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Location Guide






City in Brief

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.

 

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Wining & Dining

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.

INEXPENSIVE

Bademiya, 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.

Kailash Parbat, 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.

Majestic, 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.

New Martin, 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.

MODERATE

Alps, Nawroji Fardunji Rd. Trendy, ersatz American restaurant serving lamb burgers, fries, sizzling steaks and copious ''mixed grills''.

Baghdadi, 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.

Cafe Mondegar, 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.

Leopold's, 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.

EXPENSIVE

Golden Gate, 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.

Ling's Pavillion, 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.


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Area Map

 

RESTAURANTS

1. Khyber

2. Wayside Inn

3. Chetana

4. Copper Chimmey

5. Samovar

6. Golden Gate

7. Majestic

9. Cafe Mondegar

10. Delhi Durbar

11. Bademiya Kebabwallah

12. Baghdadi

13. Alps

14. Leopold's

15.Olympic Coffee House

16. Palkhi

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 for sale.

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.


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