Mumbai Journals

Mumbai aka Bombay

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A July 2004 trip to Mumbai by Kamla Srinivasan

Bombay Baking Company at JW Marriott Photo, Mumbai, India More Photos
Quote: Mumbai, also known as Bombay, is a sprawling megapolis that is the commercial capital of India.

Mumbai aka Bombay

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Overview

Taj Hotel Photo, Mumbai, India
Quote:
Bombay is the commercial capital of India and home to the oldest stock exchange in Asia. Bombay is also home to Bollywood, a name for the location of the Hindi film industry. The city reminds me of New York City, since it has the same sense of urgency, vibrancy, and speed. It took me a while, but I have come to enjoy Bombay, the sprawling metropolis on the West Coast of India. Bombay comes from the Portuguese words bom (good) and bahai (bay), and is a city rich in history. You can see vestiges of each group that were present in this city over the centuries: Maharashtrian, Portuguese, British, and Parsi. The southern part of Bombay is referred to as "town" and consists of...Read More

The Leela Kempinski

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Hotel

Quote:
The Leela is one of the older hotels near the Bombay International Airport. It is truly a nice experience to stay at this hotel. We have stayed at this hotel many times, and once for an extended period of time. The hotel is bit on the expensive side, so make sure that you ask for their best rates when you book the rooms. During the monsoon season, you might be able to get a good package that includes breakfast. And their breakfast is a fantastic spread that can tide you over until dinner. One time, we were assigned a room right above the discotheque, and the staff mercifully have us a different room for the next day. The hotel has a nice foyer that opens out into a big lounge...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 7, 2005

The Leela Kempinski
ANDHERI KURLA ROAD SAHAR
Mumbai, India
91-2256911234

Renaissance Mumbai

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Hotel | "Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Centre"

Quote:
The Renaissance is located far from the maddening crowd on the lakes of Lake Powai. We have stayed at this hotel a bunch of times and have always enjoyed our stay. It is amazing how quiet and peaceful this hotel is when compared to its sister property, the JW Marriott in Juhu. The JW is a veritable zoo, and the noise level can be deafening at times. Try and get a lakeside room if you can. You can usually get a free breakfast with your room. The front desk staff is extremely friendly, and they keep plying you with handmade chocolates as you wait to collect your keys. The single rooms in this hotel come equipped with a coffee machine, complimentary sachets of tea and coffee, fruits, and water. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2005

Renaissance Mumbai
2 3B CHINMAYANAND ASHRAM POWAI
Mumbai, India 400087
91-22-5692-8888

Spaghetti Kitchen

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Restaurant

Quote:
After a hot and tiring few hours of shopping in the blazing sun, we had a hankering for a nice Italian meal. We walked into the cool interiors of Spaghetti Kitchen at the Phoenix Mills mall to satisfy our craving for Italian food. The restaurant had a nice decor and ambience, and we got a place to sit right away. We got a corner table that provided us a nice vantage point to survey all the diners. But the nice part of the dining experience stopped right there. After this, it was a downhill journey with poor service that continued to progressively decline with every passing minute. The menu is rather extensive and consists of pastas, risottos, seafood, and breads of various kinds. They had rather ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 24, 2005

Spaghetti Kitchen
Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel
Mumbai, India

Bombay Baking Company at JW Marriott

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Restaurant

Bombay Baking Company at JW Marriott Photo, Mumbai, India
Quote:
The Bombay Baking Company, or BBC as it is popularly known, is the bakery cum deli at JW Marriott in Juhu. The deli reminds me of a nice upscale deli in the US. This is the place to go if you want your fix of brownies, bagels and cheese cream, cookies, sandwiches, coffee served up in different ways or salad. You can also pick up a loaf of bread (various kinds), but they get sold pretty fast. I found out that this is a great place to hang out, relax, and indulge in some people-watching (you can catch some well-known movie actors hanging around this place) or browse through the books and magazine section located within the deli. This is one of my favorite places to sit, nosh, and ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 24, 2005

Bombay Baking Company at JW Marriott
Juhu Tara Road, Juhu
Mumbai, India

Badshah Kulfi

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Restaurant | "Badshah Kulfi, Best Kulfi Place in Bombay"

Badshah Kulfi Photo, Mumbai, India
Quote:
Badshah Kulfi is a 100-year-old institution and a landmark in southern Mumbai. Ask any food loving Bombayite on where the best kulfis are sold and their unhesitating reply is always, "Badshah Kulfi." Kulfi is a concoction of milk, cream, sugar, nuts, and saffron that is thickened, then chilled, and served either by itself or in a sauce of thickened milk and falooda. (Note: the Indian version of falooda is very different from the Persian dish.) Besides kulfi, this place also serves vegetarian snacks and juices, but people flock to this place primarily for its kulfi falooda. If you are anywhere near the vicinity of Crawford Market, th...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 11, 2005

Badshah Kulfi
Near Crawford Market
Mumbai, India

Souk

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Restaurant | "Souk in Taj"

Quote:
The Souk is the Middle Eastern restaurant at the Taj. The restaurant is located on the top floor of the hotel and provides a stunning view of the murky Arabian Sea. Just before the monsoons or during the monsoons, if you happen to be dining in the restaurant, you can see the high tide at sea. We have eaten a number of times at this restaurant, and this is one of the better places that serves a good and limited selection of Middle Eastern food. You can either eat from the buffet or order a la carte. And actually, the buffet works out better. The buffet has a series of cold and hot starters that includes different types of salads and soups, along with the standard fare of hummus and baba ganou...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 3, 2005

