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Mumbai, India: The best lunch spots

By Sandy Bornstein 12 February 2020

Header image courtesy of O Pedro

Choosing a lunch spot in a megacity like Mumbai can be overwhelming. Eateries catering to visitors and expats are often found near tourist attractions and office parks. Depending on the weather and where you are touring, lunch can either be a quick bite or a relaxing departure from a hectic schedule. Either way, Mumbai’s restaurant scene offers an abundance of options worth exploring.

In between exploring some of Mumbai’s notable landmarks— the Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Chhatrapati Shiva Vastu Sangrahlaya (Prince of Wales Museum), Jehangir Art Gallery, or the National Gallery of Modern Art—look for this potpourri of restaurants and cafés for a midday break. Keep in mind that these places can be busy during peak times. Here are seven diverse lunch spots for appetites big and small alike:

Sequel Bistro

The spacious, airy dining area in the Kala Ghoda location has seating at large and small wooden tables surrounded by folding chairs with wooden seats. The chef at the Sequel endorses “a way of life that embraces eating clean and nutrient-dense food without compromising on taste, texture, or flavour.” Their prep area does not have any gluten, preservatives or refined sugar, and their menu states the source of their produce.

Small plates and salads dominate the multi-page menu, which also showcases wholesome cold-pressed juices, an assortment of vegan teas, natural smoothies, probiotic drinks, and coffees. Sequel Bistro also caters to the market that loves breakfast all day. A coding system allows patrons to select organic, dairy free, and vegan items.

The generously-sized salads place an emphasis on the ingredients by positioning the items in distinct sections. This not only is pleasing to the eye and camera, but it also allows diners to easily pick and choose their eating order.

Miss T

The best bet for a leisurely Asian lunch is Miss T. Executive chef Nikhil Abhyankar brings “a fresh and innovative vision of food inspired from the Asian Golden Triangle with a focus on Burmese, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine and subtle influences from other parts of Asia.”

A plethora of options can be pinpointed while flipping through the multi-page menu. With small plates the norm, it’s advisable to share. However, set lunch menus for veg and non-veg diners offer a filling multi-course meal—soup and salad, appetiser, main course, rice or noodles or greens, dessert, plus a beverage. If you’re not rushed for time, Miss T’s set lunch option is a great choice.

From the tender coconut salad with pomelo, snow peas, and green beans with sweet tasting coconut vinaigrette, to the steamed sea bass served with an assortment of greens, to the gluten-free chocolate dacquoise, Miss T’s multi-course meal was flawless.

More of Mumbai and beyond:

Kala Ghoda Café

For a quick bite at a café set in a renovated 20th-century barn, try this lighter option. Breads and cakes are baked with certified organic and non-GMO flours. Eggs, waffles, cereals can be ordered for breakfast while salads and sandwiches are the choices for lunch. The menu is short but sweet. The top choice for early morning visitors is the Desi Waffles (stone-ground organic amaranth, madhira, millets, and brown rice). Consider some freshly-baked bakery items to take for later in the day.

O Pedro

Many flock to Goa’s beaches on India’s western coast, while others are drawn to a cuisine that successfully combines Portuguese and Indian ingredients. Mumbai’s residents and visitors don’t have to travel any further to capture the essence of this creative cooking style. O Pedro’s food is “inspired by the shared history of the country and state, but not stolen from it. It’s a melting pot of Goan and Portuguese culinary influences with an added O Pedro charm.”

This bustling restaurant has reasonably priced lunch menu offering both sandwiches and plates. Our friendly waiter described the unfamiliar dishes which helped with our selection process.

Each plated entree is served on a round metal tray with small containers of futi kadhi, sprout salad, vegetable foogath, and orange serradu. Sampling a couple of dishes is the best way to explore an unfamiliar cuisine. Both the Beryl’s Fish Curry made with red snapper, dried mango, and kokum coconut curry served with Goan rice, and the Prawn Who Mann, made with coconut curry with tamarind and hing served with Goan rice, introduced us to this fusion of European and Asian cooking.

Koko

Kamala Mills is an office area supported by dozens of restaurants. According to their menu, Koko has “always believed in the power of inventions. Inspirations since our inception come from various corners of the world and Asia has always been our source of influence.”

Their Lunch Exclusives include both a veg and non-veg option, with the non-veg option costing slightly more. Each multi-course meal is served with homemade miso soup, an Asian salad, dim sum, sushi, and a house dessert. These lunches are served on a tray filled with an assortment of round containers, some stacked on top of one another. While each individual portion is modest, the total amount of food is ample. All of the dishes are not only tasty but also visually appealing due to their combination of colours and textures.

Worked up an appetite? Check out more of our food guides:

By Gwen Luscombe 23 January 2020
By Pavan Shamdasani 21 January 2020

Swati Snacks

This is a place where you can taste authentic Gujarati street food at your heart and health’s content. At the Nariman Point location, we were introduced to this regional cuisine, known for its unique combination of sweet, salty, and spicy flavours. Definitely try the Panki and Sev Puri. Like other Indian foods, the Swati Snacks menu is dependent on seasonal produce. This family-run restaurant originated in the Tardeo location back in 1963.

Celini

Hotel dining rooms are rarely our first choice. But this restaurant offers authentic wood-fired pizza, pasta entrees, and tiramisu. The large open kitchen is run by a foreign-born chef who definitely knows the ins and outs of Italian cooking. The sizeable menu would meet the needs of the pickiest eater. Check the website menu to take advantage of a discount coupon tied to an advance reservation.

Things to consider:

Restaurants with an abundance of empty tables can be a red flag. A lack of foot traffic may cause vendors to use less fresh ingredients or reheated food. It’s better to wait for a table than to suffer the consequences of inferior kitchen practices. Trust us. We are keenly aware of how food choices in India can affect your health.

During the monsoon season, avoid Mumbai’s remarkable seafood. The local fishing industry is adversely affected by the spawning season and the turbulent tides limiting fishing offshore. Restaurants are forced to import fish from other places and freshness may become an issue. Take a conservative approach and check on the source of the fish before ordering.

A taxi ride or Uber can take visitors to office parks where quality food options abound. The St Regis Mumbai and the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai are not too far from Kamal Mills and Lower Parel. Visitors staying near the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai’s newest commercial and financial district, gravitate to the Sofitel Mumbai BKC or the Trident Bandra Kurla. The Grand Hyatt Mumbai is situated between BKC and the airport.

Sandy Bornstein

Contributor

Sandy Bornstein has visited more than 40 countries and lived as an international teacher in Bangalore, India. Sandy’s award-winning book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, is a resource for people contemplating an expat lifestyle and living outside their comfort zone. Sandy writes about food, historical sites, family, intergenerational, and active midlife adventures.

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