Candies gets the zing right, and the freshness of the bread compliments it beautifully. Godfree Falcon, manager at the Pali Hill branch, says, "At a time, 45 sandwiches arrive here from the central kitchen. They fly off the counter in less than 30 minutes."
TIME: 8.30 AM - 11 PM
AT: All Candies outlets
BACON AND EDAM CHEESE CROISSANT AT Rs 28
Churchgate's open-air café and bakery, Gaylord lets you try a fancy Dutch cheese without the extravagance. They stock a mini croissant that tucks in bacon and the mild, sweet curd-like tasting Edam cheese. It's a bestseller since it was introduced last year, so head here before noon to get your hands on a piece. If bacon isn't your thing, try the Turkey Salami Cheese version, stuffed with sausage produced from ground dark turkey meat.
TIME: 9 AM - 11 PM
AT: Gaylord Restaurant, Mayfair, VN Road, Churchgate
PIYUSH AT Rs 35
The Maharashtrian drink is a hybrid of shrikhand and buttermilk, carrying a strong hint of nutmeg and cardamom. It's the perfect drink to order on a hot day while tucking into Kothimbir Vadi and Sabudana Vada, the other hits at Ladu Samrat. In case you don't have the time to wait in queue at this crowded, vegetarian eatery, opt for a takeaway glass (available in half and full versions).
TIME: 7.30 AM - 10 PM
AT: Ladu Samrat, Shop No 1-2, Habib Terrace, Lalbaug, Dr Ambedkar Road, Parel.
Radio City RJs Salil and Archana dropped in at Moti Halwai to try the famed Aloo Parathas. "When you get crispy paratha with makkhan, boondi raita and green-red chutney in just Rs 30 it's full paisa vasool," says Archana
ALOO PARATHA AT Rs 30
Packed with office goers at lunch hour, Moti Halwai's top selling items are the Milk Cake (R30) and burn-your-fingers Aloo Parathas. "We make our dishes in pure ghee, and serve the paratha with butter," says owner Sunil Saigal. Every nutrionist's nightmare? You think the Punjabis care!
TIME: 8 AM - 11 PM
AT: Punjabi Moti Halwai, Salva Chambers, 40, Cawasji Patel Street, Kala Ghoda, Fort
GULAB JAMUN AT Rs 20
While they may have expanded to other suburbs, Jhama Sweets' flagship Chembur store gets the largest crowd. Established in 1947, the shop is known for its melt-in-the-mouth Gulab Jamuns, offered in different shapes and sizes (and best eaten piping hot, the Vachirajanis and Kewalramanis will say, besides the popular Sindhi delicacy Singhar Jhi Mithai, Pista Barfi and the savoury Matthi.
TIME: 9 AM - 10 PM
AT: Jhama Sweets, Chembur Camp, Gidwani Road, Chembur East
VEG PATTICE AT Rs 20
A popular hangout spot for office-goers looking for a quick bite before they board the locals, Churchgate's Stadium restaurant offers a variety of eats covering everything from biryani and kheema to thali and Chinese too. One of their more pocket-friendly options is the Veg Pattice. Stuffed with a savoury, veggie mixture, the flaky puff pastry makes for a filling snack, considering it's tad bigger than the miniatures you find at other bakeries.
TIME: 8 AM - 10.30 PM
AT: Stadium Restaurant, 76, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate
PIZZA SANDWICH AT Rs 36
Is it pizza? Is it a sandwich? Owner Mehdi Dashti says it's a bit of both. "We bake a special flatbread and stuff it with veggies, cheese and pizza sauce. It's then folded and grilled."
TIME: 5 AM - 11 PM
AT: City Bakery, No. 204, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli
SEV PURI FOR Rs 30
Second-generation chat vendor, Raju uses filtered water for cooking (to go with the fancy address he hawks his street food at), and his sev puri is a hit with Bandraites and expats alike. Food blogger Kalyan Karmakar elaborates on the reason why this sev puri trumps others: "I have never fallen sick after eating his sev puri. Ever-smiling, Raju asks you for your spice preference. His father had started this stall 60 years ago."