Souk
The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower
Mumbai, India

Masala Bay, Taj Lands End

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Restaurant

Quote:
Masala Bay at Taj Land's End has an eclectic decor, with a combination of shocking and cool colors. The restaurant has an open kitchen where you can watch food being prepared.The big plus in this restaurant was that the service was prompt and the staff was willing to make a dish with less oil. In fact they made a dish that was not featured in the menu. They also replaced our order of raita when we told them that it was too sweet for our tastes. They replaced the raita with a new bowl of raita with no sugar added to it.The restaurant has an extensive menu with lots of seafood dishes from various regions like Andhra, Maharashtra, Keral, and Goa. We decided to order simple dishes ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 10, 2006

Masala Bay, Taj Lands End
Bandra
Mumbai, India

Shopping in Bandra and Santa Cruz

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Attraction

Shopping in Bandra and Santa Cruz Photo, Mumbai, India
Quote:
The names to remember when you are in this part of the city are SV Road and Linking Road. Both these roads will serve as landmarks for your shopping experience. I have done this circuit a few times now and know the beat, and I also know when to shop in these areas. Shop on weekdays between 11am and 4 pm and you will have a relatively good time. Bandra and Santa Cruz are right next to each other. Shopping in these areas can drain your energy and leave you feeling very tired. Avoid these places during the rainy season, as the roads get horribly flooded. Santa Cruz Market is close to SV Road and crammed with street hawkers and regular shops. I found that Seasons is a good store to shop fo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 7, 2005

Shopping in Bandra and Santa Cruz
West Santa Cruz Station, Santa Cruz
Mumbai, India

Quote:
Getting directions in India can be a gnarly experience. Be sure that if you have to get somewhere, you have a cell phone handy and a knowledgeable person to drive you around. If you are used to directions from Yahoo, forget that useful tool! It doesn’t work here. The reason why it is a frustrating experience to get directions is that, for starters, maps are hardly used, and combine that with the fact that street names are hardly used. The best guide for charting the choppy, potholed roads is to look for landmarks. Awhile ago, I had to visit an extended family member in Juhu in Bombay and got details on how to reach their place, complete with the number of traffic signals, the...Read More

Great Bread in Bandra

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Bread Boutique is the latest bread place that has opened for business in upscale Bandra. In my quest to find a good loaf of bread, I have braved many traffic congestions and travelled far to get the right loaf. And I believe I have found a good place in Bread Boutique. (Word of caution: this is a new place, and they might be romancing the customers with good-quality stuff. I have to wait and see if they continue to sustain their quality.) This is a tiny place with enough room for two tables and chairs. What they don't have in space, they make up for in what they offer. They offer various kinds of bread: wheat-grain, 7-grain, soya, pita, focaccia, etc. You can either buy them as regular loaves or e...Read More

Eating Out in Bombay - Some Suggestions

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Story/Tip

Fresh Juice Stall Photo, Mumbai, India
Quote:
Bombay is filled with hawkers, restaurants, and upscale eating joints. The interesting thing is that Bombay caters to both strict vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and eating joints tend to maintain a fairly strict distinction in some places. If you are not used to Indian street food, then I would urge you to be careful, to stick to well-known restaurants, and to order bottled water when you eat out. If you are a tourist, then chances are that you will stay confined to south Bombay, near Colaba, where the favorite hangout place is the ever-popular Leopold Cafe. Apparently, you can even get a chance to appear in a Bollywood film. Agents come scouting for talent at this café. Kulfi fal...Read More
Area Around Chor Bazar Photo, Mumbai, India
Quote:
Chor Bazaar Chor Bazaar literally means a thieves' bazaar. The local myth has it that this is the place where people came to sell their stolen goods. Today you can buy a mixture of old and new stuff at the bazaar. Local people will urge you to take a dekho at this place, but will warn you to look out and be careful. There is a popular saying that if you go to shop in chor bazaars, don’t be surprised if you find your car tires being sold in one of the shops! These few sentences are more than enough food for your brain to go on over-drive. Right there your mind starts to conjure up images, and you start to wonder if you should go anywhere this place. Put your knee-jerk reactions and instan...Read More

Mangaldas Market, near Crawford Market

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Last year there was a wedding in our extended family in Bombay, and I was dazzled by the clothes that the bride had chosen. No, not the bridal clothes, but the nice everyday outfits that one can get to wear in India, other than the boring trouser-and-shirt combination. Yes, you can dress it up with a nice pair of pumps or accessories, but it does not come close to the colorful Indian outfits. Unable to contain my curiosity, I asked the new bride where she got her selection of outfits, and she had two words, "Mangaladas Market." I had vague recollections of having read about the market and had been dissuaded by many not to go there. "Oh, it is too crowded and you won't be able to make it through the...Read More
Quote:
If you are ever posted to Mumbai and looking for a place to stay, try Hiranandani Gardens in Powai. Located opposite IIT, Mumbai, Hiranandani is a modern, self-contained complex that consists of high-rise flats, hospital, school, shopping center, and offices. In addition, Hiranandani has the biggest go-kart ground in India (and possibly in Asia). The reason this place is ideal is that the residents of this complex do not have to trudge to south Mumbai for their shopping or dining out. The complex has a series of shops that cater to the needs of the people. What is more, you can call the shops and they will deliver grocery to your door-step. The local branch of Crosswords bookstores will also delive...Read More