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Old 27th October 2022, 15:34   #1
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Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)


I was about to close on my NE travelogue when my cell rang, my sister called to say my niece was getting married, the ring ceremony happened in Dubai with wedding and reception to be followed in Mumbai over Diwali time. My feeble mind got thinking how amazing it would be if I could continue my Mumbai Cycle Breakfast run visiting those places I was recommended and had missed last time around.

First things first, to see a North Indian family pack for a wedding is an astounding event !! especially when you realise your spouse is a South Indian who gelled herself profoundly into the North Indian wedding drama and its surrounding trappings. Now in such a scenario suggesting my cycle to be packed along would have branded me a pariah so got asking buds and lucky me one guy smitten by my cycling endeavours had purchased a road bike but was utterly unused and he was more than willing to lend me for my stay, plus he was based a stone throw from hotel we were put up in, need more such buds across India for sure!! I did secretly carry my helmet and light though.

Maharashtrian weddings are disciplined affairs, they start early and finish early and do it all with no drama BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY there’s ‘Shrikhand’ (I don’t even have a sweet tooth but my heart melts on seeing Shrikhand), I was sceptical if it would be part of the menu but amongst my family (not immediate) I get a star treatment owing to background and all, so was relatively pleased when the father of the groom said ‘Brig saab no worries we got Shrikhand puri’ , I told my sister she was giving her daughter in perfect hands !!! had it not been for my hawkeyed wife I could have polished a dozen of them bowls but settled for 7!!

I broke itinerary as under (Veg Only so the famed Parsi joints were given a miss)

Saturday – Café Madras - Matunga
Sunday – Prakash, Dadar
Monday – Canon Paav Bhaaji - Fort
Tuesday- Kichadi Samrat, Girgaum
Wednesday- Samrat, Churchgate

Day 1 – café Madras - Matunga

I wanted to visit Gurukripa Sion, but I am averse to deep fried stuff and North Indians tend to believe Samosa is their game so should be had at blah blah blah places only, on this do I had to tread carefully though, my South Indian wife wouldn’t take it in stride if she gets wind that husband who complains on regularity of South Indian cuisine at home is basking in its glory at other places so I said I am off to have upma, but over the years I have come to realize at “I am off” part my wife finds 100% solace!!!

The Upma was amazing, they put cashews in it!! The idli was amazing too and so was the Mysore dosa and no I didn’t polish this all by myself, another bud from Colaba cycled along so it was 50-50!!
Cycling back in blazing sun was a task, especially from here to Colaba its just an open road with limited shade, however at every mile or so we bumped across a solo cyclist or a group so all in all it was fun riding back, unlike other places I cycled in Mumbai everyone greets one another on the road, to my surprise they said ‘Hello or Hi’ to me but ‘Hello Uncle’ to my bud, guess the cycling long hauls has worked it charms over my looks and overall bearing!!!

Amazing place, easy to locate, one can park his/her cycle nearby sans much of worries, the food is amazing, authentic, and tasty, it’s probably a very popular do as its quite crowded and folks normally order multiple dishes, so the crowd doesn’t per say move fast. The dishes we ordered were extremely tasty so must visit for anyone craving South Indian food

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Day 2 – Prakash - Dadar

Located in heart of Mumbai, so close to another super joint ‘Aswaad’ I had visited last time in Mumbai. I cycled all way visualizing a glass of ‘piyush’.

Easy to locate, cycles can be parked at restaurants doorstep as the guy at counter keeps watchful eye, I had ‘aalu vaadi, misaal and piyush’ and it was pure magic, every dish sumptuous to the core and it gets me thinking why there are no worthy Maharashtrian restaurants in North India, these three dishes alone can give those silly Momo joints a run for money. Simple restaurants which put their heart into cooking always dish excellent food and this place aces at that premise, the joint is extremely likeable, there was a bee line of crowds, that day being auspicious hoards had turned in authentic Marathi traditional wear, I was probably the only exception in a cycling gear.

Loved it, highly recommend it and for everyone who’s not a Maharashtrian ‘PIYUSH’ is the thing to go for, I had 5 glasses and I don’t even have a sweet tooth!!!

