These are the best desserts of Mumbai's 5 iconic eateries
Shraddha Uchil visits five iconic Mumbai eateries to bring you the one dessert they each make best
Sitaphal Cream at Haji Ali Juice Centre
An eatery with a view: that’s what this is. Standing next to Haji Ali Juice Centre, order in hand, provides a panoramic sight of the sea, the Haji Ali shrine in the middle adding yet another picturesque element to the scene.
Set up in the 1960s by Fareed Noorani, the humble stall would sell fresh juices to weary pilgrims en route to the holy shrine. The place is now run by Noorani’s daughter Asma, who, along with her staff, is efficient and attentive to customers’ needs.
It’s imperative to visit on an empty stomach, and even more imperative to take someone along, because devouring a Sitafal Cream (`240) all by yourself is no joke. Served in a large ceramic bowl, it may not look especially impressive, but one spoonful of the thick, creamy, custard apple pulp-filled dessert is enough to turn you into a loyalist.
At: Lala Lajpat Rai Road, Haji Ali Circle, Mahalaxmi.
Royal Falooda at Badshah Cold Drinks
As far as Mumbai institutions go, Badshah Cold Drinks ranks high up on the list. Established by Merwan Irani way in 1905, it serves what is possibly the best falooda in the city. They are, after all, the pioneers.
Royal Falooda, Behram Zadeh, who manages Badshah
Legend has it that when they set up shop, locals were apprehensive about trying a pink drink with noodles and strange gelatinous seeds. To get more people to try his Persian import, Irani got family members to stand around and sip on falooda through the day.
Curious customers were soon thronging the shop, and the rest, as they say, is history. Irani’s daughter Yasmin is Badshah’s present proprietor, although her son-in-law Behram now manages the business. The classic Royal Falooda (`80), which is their biggest draw, is a creamy concoction that comes topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
At: Next to Crawford Market, Dr Dadabhai Naoroji Road, near CST, Fort.
Kharvas at two Panshikar outlets
There are at least seven city eateries in the city that go by the name Panshikar, most unrelated. We pick two in Dadar that we’ve heard praises about.
Kharvas at Panshikar on Ranade Road. Pic/Shraddha Uchil
The first, Panshikar & Co, is near the railway station and was established in 1931 by current proprietor Sanjeev Panshikar’s great grandfather. The second, Panshikar Samarth Dugdhalaya, was set up in 1956 and is now run by third-generation owner Ashish Panshikar. Situated on Ranade Road, it functions as a takeaway-only shop, although you can ask for your kharvas to be served right there.
Panshikar & Co near Dadar Railway Station
Both specialise in Maharashtrian sweets and snacks, although we are particularly taken with the Kharvas (`40-42). The delicate pudding is made with colostrum (a cow’s first milk) and flavoured with sugar, cardamom powder, saffron strands, and nutmeg.
At: Panshikar & Co: Senapati Bapat Marg, Dadar (W). Panshikar Samarth Dugdhalaya: Ranade Road, Dadar (W).
Call: 24229526 (Panshikar & Co), 9322232155 (Panshikar Samarth Dugdhalaya)
Bread pudding at Crown Bakery
This bakery has been a Mahim landmark for over half a century, and it is also among the last Irani establishments to be found in the area. It was in 1954 that Khodaram Golabi decided to set up his labour of love on the busy Lady Jamshedji Road in Mahim (W).
Crown Bakery. Pic/Atul Kamble
Today, his grandson Rohinton Khosravi runs the bakery, and while the city around it has been steadily changing, not much about the bakery itself has changed; it still stands in the same cavernous space it has always occupied, with no element of décor gracing it other than the freshly baked goodies that line its counters.
While you can’t go wrong with anything here (especially the Mawa Cake), the Bread Pudding (`22) is moreish and delightful. Packaged in a palm-sized tinfoil container, the pudding has a warm golden crust. Sink your spoon in and discover the creamy, fragrant layer hidden beneath. Chances are you’ll end up eating more than one of these.
At: Next to Paradise Cinema, Lady Jamshedji Road, Mahim (W).
Triple Hot Fudge Nut Sundae at New Yorker
As you're walking along the iconic Marine Drive, step into New Yorker, which makes a mean Triple Hot Fudge Nut Sundae (`385).
Triple Hot Fudge Nut Sundae. Pic/Shraddha Uchil
Tony Batra established the restaurant in 1980, at a time when Bombayites were beginning to step out and give Western cuisine a shot. The dessert, which is served in a tall glass, is made up of three scoops of vanilla ice cream, cashew nuts, walnuts, whipped cream, candied cherries and wafer biscuits. It’s so decadent that you’d do well to share it.
What we love most is how all of this is drowned in a perfectly sticky, gooey fudge sauce. “The sauce is home-made. Earlier, people used to take it home in bottles, so we thought, why not showcase it in the form of a dessert?” says Ranbir Batra, who took over the reins from his father.
At: 25, Fulchand Niwas, Chowpatty Seaface, Girgaum Chowpatty.
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Guide Awards: Lesser-known Irani Cafes - Byculla Restaurant and Bakery