Between the airports to the north and the
southern tip of Bombay lies a thirty-kilometre long, seething mass
of streets, suburbs and relentless traffic. Even during the relatively
cool winter months, exploring it can be hard work, requiring plenty
of pit stops at cold drink stalls along the way. The best place
to start is down at the far south end of the peninsula in Colaba,
home to most of the hotels, restaurants and best-known sights, including
the Gateway of India.
Fifteen minutes walk north takes you past
the Prince of Wales Museum to the Fort area, home
of all the banks and big stores, plus the cream of Bombay's ostentatious
Raj-era buildings. The extravagant Victoria Terminus overlooks
its northern limits, close to the impressive onion-dome of the GPO.
The hub of the suburban train network, Churchgate station,
stands 4km west, across the big maidans that scythe through the
centre of town. Churchagate, and the tourist office, is a
stone's throw from the sweeping curve of Back Bay.
With Nariman Point's skyscrapers at
one end, lively Chowpatty Beach and affluent apartment blocks
of Malabar Hill at the other, the Bay is Bombay at its snazziest.
But the area immediately north and east is ramshackle and densely
populated. The central bazaars extend from Crawford Market,
beyond VT station, right up to J Boman ( JB ) Behram Marg,
opposite the other mainline train station, Bombay Central.
In keeping with its cosmopolitan credentials,
Bombay ( and Colaba above all ) is crammed with interesting places
to eat and drink, whether you fancy splashing out on a buffet lunch
with a view from a flashy 5 star revolving restaurant, or simply
tucking into piping hot roti kebab by gaslight in the street.
Restaurants, bars and cafes are listed below
by district. The most expensive restaurants, particularly in the
top hotels, will levy '' service charges'' that can add 30 percent
to the price of your meal. Phone numbers have been given where we
recommend you reserve a table for dinner.
behind the Taj on Tulloch Rd. Legendary Colaba kebab-wallah; delicious
flame grilled chicken, mutton and fish steaks, in hot tandoori rotis,
from benches on the sidewalk.
1 Pasta lane, near Strand cinema. The outside doesn't look much,
but the pure veg nibbles, hot snacks and sweets are worth the walk.
Try their famous makai-ka ( corn ) rotis.
near Regal cinema, Colaba Causeway. Large, traditional south Indian
joint patronized by off-duty taxi wallahs, junior office staff and
backpackers. Among the best value in this price range.
near Strand cinema, Strand Rd. Unpromising formica booths, but famed
for delicious Goan dishes such as prawn pulao, sausages, pork vindaloo
and spicy fish curry. Does take aways.
Olympic Coffee House,
1 Colaba Causeway. Old fashioned, fin-de-siecle Iranian cafe with
marble table tops, wooden wall panel and a mezzanine floor for ''ladies''.
Decor more alluring than the menu of greasy meat dishes, but nonetheless,
a good place for a coffee break.
Nawroji Fardunji Rd. Trendy, ersatz American restaurant serving
lamb burgers, fries, sizzling steaks and copious ''mixed grills''.
Tulloch Rd. Male dominated place famous for its meat: mostly mutton
and chicken steeped in spicy garlic sauce. Chauffeurs pick up take
aways for their bosses in the Taj from here.
Delhi Durbar, Colaba Causeway ( 202
0235 ). Popular branch of reputed Grant Rd restaurant specializing
in classic Mughlai food with some vegetarian and Chinese alternatives.
Biriyanis still cooked in traditional way - slowly over charcoal
fire. Very reasonable prices.
5a Colaba Causeway, next to the Regal cinema. Small, Western style
cafe-bar serving snacks ( including tasty pizza ) and light meals.
Draught beer, by the pitcher or glass, loud CD juke box and murals
by a famous Goan cartoonist are the main attractions, though the
small tables can make life difficult for women on their own.
Colaba Causeway. Colaba's most famous cafe-bar is determinedly Western,
with a clientele and prices to match. 400 items on the menu from
scrambled eggs to '' drunken chicken'', washed down with cold beer.
Madam Cama Rd, next to YWCA ( 202 6306 ). Classy a/c restaurant,
best known for its buffet salad lunches. Also north Indian dishes,
plus seafood and Chinese.
19 / 21 Lansdowne Rd, behind Regal cinema ( 285 0023 ). Swanky Chinese
restaurant; soft lighting, marble floors and gourmet Cantonese Cuisine.
Menage a Trois, Taj Hotel ( 202 3366
). Fussy French (nouvelle ) cuisine - hors d'oeuvres and desserts
only. Very expensive.
Palkhi, Walton Rd ( 284 0079 ). Over
the top, quasi-medieval decor and traditional Mughlai cooking for
the health-conscious ( lighter on oil and spices ). Lots of veg
options too. Very reasonable.
Tanjore, Taj Hotel ( 202 3366 ). Opulent
interior, rich Mughlai cuisine and classical Indian music and dance
in the evening. Expense account prices.
2. Wayside Inn
4. Copper Chimmey
6. Golden Gate
9. Cafe Mondegar
10. Delhi Durbar
11. Bademiya Kebabwallah
15.Olympic Coffee House
17. New Martin
Bentley's being in Colaba makes it a handy
base, a short ride to the city's main commercial districts, railway
stations and tourist offices. It also offers more in the way of
food and entertainment than neighbouring districts, especially along
its busy main thoroughfare, '' Colaba Causeway '' ( Shahid
Bhagat Singh - SBS - Marg ). Bars and clubs here tend to close by
1am, causing a mass exodus to the all-night coffee shops at luxury
hotels.If you are looking to splurge, try the Taj Mahal Hotel, which
is walking distance from Bentley's.
The streets immediately south and west of
the Gateway of India, this Indianized triumphal arch stands
guard over the harbor. Down at the southernmost end of Bentley's
stands the 19th - century Afghan Church, built to commemorate
the soldiers who died to keep the Khyber Pass British. The Jehangir
Art Gallery is a short ride from Benetley's, ( Mon - Fri 10am
to 5 pm ) is Bombay's best known venue for contemporary art, with
five small galleries specializing in twentieth century arts and
crafts from around the world. You never know what you are going
to find - most exhibitions last only a week and exhibits are often
North from here leads to a part of M.G. Road
known as Fashion Street, an endless chain of street stalls
selling cheap and disorientingly similar merchandise, bargaining
is expected. For those who need a hiatus from haggling, regionally
produced handicrafts are marketed at Central Cottage Industries
Emporium, near Bentley's, whose size and central location make
it the single best all around place to hunt for souvenirs and you
are guaranteed good quality and reasonably fair prices. The more
upscale Bombay Store, formerly Known as the Bombay Swadeshi Store,
like a department store specializing in '' ethnic '' merchandise.
The wholesale seafood market at Sasson Docks,
a kilometre or so so south of central, provides an unexpected splash
of rustic colour amid the drab urban surroundings.