TIME: 4.30 PM - 9 PM
AT: Raju's stall, Pali Hill, Sea Queen apartments, Bandra (W)
MAWA SAMOSA AT Rs 10
Remember how many hearts broke when they heard that B Merwan was downing its shutters? Strangely, the 100-year-old Irani bakery still holds fort in Grant Road. In case you can't make it in time for their Mawa Cakes (sold out as early as 8 am), opt for the signature Mawa Samosa with a milk-based filling, evoking dnostalgia with
TIME: 5.30 AM - 6 PM
AT: B Merwan & Co., Shop No. 1/ 2, Merwan Building, Allibhai Premji Road, opposite Grant Road Station East
FILTER COFFEE AT Rs 30
Though its price has risen from 15 paise in the 1940s, the Filter Coffee at Matunga's legendary Café Madras remains a draw for loyalists. No meal at this 75-year-old South Indian joint is complete without a piping hot tumbler of the frothy concoction, brewed in a staple south Indian filter. Goes best with Rasam Vada (Rs 60) and Pesarattu Dosa (all grain with fried onion filling; Rs 65).
TIME: 7 AM - 2.30 PM, 4 PM - 10.30 PM (Mondays closed)
AT: Café Madras, 38/B, Kamakshi Building, Circle House, Matunga, near King's Circle
CHICKEN LOLLIPOP AT Rs 20
J Hearsch & Co. Bakery's legacy dates back to the Raj, when a German named Hearsch handed over his business to Bandra resident Sophia Fernandes. The family continues to be proprietor of the bakery but it's run by brothers Melvin and Steven D'sa. Their chicken lollipop is a hit for its succulent meat marinated in a spicy coating and deep-fried.
TIME: 7 AM - 10 PM
AT: J Hearsch & Co., 90/A, next to Holy Family Hospital, Hill Road, Bandra West
BREAD PUDDING AT Rs 30
Made with boiled milk, bread, eggs and a dash of vanilla essence, the sponge soft bread pudding at Ideal Corner is an energy kick that goes well with your afternoon tea. "It's also a protein-rich breakfast option. You won't get hungry till lunch," Parvez Patel, partner at the 30-year-old Parsi eatery, promises.
TIME: 12 PM - 3.30 PM; 5.30 PM - 10.45 PM (Monday closed)
AT: Ideal Corner, 12 F/G, Hornby View, Gunbow Street, Fort
MAWA CAKE AT Rs 18
While Sassanian has expanded its menu of traditional Parsi eats, its signature oblong-shaped Mawa Cake remains a favourite for customers and the competition (ask nonagenarian Boman Kohinoor of Britannia & Co.) "That is what a Mawa Cake should taste like," he had said when asked to name his favourite Parsi eat from a competition establishment.
TIME: 7 AM - 10 PM
AT: Sassanian Boulangerie, 98, Marine View, Anandilal Podar Marg, near Metro cinema
KALA KHATTA AT Rs 12
Running a hole-in-the-wall joint pinched between a line of eateries opposite CST, Kala Khatta Cold Drinks House owner Akram K han deftly fills up rows of glasses with one-fourth portion of syrup, before topping it with water and ice chunks. "This place was set up before Independence. At the time, the sherbet was sold for `1," he says, before enticing us to try the other popular drink, watermelon and raspberry mix.
TIME: 9 AM - 11 PM
AT: Kala Khatta Cold Drinks House, Shop No 11, opposite BMC Office, Mahapalika Marg, CST
Puran Poli at Rs 35
Owner Suryakant Sarjoshi was in the news for launching a branch of his iconic Maharashtrian eatery, Dadar's Aaswad, at the International airport recently. Here, guests stuff themselves with Vada Pav and Missal, but it's the carry-me-away packets of Puran Poli that you will want to take home for dessert.
