December 2021 boomed, blasted, and fed us well. Yes, we’re in a relatively less happening place in our lives right now, once again (eye roll), but we’ve seen the F&B industry be absolute heroes, and continue to give us ways to keep eating well, and be safe. While here’s a previous list of everything we’ve tried, some of the top-notch places in Mumbai to eat at and order in from are listed below.
SoBo vegetarians, you have a gem on your hands. Nestled in the quiet bylanes of Kala Ghoda stands La Pôz Place, an all-vegetarian restaurant that really ups the game for the city. Yes, a hardcore meat eater is vouching for it. The menu offers a large variety of Italian food with a contemporary influence. Start with a Phonda Ghat Honey & Young Brie salad, which is fresh, flavourful, and has chunks of brie to pick at, followed by the spinach and feta filo parcels packed inside delightfully light pastry. The wood fired pizzas are their bestsellers, but I tried the drool-worthy Spanish saffron, arugula and smoked cheese risotto — so creamy and perfect. Another unmissable dish would be the lasagne with layers of aubergine sheet with pomodoro sauce. And I assure you, you will thank me if you order the panna cotta and red wine poached fig, which is the chef’s take on the panna cotta, set in a little bowl with tarty red wine sauce, and a fig in the centre. This is a meal I’ll remember for a long time.
Yes, the song played in my head too. Lower Parel’s latest authentic Asian offering gives you the right vibe with its beige colour, sophisticated dining setting that slowly takes on a red hue as the night proceeds. The bar is another catchy element of this place, not to mention their live sushi bar that does all the classics. My first pick, however, has to be their spinach salad, done up nicely as a crispy bunch with some peanut sauce drizzled, crunchy and a good way to begin. Opt for some chicken and truffle suimai dim sum, or the spicy pokchoi. I prefer lots of tapas to a full main course, but their wasabi pickled rice should definitely not be missed. For dessert, try their bestseller — Sticks And Stones — a delightful coconut pandan with a hint of kaffir lime that blends well with mascarpone cream and isn’t too sweet.
On the stretch right opposite the sea, there was always a void. The Bandstand Pantry has clearly won the location game, but that’s not the only reason they’re here. The café, started by Ranji Trophy cricketer Sinan Kader, serves delicious artisanal bread, single-origin coffee, and some guilt-free goodies to snack on. If you’re looking to accompany your coffee with a baked goodie, their glazed cinnamon roll is the perfect companion. Breakfast lovers can try their oven-baked egg cups with some avo toast. If you’re grabbing an evening bite, I’d personally recommend the mushroom and truffle oil flatbread. Sea breeze, coffee, bliss.
Instagrammability is Donna Deli, but it’s not just that. This casual dining and bar, with its sophisticated ambience and its mix of white and greys, specialises in Asian and Italian, and has a unique dessert line up, making it a great brunch or lunch spot (you can do dinner as well, duh, but the beauty of the place looked more day friendly). The menu boasts of a wide range of cocktails with all spirits, but I liked Aviation Sour — a blue pea infused gin cocktail with cherry liqueur — super fresh, and bittersweet, with just the right amount of gin. Dig into their fresh burrata salad, and then do a half-and-half pizza; the Donna’s truffle and the Harissa Chicken pizza make for the perfect combination — one’s creamy and the other’s saucy. The desserts were my favourite — don’t miss the vanilla panna cotta, it’s the right amount of vanilla without sugar overpowering you, and follow it up with an intense cappuccino and chocolate ganache, a smooth bar made of chocolate and coffee, with mouth-watering raspberry sorbet. Donna Deli is where all the cool kids are at, and with good reason.
Thanks to WFH, meetings now mostly happen outdoors, and if you’re stepping out for a weekday-workday meal, you need food to be indulging your tastebuds and keeping you up too. Santé Spa Cuisine has taken its ‘freshly grown and preservative free cooking’ to Khar with Sante, but has added a unique Sattvik menu to the new place, comprising some interesting dishes, hot pumpkin parfait being one of them. They prepare fresh guacamole at your table, and you can scoop that up in some healthy nachos before moving on to some zucchini zoodles tossed in with hemp pesto, and their tofu suimai, which comes with some pumpkin tom kha soup. Want a healthy bite of dessert? Their filter coffee ice cream will do the trick.
The OG of turning the mithai space around is now catering to health conscious sweet meat lovers too. Cheat Sweets by Bombay Sweet Shop has pedas and barfis made using 100 per cent vegetarian ingredients and only natural sugars like dates, jaggery, and coconut sugar. There’s something for everyone — if you’re a coffee person (like me), the coffee milk cake is the perfect cheat bite, and there’s also a power barfi, a lactose free option for those who don’t want dairy.
Everyone’s favourite O Pedro now has a sandwich shack. All your favourite sandwiches from around the world have been recreated with a classic O Pedro spin. Even the names are interestingly planned — Not Your Momma’s Avocado Toast, Pedro’s McDreamy ‘Shroom Burger — and the sandwiches can be consumed in the safety of your homes. Meat lovers, their New York Style B**F Pastrami Sandwich, with juicy house-made brisket pastrami, grain mustard, dill pickle with freshly made brown butter loaf, can be your next meal, and the seafood folks can go for the Louisiana Soft Shell Crab Sub Sandwich that comes with crispy soft-shell crab. The menu has a lot to offer, and will be perfect for your Friday night indoor binge with the gang.
Now this is a delivery kitchen that will sort your comfort food cravings like none other. Award-winning chef Amninder Sandhu has opened her new delivery kitchen — Ammu — and can make all North Indian food dreams come true. From a vast menu worth checking out, definitely pick the stuffed chicken legs, and the mutton chops, both done to perfection with masala that isn’t just mirchi. I haven’t had a biryani as good as Sandhu’s in a long time — it’s more Afghani, flavourful, with juicy meat pieces. For dessert, if you’re ordering in time for the winter, the kaali gaajar halwa will make you miss Amritsar, or at least want to visit. Ammu’s is the perfect place to order from for all your desi food lovers.
Another excuse for SoBo folks to not travel across the sea link. Yauatcha has opened a delivery kitchen in Colaba, and is offering an expansive range of their culinary delights — including the poached Peking dumpling, chicken and prawn sui mai, their crispy John Dory — all of which can be consumed in the comfort of your home. In fact, if you want to make your own dinner using some Yauatcha yummies, they are offering their house-made chili oil as well as the chilly garlic sauce. Pantry and party, both sorted.