Interesting anecdote for the day
As I was digging in piyush happily smiling at plethora of crowds an elderly gentleman sitting beside got talking
Him – So you are a cyclist? Haven’t seen you around though?
Me – Yes sir, I am from Solan, here for a wedding so just making most of my mornings
Him – (laughing)
Another elderly gentleman joined and asked what was funny, so the first person said
Him – aare Chafekar yeh aapne hi biraadri ka hain, yahan shaadi pe aaya hain aur cycling ke naam pe chup chup ke Piyush pi raha hain !!(now both started laughing)

The two gents were retired Air Marshal and Air Vice Marshal respectively, behemoths of their time with the IAF, such men graced this do!!

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Day 3 – Canon Paav Bhaaji - Fort

No to deep fried samosa but ok with buttery paav bhaaji didn’t ring correct bells, though last time I visited ‘Sardar Paav Bhaaji’ I was impressed with the dish, and a few had mentioned to be trying this do, it’s just something on pavement so not exactly a restaurant per say.

I cycled along with dichotomy of sorts. Once there I told the person serving if he could get me something with no butter and no bread!!i think he might have had crazier requests than my asking so without battling an eyelid he came with the dish which he thought was what i asked for it was tasty but i did have tough time separating the handsome portion of butter swimming in it, when i came the do had just opened and within no time it got full so much so the serving person got more busier then the pope giving blessings!!

The do is 47 years old, the dish per say is mashed potatoes with stream of butter or cheese and few other assortments that keep you full but just like any other old restaurant which has stood the test of time the ethos matters the most. No matter how your day has gone or will go you are bound to leave this place content. The similar premise I had encountered at Mamledaar Misaal in Thane during my last visit and in similar manner I too left this place very happy. One must visit these places; they are worth it. No worries about the cycle you just stand over it and eat!!
There's one 'Kala Kattha House' a stone throws from the do where one can drink this real tasty stuff, i don't know what this is made off but did try a sip and enjoyed

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Day 4 -Kichadi Samrat - Girgaum

Interesting anecdote on Daal Kichadi
Capt. Toshniwal came in our lives in 2004, young dashing man from Rajasthan he was a quality material in every aspect and most importantly an amazing cook amongst the motley crew of culinary Misérables that we were, Tosh cooked some amazing food with very little at his disposition BUT most importantly he cooked marvellous daal kichadi, I don’t know how he did it but his cooked stuff would remain intact for large part of the tour, to eat it with home supplied pickle was magic and best part it didn’t affect out tummy (something very very important when you are patrolling insect infected areas of NE rain forest). Tosh would say Daal Kichadi is perfect meal for us, Lentils gave proteins and Rice gave Carbs!! Bought that and that’s what started my long association with the dish, even today I educate people that Daal Kichadi is amazing as Lentils give proteins and Rice gives Carbs!!!

Finding this place is not easy to a newbie, google lady does help but not in entirety and the name, coz if you ask “Kichadi Samrat” they just look unfazed as real name is ‘Shri Vrindavan Bhavan Kichadi Samrat’ the old timers rather call it Vrindavan Bhavan. Now once you make it there its impossible to find a spot to park cycle, there are multiple two wheelers parked so I asked one of the shop keepers if I can chain my cycle to one and he just nodded, whether he meant Yes or No or Hey pal that’s not my two wheeler’ I don’t know but when I returned eating both my cycle and the two wheeler were very much there!!

The do is small, not so hygienic but I think Mr. Ambani (senior) was a regular visitor when he stayed nearby, however the food tells another tale altogether, its tasty, the ‘Palaak Lasuni Daal Kichadi’ I had was extremely tasty, I packed ‘Kathiwadi Kichadi’ for evening snack and that turned out to be equally amazing, the place is a must visit but one might come by public transport or just a cab, parking is a serious task. Excellent food truly must visit place.

Interesting anecdote on Marine Drive
This must have been 2002, those days I was stationed in Mumbai, being habituated to long runs I did start early by 4am running from Colaba to NCPA to Worli Naka and back. These were pre-Mumbai Marathon times, so the streets were visibly empty barring a few runners I spotted during the return leg. Now over a week I thought of making the runs bit more exciting, so I packed my haversack with books and water bottles till it weighed around 13 odd kgs (I was habituated to run with a 30kg sandbag hence this wasn’t that alien of an idea) and decided to run with it.

