Mumbai, traces its history of food to the growth of this city from fishing villages to a cosmopolitan. As it welcomed people from all walks of life, with dreams of making big in the ‘City of Dreams’, along came with them their culinary treasures. And that resulted in assorted cooking styles and foods that make Mumbai the street food heaven that it is.
No one ever goes hungry in this city, from the economically priced vada-pav, to the idlis and vadas served with chutney every morning by vendors riding bicycles, the pohe and upma served pipping hot, to the chaats and sugarcane juice, this list is never ending.
On Saturday, February 4th Sodexo Benefits &Rewards India organised their first ever CXO food walk with Kalyan Karmakar, of The Finely Chopped blog and author of The Travelling Belly. The walk was around the theme of ‘Working Man’s Lunch’ and Kalyan with his experience of working in the Fort area of Mumbai in his initial years in the city and being the foodie that he is, was the apt guide. He had chalked out a walk for us which comprised of four places, all of which find a mention in his newly launched book.
We kicked off this food walk by visiting Ideal Corner in Fort, owned by Mr Parvez Irani. The berry pulao, pulao with dhansak and kewabs, akoori with pav and raspberry sodas. Kalyan informed us how Ideal Corner once upon a time used to be a motorcycle dealership shop, given Mr Parvez’s fascination with bikes. One old model still lies in the eatery next to where he sits. Two passions combined – food and bikes!
Next we moved on to Pradeep Gomantak, right across the road. I being a vegetarian and a fan of Parsi food had already stuffed myself just at the beginning of the walk, which kept me from tasting the food here. But in my defence, this place is best known for it’s non-vegetarian food. The others devoured the food here while I looked on and earnestly clicked pictures of the tempting food. This place is not very spacious and mostly one has to share their table with others. They serve authentic Malvani cuisine for very affordable prices.
From here, the group with their almost full bellies, travelled to Harish Lunch Home, in the vicinity. Here too, like our previous stop, there wasn’t much to offer for a vegetarian like me, but from what I heard, their Mangalorean cuisine is very famous and has earned them a very loyal customer base. The owner, a young Mr Girish enthusiastically served plates after plates of their delicacies, which of course was polished off in a jiffy by our enthusiastic foodie bunch!
Our last stop for this trail was to be Taste of Kerala, a place I was looking forward to the most and boy I wasn’t disappointed. We were served delicious, pipping hot Sadhya here. Sadhya means banquet in Malayali and is traditionally a meal served on banana leaves. It is a vegetarian meal prepared specially for auspicious occasions, and this was no less. I especially loved the avial and the malabari porotta which was flaky, buttery and really soft. This is a place I think I’ll soon be returning to.
These food walks are a unique, yet an amazing way to rediscover the city you live in. Most of us have been part of Mumbai for decades and yet we discover something new about the city every time you accept to see it from someone else’s eyes.
In spite of spending years in these familiar areas, the places that we ate at were new to me and so was the food. So, I urge you all to take a day out of your busy schedules and discover/re-discover your city through a new perspective (or ask us, and we’d help you to!)