Mumbai: Restaurant patrons irked by demolitions at Bandra

Jan 23, 2016, 11:27 IST | Maleeva Rebello

Bandra demolitions have the swish set wishing they could eat in peace

The Pali Hill area near Old Basilico has a slew of restaurants and shops like Irish House, Eat Thai, Suzette, Papa Pancho, Mac Craig, Deepak Wines, Busago and Joseph Cold Storage. The H-West ward officials on Thursday afternoon demolished the outer portion of some of these. Yesterday morning, the proprietors, staff were doing some damage control, as patrons were still staggering in to munch, brunch or lunch.

Praveen Ranjodhia (in blue) outside Papa Pancho yesterday
Praveen Ranjodhia (in blue) outside Papa Pancho yesterday

Ashish Sajnani, owner, Eat Thai said, “The waiters and cooks are shaken. Some patrons have been very kind as they came to encourage us yesterday, and ate even though we were out of sorts because of the demolition. The business is down, but we are doing our best to bounce back.”

With the BMC demolition, substantial home delivery orders of Busago were gone with the wind. Navin Bhaij, the restaurant manager said, “Our phone lines were damaged. We could not get any calls from our patrons and business suffered severely. Now, there is a general air of confusion. Patrons are confused if we are open or closed because of the demolition. Some work is on; we are trying to salvage the outside decor.”

When we reached Suzette, Kamal Singh, head waiter said, “We have closed the outside eating area. The crowd that we can accommodate now is greatly reduced.”

Foreigners got more than they bargained for, as they meandered towards the area for a bite. Belgian national Gilles Vanderputten currently staying at the Taj Lands End was at Pali. He said, “The hotel staff told me not to come here as there is some demolition drive on. But I love Irish House, and I came in spite of the warning and right now, all seems normal but a few other foreigners who were here on Thursday afternoon were saying it was very chaotic.”

Bandra’s ladies who lunch though, were thrown off guard. Praveen Ranjodhia, resident, 10th Road, Bandra says, “We had our kitty party scheduled at Papa Pancho on Thursday . One of my friends was eating at the restaurant when the demolition happened. She was very scared. How can they do this when we are eating? I came to ask the management if all is fine today. I do not want any disturbance during our ladies outing,” she said all a-flutter.

Hill Road resident, Sushmita Kapadi, who was returning from her workout at a gym nearby says, “I always have a snack at Eat Thai or Busago after exercising. I was at Eat Thai when the BMC people came on Thursday. It was very scary. I felt like I was in an illegal place. That is not the way to treat tax payers. I was shocked.”

Even as we were talking to these patrons, there was news of demolitions at 15th Road, Linking Road-Pali Hill junction and Linking Road.

Aidrian D’souza, who lives at Turner Road, said, “Bandra is a gourmet’s paradise. This demolition of famed eateries puts fear in our hearts. It is very insulting to be interrupted in between a meal. Everyone is so confused. I have heard there is demolition at eateries at Linking Road. Where will we be able to eat in peace?”

Yesterday, a large crowd gathered at Linking Road as the demolition was on in full swing. Geri Vaz, a Pali Mala resident, says, “The BMC should warn the patrons, so we can carry our meal or parcel it before they start
the demolition. I am not sure where I should eat lunch. We do not know which one will be bulldozed next.”

“I heard that the BMC is on a demolition spree, here in H-West ward. It is better to go to Khar or Mahim and eat there without fear rather than here in Bandra. The eatery and restaurant owners themselves here are unsure if their joint will be targeted next,” said Esmerelda Monteiro, summing up the sentiment of the tony suburb — come in to eat; but we can’t ensure you won’t have to beat a hasty retreat.

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