I might have crossed NCPA when the local cop / beat marshal Constable Haldankar (that’s only time I heard that surname so remained intact in memory) stopped me and asked where was a I headed to so early in the morning and that too with a bag, my decree of explanation got him confused (wont blame him) so he asked me to open the bag and on seeing books he exclaimed “Pustaak chor” (book thief)!!! The next 30 odd mins as I stood in patience Constable Haldankar got into all the channels on walkie talkie network to check if any bookstore had been looted early mornings or late nights, he even got beat marshals check the majestic book depot from back entrance to ensure there’s been no break-in!! Lucky for me nothing of that sort had happened but our mutual unease continued so I suggested either he takes me to the station and hands me over to Military police (oh I wasn’t carrying I card on me) OR I ride with him to the base and he verifies my credentials, sensibility prevailing Haldankar took me to the base and verified all the necessities before letting me go with a request not to repeat such adventure if possible!!

Now I am habituated to look at positives so as I stood there watching the constable trying his best efforts to ensure no robbery was to go unnoticed even on comparatively trivial stuff like books, I couldn’t help appreciating his tenacity and how he carried out his responsibilities at wee hours of the morning. Even if 50% of force were as diligent as Constable Haldankar was there was every reason to believe Mumbai was in safe hands.

Every day I would take the same route running (sans the bag) but never encountered steadfast Constable Haldankar, today while cycling across Marine drive seeing a beeline of cops and runners mingling with each other the memory jogged along.

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Day 5 – Samrat – Churchgate

My first tryst with Gujrati cuisine
Cmdr Amrut Dekhtawala was my neighbour in Mumbai, he was newly married, and his mother had come to stay along probably to judge the new bride and teach her a thing or two about cooking. Every evening as I made home tired the aroma from neighbours kitchen was unavoidable, I would keep the door open eating my sad food mixed with their cooking aroma!!! I couldn’t resist, so one fine day self-invited myself to their place for weekend lunch, Dekhta was happy and Dekhta’s mother was on the moon, so she cooked a variety of dishes and spreads. I can’t explain enough how elated a bachelor accustomed to bachelor cooked meal was. I probably gained a pound or two walking out post lunch & from that day any & every leftover from Dekhta household was my property!!! That was my tryst with Gujrati cuisine, and I am its big fan.

Today was ‘Bhaidooj’, with wedding proceedings all complete my sister suggested we three siblings go out for lunch and so I suggested this place and boy what an amazing decision that turned out to be. Over the years my elder siblings have gotten accustomed to a few of my idiosyncrasies, so they weren’t entirely surprised to see me arrange two cycles from hotel staff (that’s best part about Mumbai, everyone helps you just need to ask), we cycled to Churchgate albeit the blazing sun did play mischief with my siblings who were cycling at snails pace probably cursing me more than the sun!!
The food, wow, simply wow but let me help one understand better. I knew of this General who whenever he visited any base would do so in lunch hours, the moment he alighted his vehicle he’d head straight to the Jawans mess and interact with them for long, he would spend some real quality time interacting not just mumbling like a parrot and then he would head to the kitchen and tell the cooks “Kya khoob khaana banaya aapne, badhiya, bahut baadhiya’, the fun part was the man didn’t eat a single morsel but he would gauge the quality just by watching jawans eat!! Today seeing my siblings faces polishing dishes after dishes as if they’d cycled eternity to reach here reminded of that incident!!!

This place is amazing the spread is large and just like Shree Thackers Bhojnalaay I had visited last time the person serving really wants one to try every dish being served, they feel kind of bad if you say No before trying. That’s what impresses me the most, the ethos of the do, keep people happy as whatever they might have gone through reaching here, they MUST leave happy and content. Excellent place, highly recommended.

Cycling back with two folks who had eaten a lot more than they normally did was another task.

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Thus ended my short trip to Mumbai, enjoyed it thoroughly. Trust was a good read.

Last edited by tatafanatic : 27th October 2022 at 15:43.
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Old 27th October 2022, 18:58   #2
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

Originally Posted by tatafanatic View Post
Thus ended my short trip to Mumbai, enjoyed it thoroughly. Trust was a good read.
Fabulous and valuable reading as always, the anecdotes never disappoint
Second your thoughts on the type of food joints although finding such on a short notice is a challenge but thanks to this thread (and some others) Mumbai seems covered.
Have made a note of the places, if/when I find myself there.

