Mumbai Food: Head to these places on a rainy day

Jun 26, 2016, 15:22 IST | Phorum Dalal, Anju Maskeri, Benita Fernando, Jane Borges and Aastha Banan

It's the unsaid monsoon rule: Head out for hot-off-the-stove crunchy snacks when the heavens open up. Do try out these food havens in Mumbai this rainy season


Forty years ago, Manoj Gupta, started selling corn, khichiya papad and Maggi on a pavement near World Trade Centre at Cuffe Parade. His menu now includes 76 items.

Rakhi Gupta at her Cuffe Parade stall. Pics/Suresk Karkera

The most popular is the red pasta khichiya, a papad shrouded in a blanket of grated cheese. “A lot of people, I am told, run stalls claiming to be branches of this outpost that my late husband started, but that's a lie,” says Rakhi Gupta, who now runs it with her son.

Rakhi Gupta at her Cuffe Parade stall. Pics/Suresk Karkera

“Mukesh Ambani's son is a regular,” she says. No dish comes below Rs 150. Plough through the fusion creation and you'll know she isn't off the mark.
WHERE: Manoj Pasta, opposite World Trade Centre, Near Jolly Maker Appartments 2, Cuffe Parade
TIMINGS: 5.30 PM to midnight
CALL: 9820681898

Punjabi basa fry.  Pic /Atul Kamble
Punjabi basa fry.  Pic /Atul Kamble

There is no stopping the Bandra-Khar foodie from hopping over to an outpost that carries a bit of legend. In fact, a Sunday downpour only seems to draw them faster to Jai Jawan for its fresh-off-the-pan fish and prawn fry.

The fuss-free eatery specialises in Punjabi-style preparations. You can choose between basa and rawas. Both, Punjabi fish and prawn fry are served at the day's market price. We paid Rs 375 for prawn and Rs 300 for basa. Golden crispy, the preparation isn't fiery, but it is flavourful and served with a zingy green chutney.
WHERE: Jai Jawan, Shop No 7, junction of 14th Road and PD Hinduja Marg, Linking Road, Khar (W)
TIMINGS: 6.30 PM onwards
CALL: 9820503355

The menu at Prakash Shakahari Upahaar Kendra includes crunchy fried fare. Pair these with piyush or masala milk sprinkled with almond slivers, and your monsoon meal is set. 

Kothimbir, alu and bhajani wadi at Prakash. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
Kothimbir, alu and bhajani wadi at Prakash. Pics/Sneha Kharabe

The kothimbir wadi was light and fluffy, and went well with chai. The alu wadis are larger than the chakra borne by Lord Ganesha. The bronze exterior holds a soft inner core, and carries a hint of sweetness. Spoiler alert for those expecting a more theeka wadi, but we couldn't stop peeling those rings and popping them. Tastes best with the yellow peanut and green chilly dip. The bhajani wadi, a cousin to the multi-grain thalipith, comes without the onions, making it an apt options for Jains too.
WHERE: Prakash Shakahari Upahaar Kendra, near Sena Bhavan, Shivaji Park
TIMINGS: 7.30 AM – 10.30 PM
CALL: 24386094

Panchratna Jalebi House’s Devansh Gandhi. Pics/Jane Borges
Panchratna Jalebi House’s Devansh Gandhi. Pics/Jane Borges

A queue for fafda jalebis is a Sunday tradition. For Mumbai's jalebi havens — Mumbadevi Jalebiwala and Jalebi House — it is an everyday scene.