TIME: 10 AM - 10.30 PM
AT: Aaswad, Shivaji Park House, Ram Ganesh Gadkari Chowk, Dadar West
SHEERA AT Rs 30
Shri Krishna is known first for its Vada Pav, that Mumbaikars in a hurry wolf down while biting into crunchy fried and salted chillies. But the other showstopper is their Sheera, a mound of glistening white carrying the sheen of ghee, served piping hot fro a separate counter.
TIME: 11 AM to midnight
AT: Shri Krishna, Radha Nivas, Chhabildas Road, Dadar West
AFLATOON AT Rs 35
Laced with desi ghee, the melt-in-the-mouth mawa-based baked Aflatoon remains a bestseller at Mohammad Ali Road's Suleman Mithaiwala, which now also stocks assorted varieties with cashew nuts and almonds among other milk and Bengali sweets.
TIME: 7.30 AM - 12.30 AM
AT: Suleman Mithaiwala, No. 41F/G, Mohammad Ali Road
UKDICHE MODAK AT Rs 26
While their demand goes through the roof during Ganeshotsav, the Ukadiche Modak, a Maharashtrian-style steamed dumpling, are available all-year round at Modakam. Gopal Balgi, 62, whose brother (Deepak Gaikar) is owner of the restaurant, is the only one to serve a variety of the modak topped with ghee.
TIME: 8 AM - 11 PM
AT: Modakam, 8/1, Kamana CHS, SK Bole Marg, near Siddhivinayak Temple, Prabhadevi
MEDU VADA AT Rs 15
Maddu Mess owner Kanakraj Nadar has a sunny disposition, and is far from fatigued manning an establishment that his family has helmed for 40 years. "Dus paise ke zamane se hum idhar hain," he smiles. Maddu's breakfast specialties include medu vada, dal vada, idli sambar, at dirt cheap rates keeping the students of nearby IIT in mind. But here's the challenge: wake up at dawn to savour their snacks because Maddu opens its doors at 4.30 am.
TIME: 4.30 AM - 9 PM
AT: Maddu Mess, opposite Market Gate, IIT, Powai
UPMA AT Rs 33
In the same neighbourhood as Café Madras and A Rama Nayak is Anand Bhavan, established in 1946 and currently managed by third-generation owner, Haridas Nayak. It's a favourite with office goers, who drop in for a quick nutritious breakfast before taking on a challenging day. The upma, tempered with curry leaves, mustard and roasted urad dal, comes sprinkled with crunchy farsan boondis. It's served with flavoured coconut chutney and sambhar. The other under `37 snack to try here is the sponge-soft idli (Rs 33).
Time: 7 AM - 9 PM
At: Anand Bhavan, 461/A, Ram Niwas, King's Circle Flyover, Matunga East
IRANI SEEKH KEBAB AT Rs 24
"It is a long preparation, is all I can tell you," says Sarvi's Haji Ghulam Ali, about the Nagpada budget eatery's famed seekh kebabs. The working class grab a quick meal in the grubby environs and cars halt to pick up takeaways. An Iranian, Ali moved from Yazd province to Mumbai, to set up the family-run establishment. The kebabs are flavourful, like the meat preparations of his hometown, but missing the luscious quality of lamb they enjoy in Iran.
TIME: 7.30 am to 12.30 am
AT: Sarvi, Dimtimkar Road, Nagpada, Byculla
Veg meal under Rs 37
This year, Gharoba, an eatery run by women's collective Stri Hitwardhini Audhyogic Sahkari Sanstha, celebrates 50 years. Headed by 62-year-old Urmila Vinayak Padwal, the large mess lined with benches and tables serves homely food till 10.30 pm, dished out of shiny stainless steel utensils. Rotis for Rs 3 and sabzi for Rs 20 make up a meal that will get you by even in the last week of the month.
TIME: 8 AM - 8 PM
AT: Gharoba, Dr SS Rao Road, opposite Peninsula Centre, Parel