Bandra West, Mumbai's hippest suburb, has evolved into one of the most happening dining destinations in the city. Hundreds of restaurants have come up in the neighborhood in the last decade, most concentrating on contemporary fare rather than traditional Indian food although there are some exceptions. Here's the pick of what to eat in Bandra West.
Designed to resemble a stately nobleman’s home that's lost in time, Pali Bhavan replaces the Boat Club next to Costa Coffee in Bandra West's Pali Naka. Vintage photographs, carved wooden furniture, and chandeliers have all been used to create a rustic yet elegant look. The restaurant opened in late 2012 and serves Indian cuisine with a twist. Its menu is undoubtedly eclectic. For example, daal vada (a popular south Indian street food made from chickpeas and lentils) served with green pea hummus dip, and pulao made with pine nuts and wild rice. There's a delectable range of curries from all over India on offer for main course. Don't miss trying the paan kulfi (paan flavored ice cream) or dark chocolate and Baileys rasgulla for dessert.
This cool breakfast and brunch restaurant in Bandra West was conceptualized by the same team as Pali Bhavan. It's housed in a converted furniture store tucked away next to legendary Janata bar on Pali Hill, and has a similar feel to Pali Bhavan with fabricated vintage interiors giving the ambiance of being in an old bungalow. What's different is the menu. It's European, with a variety of pastas, pizzas, grills, salads and sandwiches. Breakfast is served until 7 p.m. Those who are looking for something more substantial can choose from dishes such as peri peri lamb stew, herb chicken, and pan seared duck breast. And, of course, there is wine.
Ferry Wharf opened in Reclamation in 2017 and specializes in seafood from Mangalore in Karnataka. The owner's goal is to provide quality home-style seafood without the expensive prices. Although the restaurant's menu may be old-school, its interiors aren't. It has a nautical theme and has been designed to recreate the feeling of being aboard a boat. What's really fantastic is that each table is provided with a sample tray of dishes, so that guests can familiarize themselves with the cuisine and order what they like. If you're feeling hungry, get one of the fish thalis (platters) that come with two kinds of seafood dishes, a vegetable dish, chapatis (bread), and rice.
Homestyle Tamil Cuisine: Tanjore Tiffin Room
For more authentic home-style south Indian food in a classy setting (with gorgeous, earthy decor by acclaimed interior designer Shabnam Gupta) head to Tanjore Tiffin Room in Pali Hill. This award-winning new restaurant features cuisine from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, with many secret recipes sourced from the owner's family cookbook (such as Padmini's mutton cutlet and Pankajam's lamb chops). Diners are presented with a sampler of all the curries (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian) here too, so you can try before ordering. There's a concise but creative list of cocktails to accompany the food.
JLWA was created by Priyank Sukhija, one of the biggest restaurateurs in Delhi and the man behind Tamasha, so you know it will be something special. A classy restaurant by day and chic party place by night, expansive JLWA opened on Linking Road (a floor below Escobar) in mid 2017 and aims to revolutionize the scene in Bandra West. So, there's no need to go to multiple venues for good food and a good time. The menu mixes inventively prepared regional Indian dishes and European fare, inspired by the chef's cooking experiences while traveling. Try the The East India Company (thyme and lime scented chicken with sauteed vegetables and garlic scented upma). The cocktails are fantastic too.
If you love seafood and are willing to try new flavors with a modern Asian spin, Bastian is a must-visit in Bandra West. Although the restaurant takes its food seriously, it has a fun and quirky vibe. The restaurant's name comes from Sebastian the crab in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and there are big faux crab and crocodile replicas on its walls. Challenge yourself to eat the Sambal Crab Platter, piled high with a kilogram of crab cooked in fiery Malaysian sambal sauce. Don't bypass the bar because the resident mixologist creates some sublime tropical-inspired cocktails. Bastian is the only place in Mumbai where you can get the Polynesian Pearl Diver, which Leonardo DiCaprio drank in Quentin Tarantino's film Django Unchained. If you're there for Sunday brunch, you may even spot a Bollywood celebrity.
Hakkasan Mumbai offers outstanding Cantonese cuisine, led by Michelin-starred Executive Chef Tong Chee Hwee. The restaurant, which is one of 12 around the world, came to the city in 2011 and is situated on Waterfield Road in Bandra West. Some of the special dishes that are only available in Mumbai are prawn dumplings with tobiko and crab meat, braised lamb and aubergine claypot, and three style mushroom Guangzhou bun. Hakkasan is also one of the top restaurants for Sunday brunch in Mumbai. Don't skip trying the Mughal Martini cocktail, inspired by the biryani on Mohammed Ali Road in South Mumbai.
Celebrating a special occasion? For a novel experience, you can actually dine aboard a boat, albeit one that remains stationary. The AB Celestial (named after its owner, Aishwarya Bhende), is perfectly positioned near West Bandra's Reclamation promenade to provide a magnificent view across the Bandra-Worli Sealink bridge. The luxury yacht has three levels of entertainment space that incorporates sky lounge bar on the top deck and restaurant that serves food from around the world (including some Indian dishes). Go there when it opens at 6 p.m. for the sunset and linger on into the night. It's open until 3 a.m. on weekends and 1:30 a.m. on weekdays. Expect to pay a minimum of 2,500 rupees per person.
The Bagel Shop has a deceptively simple name. This buzzing cafe behind Carter Road serves more than just "Bread for Your Head," and is more like a creative community than a shop. Entrepreneurs, freelancers, filmmakers, writers and DJs all chill out in its rambling restored bungalow. The Bagel Shop is open for breakfast onward. However, have dinner there and try the East Indian specialties on the Queimada menu, which is a culinary tribute to the original inhabitants of the area.
Birdsong Organic Cafe, located in a lane off Hill Road near Ranwar Village, is an ideal place to stop for a bite to eat when exploring the street art in the neighborhood. The high ceilings of this bohemian cafe create a feeling of space and its huge windows let in an abundance of natural light. The owners are renowned for their baking. Although all the ingredients are organic, it's still possible to indulge in comfort food such as lasagna and pizza. There are plenty of gluten-free and vegan options on the menu too, and jaggery (unrefined sugar) is used as a sweetener. Wash it all down with a yummy juice or smoothie for extra goodness.
India's premium Brooke Bond Taj Mahal tea brand launched its own tea house in Bandra West in 2015, and it is quaint and inviting. As is common in the neighborhood, it occupies an old restored heritage bungalow, giving it the ideal setting to bring out the romance of tea. More than 40 varieties are on offer, with tea for everyone from trendy chai latte drinkers to those who'd prefer to sip on something more exotic. The teas are pared with food especially designed to complement them. Even the crockery has been exquisitely designed to enhance the experience. Customers can have an impromptu tea tasting session, enjoy a traditional high tea with scones, or relax with one of the books that are strewn around.