Panchratna Jalebi House’s Devansh Gandhi. Pics/Jane Borges
Panchratna Jalebi House’s Devansh Gandhi. Pics/Jane Borges

We visit both spots on a Monday afternoon. Twenty-three-year-old Jalebi House's owner Devansh Gandhi rattles off a menu of methi bhajiyas (Rs 24 a plate), kachoris (Rs 24 a plate) and fafda jalebi (Rs 36 a plate) The jalebi, we loved, because the chasni (sugar syrup) had a light orange flavour to it. The 119-year-old Mumbadevi Jalebiwala in Zaveri Bazaar is where Mukesh Rawal serves nothing but fafda jalebi (R 40 a plate). Deep-fried in pure ghee, the jalebis, always served hot off the pan on a leaf, crackle before they collapse into syrupy slush in the mouth.
WHERE: Panchratna Jalebi House, ppposite Roxy, Tata Road No. 1, Opera House
TIMINGS: 7 AM — 8 PM (On Sundays: 7 AM to 1 PM)
CALL: 23670852/23688330

WHERE: Mumbadevi Jalebiwala, 77, Kulfi House, Zaveri Bazaar, Near Mumbadevi Temple
TIMINGS: 6 AM to 10 PM (On Sundays: 6 AM to 3 PM)
CALL: 9324527916

Shakuntala runs the stall opposite Bharat Mata signal in Parel East. Pics/Phorum Dalal

Saku's Mirchi bhaji
For the last 40 years, 70-year-old Shakuntala Bandhumane, and her 77-year-old husband Bandhumane Daule have been operating their stall opposite Parel's Bharat Mata cinema every day.

“First, we stood outside the mill gate, where Ashok Tower  now stands,” Shakuntala says referring to the high rise landmark as she lights up her stove. Regulars have already gathered for their evening bite, and some even offer to help her put up the tarpaulin roof. The green chillies that will become bhajias (R4 per piece), she slits down the centre, dips in besan and drops into a kadhai of bubbling oil.
WHERE: Opposite Bharat Mata cinema, Parel East

At Samrat Vada Pav, skip Mumbai's favourite snack and order a plate of Chinese bhaji, a fiery fusion version of the traditional kanda or onion bhaji.

They have a wide variety of bhajias but this one gets maximum takers, including teenagers hungry after coaching class sessions.
AT: Samrat Vada Pav, Subhash Road, Vile Parle East
CALL: 9324047619

When we dropped in at A1, a stall that sits under Grant Road bridge, last week, it was deserted. “We are yet to open since it's Ramzan. Come back in two hours, and you won't find a toehold,” manager Aslam Qureshi smiles.

Qureshi and his staff are about to break their fast, and ask us to join them in the iftaar. They get us a plate of their signature dish, the deep-fried, crunchy Prawn koliwada served with coriander chutney. Priced at Rs 240 (250 gms), the portion is average but the size of the prawns leaves us happy.
WHERE:  A-1 Fish Koliwada, 15, Petit Compound, Nana Chowk
TIMINGS: 6.30 PM – 12.30 AM
CALL: 23801535

A crowd of office goers is the best indicator that you have reached Janta. Janta sells chole samosa (R40 for a plate of 2) this side of posh Lower Parel. The eatery is a hole in the wall where you stand and hog. Served with steaming chole topped with boondi, dhania and green chutney, the samosa has a spicy alu filling underneath a feeble crust.
WHERE: Dr SS Rao Rd, Wadia Baug, Lal Baug
CALL: 24711201

If you are stocking up on farsan, pick up the easy-on-the-palate potato salli or the packing-a-bitter-punch karela chips (R40 for 100 gm) from this chip-lovers haunt at Seven Bungalows.

WHERE: Sri Krishna Hot Chips, Near Ambika Hotel And Shiv Mandir, JP Road, Seven Bungalows

The end of Cross Road Number 9, where it meets Samarth Ramdas Road, is fondly called Patel corner, for stalls that serve a saleable combination of quality chai, paan and bhajias. Chandrashekar Patel's bhajia stall's fare tastes best with the adrakwali chai from the mama next door. The kanda bhajia we liked for its bite and the bread pakora for its spongy centre
(Rs 20 each).
WHERE: Outside Juhu Supreme Shopping Centre, JVPD Scheme, Juhu

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