Ditto on Constable Haldankar
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Old 27th October 2022, 19:38   #3
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

Wow, for me that was nice window shopping on a variety of foods, that plastered an ear to ear grin. But that's where it ended. All that I can say to the folks who are reading, enjoy while you can, i.e. before your age, blood tests and doctors, put all kinds of restrictions.
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Old 28th October 2022, 09:34   #4
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

I started reading this just after my breakfast and I am hungry again.
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Old 28th October 2022, 11:56   #5
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

Anecdotes, fragrance of amazing food at down-to-earth 'do's as you call them. What else does one need to begin a great Friday!

+1 to shrikhand as an absolute must-try in Maharashtra, sweet tooth is optional.
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Old 28th October 2022, 17:08   #6
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

Originally Posted by tatafanatic View Post
…Thus ended my short trip to Mumbai, enjoyed it thoroughly. Trust was a good read.
Nicely done Sir.

I thoroughly enjoyed your humour. In fact, I enjoyed your initiative more than I did your humour.

It is something to be an invested explorer; that too in ways that involve serious physical exertion; and that too repeatedly.

That said, I will have to disagree with you on the merit of most of the establishments you visited. As a diehard Mumbaikar and even more of a diehard foodie, I have made it a mission of sorts to frequent most of these places over many years. And it is my experience that almost all of them are prospering purely on the weight of their reputations from previous years. Just a few months ago, I caught a bad itch for batata vada. Once that happens, I typically can’t have a moment’s peace until I scratch it. So off I went battling peak hour traffic to Sri Krishna in Dadar West. It is one of those old and joints famous for its batata vada which they stubbornly sell without the Pav. As always, I enjoyed their stubbornness in their choices. So, I placed my order and waited in feverish anticipation for the longest 30 seconds. Once I bit into the food though, I was handed a reality check - hardly any garlic, very little salt, sweetish potatoes… basically just a lump with almost no flavour. All I had to show for that outing was a burnt mouth. I was disappointed. More importantly, I was filled with self-doubt and started to think that maybe the issue is with me and my palette. A week later, my cousin sister was visiting us and the topic turned to streetfood (it runs in the family you see). I suggested that we visit Sri Krishna just so that I can get a second opinion. My sis immediately shot back, “that place has gone down the drain. I ate there last month and had to spit half the food out.” That was the validation I needed.

This experience was repeated with the Pav Bhaji place at Tardeo (just a pile of mush with salt and butter) and also al Mamledaar in Thane (low viscosity gravy with very few (countable) lentils). The list of places of disillusionment went on and on for me over the last few years.

The good thing about all this is that I have now been liberated from the food fiend within me who used to take up so much management bandwidth. Now I feel no urge to go anywhere to eat anything. This has truly allowed me to focus on my health with quality home cooked food. Once the food genie leaves, a whole new world opens up. That is for sure.

Just so you know, I don’t like being a contrarian. But, I am not afraid to be one either; because the only merit in forums like this is our unvarnished personal opinion. There really is no point in being agreeable for its own sake.

And oh, one more thing. Thank you for your service.

Last edited by mohansrides : 28th October 2022 at 17:16.
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Old 28th October 2022, 19:10   #7
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

Shree Thakers has been disappointing for me to be honest. I would recommend Status instead and add Vinay health home to the mix. And while at Matunga, adding Sharda Bhuvan and Udupi Krishna thali app Matunga station as well. Happy cycling and chomping!
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Old 29th October 2022, 08:05   #8
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

Foodie's paradise! Thank you for sharing.
I am curious to see your bikes.
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Old 29th October 2022, 15:53   #9
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

If you are interested in Gujarati / Marwadi cuisine you should try out Soam opp Babulnath mandir, Mumbai
Since someone mentioned Misal, the best I have had is Sadhana Chulivarchi Misal on Gangapur-Satpur road, Nashik

They are cities apart but both of them like Status have managed to maintain their quality standards over the years.

Last edited by dvl666 : 29th October 2022 at 15:56. Reason: Added some information
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Old 6th November 2022, 17:43   #10
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Re: Breakfast Cycling Around Mumbai (Diwali Special)

Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
Foodie's paradise! Thank you for sharing.
I am curious to see your bikes.
I ride Marin Nicasio, however in Mumbai had borrowed Triban RC100
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