Mumbai food: Best pocket-friendly eateries around college campuses
As colleges get ready to welcome a new batch of students, we got the old guard to recommend the best cheap-eats houses around campuses from Juhu to Churchgate and Marine Drive to Matunga in Mumbai
'CAMPUS' WITH THE BEST STREET FOOD
Dhaval Desai at Amar Juice Centre, Vile Parle. Pics/Tehniyat Fatima
Mithibai College, Vile Parle
Amar Juice Centre is the thirst-quencher for Mukesh Patel Engineering and MBA College, DJ Sanghvi and Bhagubai College, Mithibai and NM Colleges. Dhaval Desai, 19, says for years, the joke has been that these colleges don’t have a campus, but the road makes up for it. “But, the area has the best street eats.” The DJ Sanghvi student says Rs 100 will serve you the whole day. And you won’t be strapped for variety either.
Pizza French Fries
VJ Café on Second Road serves French fries that come in flavours like chipotle (Rs 100), pizza (Rs 130) and chilli cheese (Rs 100). “We usually share the food, so R50 per head is a cheap deal,” says Desai, popping a cheesy fry into his mouth.
AT: VJ Cafe, Shree Nataraj Building, NS Road No 2, JVPD lane, Vile Parle West
TIMINGS: 10 AM – 11 PM
The trail, Desai tells us, is incomplete without ice paan (Rs 25). The extra-large sized paan topped with gulkand, comes to us in a paper plate. We bite into it, and the ice crushes between our molars, as the cool ingredients take over the senses. Perfecto!
AT: Brijwasi Paan Bhandar, opposite Sahakari Bhandar, VM Road, JVPD Scheme, Juhu
We are a democratic country, and the butter floats freely with all its might. The steamy pav drip yellow, and the bhaji is spicy and generous in portion. The steam idli and pav sandwich also fly off the shelves here.
AT: Amar Juice Centre, next to Cooper Hospital, Road No 1, Vile Parle West
TIMINGS: 10 AM – 1 AM
Onion and cheese kulcha
We’ve heard of stuffed parathas, but the proposition of stuffed kulchas sounds tempting too. The hot onion and cheese kulcha (Rs 160) comes with black dal, chole and pickle. The naan tears easily, revealing a mixture of onion and cheese. The topping of coriander and dill lifts the taste. We gobble this with a lemon iced tea (Rs 80), a fresher version of those available at coffee shops.
AT: WTF, opposite Sahakari Bhandar, VM Road, JVPD Scheme, Juhu
TIMINGS: 10.30 AM – 12.30 AM
Ferero Rocher Milkshake
Known for its mushroom, paneer and aloo wraps, the bestseller here is the Ferero Rocher Milkshake (R150). It’s the perfect drink for a sunny day.
AT: Ice ‘N’ Rolls, opposite Bhaidas Hall, near Mithibai College, Vile Parle West
TIMINGS: 10 AM – 11 PM
NEW MEETS OLD, BUT WITHIN BUDGET
SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Sion(W)
Third-year undergrad friends Reeba George and Anmol Dutta have distinct palates and agree to disagree on the rest. Together, they point out the best of what the SIES College lane has to offer. The area has a good mix of street staples such as cheap sandwiches and frankies. There was a time when Guru Kripa, famed for its samosas, reigned supreme. Fancier options serving Italian fare have opened now and smaller joints have improvised to cater to a clientele that likes to experiment.
Rocket fries and red velvet ice cream
Lots of cosy couches means lots of students lazing around over milkshakes. Their Italian menu and dessert counter rivals the Café Coffee Day outlet nearby, which we are told, is the nook for dates, whereas gangs of friends hang out here. “It has a wider selection than CCD and is a tad cheaper too,” says Anmol, adding that her go-to item here is the exotic burger (at Rs 100). “I prefer this over the exotic pizza, which at Rs 200, doesn’t fit my budget,” she explains. The rocket fries (Rs 100) come with a generous shower of peri peri masala. We wouldn’t mind a dollop of mayo either. The red velvet ice cream does its trick too.
WHERE: Café Istaa, 12A/1, New Sion CHS Ltd, Sion
TIMINGS: 10 AM – 11 PM
Cheese and chocolate is the bottom line of the student appetite. A seven-minute walk from SIES College stand a bunch of snack stalls, where Reeba and Anmol pick their favourite combination. Sandwiches from
Gurukripa stall and juices and shakes from BM Juice Centre (BM translates into Bharat Mata). The chocolate sandwich went for a gooey overload, which we liked, and the chocolate milkshake was rich too.
