Back when I was a Delhi-dweller, I always felt a tad bit jealous of the way people in Bombay talked about the city; the je ne sais quoi, the laid back attitude, the cosmopolitan food. Every time an opportunity took me to Bombay, I indulged in the city. I talked to street vendors peddling their wares, to baristas in coffee shops, to the cabbies I rode with, and every time, the chalta hai way of life in the “city of dreams” shone through.
24 hours might be too short to experience that spirit of Bombay, but they certainly can give you a flavor of the city, literally and figuratively. These recommendations are compiled from my various trips, and focus on the western suburbs of the city:
WHERE TO STAY
- JW Marriott, Juhu. Facing the waters of the Arabian Sea, JW Marriott is pure indulgence. Unlike most luxury hotels in Bombay, it takes great pride in its chefs, resulting in some of the best fine dining alternatives in the city – Thai at Spices, Spanish at Arola, Indian at Saffron. The rooms are spacious yet cosy, many with glass panels overlooking Juhu Beach.
- Svenska Design Hotel, Andheri. A boutique hotel with chic designer rooms, an iPad and a Wii for in-room use, complimentary foot or back massage, rainforest showers, mood lighting and free Wifi, Svenska is a great alternative to explore Bombay.
- Indigo Deli, Andheri. A cosy cafe with a sumptuous breakfast to shake off those early morning blues. Try their all day eggy breakfast or the artisan sandwiches for a hearty start to the day.
- Bombay Baking Company, Juhu. There’s no better way to while away a lazy monsoon morning than at JW Marriott’s own signature bakery, BBC. I tried the grilled veggie sandwich and fruit crepes, which oozed with freshness. It’s also a great place for stargazing (the Bollywood types) in the early hours; I spotted a certain khiladi there!
- Silver Beach Cafe, Juhu. A chic cafe with a wine cellar, wooden flooring, glass panels, and an open kitchen, Silver Beach Cafe sits cosily in a neighborhood that makes you reminisce about Capri in Italy! I hear their focaccia sandwiches and ratatouille risotto are to die for.
- Global Fusion, Bandra. A massive buffet of all oriental cuisines – Singaporean, Thai, Malaysian, Indian Chinese, Japanese, you name it. What better way to unwind over a slow lunch, or while away a lazy Sunday?
- Chocolateria San Churro, Bandra. Hot chocolate and free Wifi; what else could a digital nomad like me ask for? For the conversation weary souls, they also offer the use of iPads to surf on while indulging in chocolate con churros, a sweet treat straight from Spain.
JUST TO CHILL BY THE SEA
- Aurus, Juhu. Its romantic, alfresco setting right by the Arabian Sea is reason enough for a visit, especially during sunset or under the moonlit skies. Then there are exotic cocktails to sample, like the Tangy and Pear-tini.
- Vie Lounge, Juhu. A beach cafe by day, a romantic sunset spot by evening, and a chic seaside lounge by night. They say their mediterranean food is a must try!
FOR A DRINK and TAPAS
- Escobar, Bandra. The longest bar in India with an alfresco terrace, this is the place to be seen on a true blue Bombay night. Dress in your finest, sip those delicious martinis, and know that this is the namesake of a Colombian drug lord, whose life you’re temporarily living up!
- Arola, Juhu. Transport yourself to Spain at this tapas bar; think patata bravas, sangria and gin cocktails, a female DJ, and lots of eye candy!
- Moshe’s, Bandra. If you’re in the mood for a chilled out dinner with conversation, Moshe’s is the place. Feast on falafel wraps, eggplant sandwiches, fresh blended juices, and homemade chocolate cookies like I did.
- Pali Village Cafe, Pali Hill. Set in an old, restored bungalow, it’s hard to describe the rustic and laid back, yet chic ambiance of Pali Village Cafe. Their continental fare is delicious, but the real cherry on the cake is their chocolate fondant.
Over to you, what would you recommend trying (or doing) within 24 hours in Bombay?
Featured image by Thangaraj Kumaravel.