WHERE: Gurukripa Sandwich and BM Fresh Juice Centre, TV Chidambaram Marg, Sion Circle
TIMINGS: 9 AM – 9 PM
Spicy, packed with veggies and cheese, and dollop of butter, mayo frankie is a great hit. Right across the college, this is a hotspot to grab a quick bite and rush back to class, or munch on a snack as you purchased stationery. “It is easy on the pocket and the tummy,” says Anmol. Other student favourites here are panneer chilly cheese frankie, noodle frankie and manchurian frankie. “We usually sit and eat by the compound wall of a playground nearby,” says Reeba.
WHERE: Jalaram Stores, opposite SIES College, Jain Society
TIMINGS: 8 AM – 8 PM
Lassi and samosa chole
Reeba says that since every dish here is modestly priced, it works for students. The lassi, garnished with pistachios, was tasty, and mildly sweet. The samosa chole is great comfort food, perfect for the rainy season. “If you want to hangout here, you have to eat slowly, but who cares? Things are really cheap over here!” says Reeba.
WHERE: Guru Kripa Hote, SIES lane, Sion
TIMINGS: 8 AM – 11 PM
A saucy and tangy affair
Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
KC College Churchgate
How do you decide on the best eat-outs outside of college, when your canteen is unbeatable? Twenty-year-old Punya Jain, a final-year BFM (Bachelors of Finance Management) student, claims to have asked herself this question, a time too many. Then, she stumbled on a few good eateries nearby and realised that the search for great food, could never really end. Punya follows a strict Jain diet, and we thought it would clip her options. But, it is hardly an issue.
Jain Pizza Fries
All you French-fries fans out there, here’s a quick suggestion: Move on! At The J Café, banana fries is the in-thing. Custom-made for Jains, they are layered with pizza sauce, Jain cheese sauce and mozzarella cheese. The pizza fries (R150), served hot in a cone, are a winner from the word go. Started by Jai Vaswani in 2012, The J draws students in throngs. We got our order delivered in five minutes, but during peak hours, be prepared to wait. For non-vegetarians, there are some great sauces to be enjoyed with potato fries and smoked chicken sausage.
WHERE: The J, Vaswani Mansion, Dinshaw Vacha Rd, Churchgate
TIMINGS: 9 AM – 12 PM
Pasta Cheese Roll
Biting into a sandwich stuffed with pasta is a different joy altogether. Prema, who runs Raju Sandwich Stall, is an experienced hand at sandwich-making since 1978. It’s his chutneys, however, that he is most proud of. We were served the pasta cheese roll (Rs 55) with green and red garlic chutney (placed artfully on the paper plate). The sauced-up pasta was soft, and melt in the mouths.
WHERE: Raju Sandwich Stall, Opposite KC College, Dinshaw Vacha Rd, Churchgate
TIMINGS: 8 AM – 9 PM
Ramnarain Ruia College, Matunga
Hunger pangs often take a beating in the scorching afternoon heat, but, when three enthusiastic girls from Ruia College show us around their favourite eating spots, there was no stopping. Anushka Raote, and her friends, Rishika Ghosh and Ruchi Balakrishna — all second year Bachelors of Arts students — don’t attend lectures as often as they step out of college for some grub. “We are hard-core foodies,” Raote explains, promising to take us beyond the evergreen pav bhaji at DP (Durga Parmeshwari).
Paani puri shots and Fruit beer
“If you’re at Ruia’s and haven’t visited DP’s, then you probably have missed the best,” says Raote. We step into the Udipi joint, and see pav bhaji flying off the kitchen shelves. But, Raote and friends opt for the paani puri shots (R35) and fruit
beer (Rs 25). The paani puri was served in a shot glass and the girls enjoyed shooting it down, one shot at a time. The fruit beer, only made everything seem like one big ‘innocent’ party.
WHERE: DP’s Fast Food, 153, Nanda Deep Building, Lakhamsi Nappu Road, Opposite Ruia College Matunga Central
TIMINGS: 8 AM – 11.30 PM
Subhash Sandwich Stall’s triple-layered chocolate sandwich (Rs 80) is mind-bogglingly good. Each bread slice is layered butter, chunks of cooking chocolate and Hershey’s syrup. The sandwich is then toasted and served hot heaped with a layer of chocolate shavings. We were licking our fingers, even after we had moved to the next stop.
WHERE: Subhash sandwich stall, Advocate TV Parameswaran Marg, Matunga
TIMINGS: 9 AM – 6 PM
Low variety, great value
NATIONAL COLLEGE Bandra West
Bandra houses some of the city’s most exciting eating joints. And when we say this aloud, the two SYBCom students, who’ve joined us for a food tour, react contrary to our expectations. There are fewer options for students like us, who are always low on cash, say Murtuza Najib and Priyance Kothari. But millennials being millennials, they have managed to snuff out some eateries that are as good on the tummy as they are on the pocket.
CHILLY CHEESE TOAST
Jay sandwich occupies the sidewalk outside the college, but according to our fellow foodies, the joint is so popular that it has become a landmark in the area. It sees crowds at all hours, and according to signboards, all customers are accorded equal status. It reads, ‘we will not serve you in your car. You will need to get out of your car and come to the counter’. Set up in 1986 by Jay Patil, the two-feet square stall boasts an extensive menu, right from the original sada sandwich to a students’ favourite, masala toast. On the suggestion of Kothari and Najib, who are regulars here, we order a regular square-sized chilli cheese toast. For Rs 90. Gulp. Patil offers an explanation. “It used to be about R40, but the price of vegetables has soared. But it hasn’t affected the flow of students,” he says. The sandwich has a generous amount of grated cheese on top and between slices, which are slathered with delicious mint chutney and butter. It’s on the spicer side, but take one bite and you’re guaranteed to get a sense of why Jay sandwich is what it is.
WHERE: Near National College, 32nd Road, off Linking Road, Linking Road, Bandra (West)
TIMINGS: 8.30 AM – 8.30 PM
COMBINATION FRIED RICE
Just 50 metres away is Ravi Rice. Set up in 2001 by Ravi Jadhav, a local from Pali village, Ravi Rice has been around longer than most students and staff. Najib tells us that he found out about the eatery from his elder brother, who used to study at Raheja College and would come here for a pocket-friendly meal. The stall serves Chinese right off the wok, with rice, noodles or a combination of both ranging from R40-80. It also allows the quintessential ‘one-by-two’, lessening the cut into one’s pockets. We order a half plate of combination rice, fiery-looking schezwan rice with chunks of chicken and egg for R40. The portion is unexpectedly large, and can be easily shared by two.
WHERE: Next to MMK College, Linking Road, Bandra (West)
TIMING: 9.30 AM – 8.30 PM
Our next stop is further down, near Rizvi College. If you’re looking to venture beyond Linking Road, we suggest you take a short rickshaw ride to Yummies off Carter Road. Nestled in a quiet corner, beyond Salman Khan inspired Bhaijaanz, Yummies has a varied clientele right from college students to TV actors and Bollywood celebrities like Salman Khan and John Abraham. “While John likes the iced tea, Salman likes the schezwan rice,” says Elton Fernandes, who runs the shop with his brother, Maldin. We order a Paneer Shwarma for R100, which is stuffed with schezwan gravy and generous chunks of paneer. Try it if you dig spicy fare.
WHERE: 36A, Rajan, off Cater Road, Rizvi Complex, Bandra West
TIMING: 10 AM – 11 PM
The road to temptation
KPB Hinduja College Charni Road
There is something for every appetite on the Girgaum and Charni Road stretch. Walk down the road beyond Saifee Hospital, and every lane cuts to a different surprise, and new treat. Nimai Gandhi, a final-year BCom student converted into a “foodie” after he joined college. “There is so much out here, you can’t resist the temptation,” he says. Indifferent to the extra calories he could be piling, Gandhi has to bite into the masala toast each morning, ending the day with his favourite milkshake. We couldn’t resist the binge either. But, before you head here, be warned — almost, every eatery owner is either christened Raju, or has named his stall after the popular name.
At the entrance of Khau Galli is Shalimar, unarguably Girgaum’s most popular juice centre. While fresh fruits hang from the stall, it is the chocolate drink that draws most of its patrons. By night, Shalimar has over 10 service boys, serving the cold milkshake to people who line up outside. It is sold at R50, but you can always split it with two friends, and still enjoy a glass, just as full. Sprinkled with chocolate chips and confetti, it’s served cold with ice.
WHERE: Shalimar Juice Centre, Khau Galli, Tata Road No 2, Charni Road
TIMINGS: 9 AM to 1 PM
This dish is sweet, tangy and as simple as food could get. Sold for just R10 a plate, Gandhi and his friends, usually walk that extra distance from college to Khau Galli in Girgaum, to gorge on it. Its owner — another Raju bhai — specially procures the khamani (made from dhokla) from Surat. It is fried with oil, rye (mustard seeds), hing (asafetida) and curry leaves, and served hot with sev and fried chilis.
WHERE: Sainath Roxy Snack, Khau Galli, Tata Road No 2, Charni Road
TIMINGS: 7.30 AM – 6 PM
Masala toast sandwich
The masala toast at Raju Sandwich is ‘out of this world,’ says Gandhi. Just take a bite and let the aloo stuffing do the talking. The stall, run by Raju Deval, has been in business for over 25 years. Though, he sells over 13 different kinds of sandwiches, it is the masala toast (R25) that leaves people wanting more. Each sandwich is layered with the special ‘Raju potato stuffing,’ fresh cabbage, onion, capsicum and tomato slices, before it is toasted and served with red garlic chutney.
WHERE: Raju Sandwich, KPB Hinduja College lane, 315, New Charni Road
TIMINGS: 8 AM – 10.30 PM