50 Shades of Dosa
First off, let me apologize for the long break between articles. I wish I had a reasonable excuse to give, but alas. I’d gone home for a few days and went all carpe diem on the Wi-Fi, laughing maniacally and downloading movies while my younger brother was weeping at all the bandwidth I was hogging. And when I came back I became a social recluse for a while as I wolfed down everything I had downloaded. So here I am, my cinematic lust satiated. I’d strongly suggest you guys to watch Her, 12 Years A Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and The Great Beauty (the last one an Italian movie originally called La Grande Bellezza). The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle, eh not so much. Anyways, back to the matter at hand.
The college canteen had shut down for a few weeks as they were rebuilding the thing from the bottom up. It’s gotten way better now, but for those few weeks, outstation students like me who rely on the canteen for their lunch had a hard time. Boy did I throw some poisonous glances at the folks with ghar ka dabbas for those few weeks. The whole experience has made me appreciate the canteen a whole lot more now though. But at the same time, having to forage outside for sustenance also meant I got to discover Mumbai food by tagging along with my local friends. Now my hometown Bangalore might trump Mumbai on weather and a more relaxed pace of life, but when it comes to food, advantage Mumbai. Once we’d finish class, we would march straight to these places and get down to business. Let me elaborate.
There’s Merwan’s Café on the eastern side of Grant Road, an old Parsi café that’s going to shut down in a couple of months. The melancholic reaction of my local friends to this piece of news piqued my curiosity and I accompanied them for breakfast after an accounts class on a Sunday. Here’s what the four of us had between ourselves; 3 omelettes with pav, 2 plates of cake toast which had 4 pieces to each plate, two teas and a raspberry soda which I have not seen anywhere else. The bill came up to 145; just unbelievable. And the cake toast, oh man. It was normal mawa cake, only one side of it was toasted to a crisp. Even now when I think of it, I can literally feel my heart yearn in longing. Add to that the priceless experience of eating in a true blue Parsi café and I had ticked an entry off my bucket list that day.
Then there’s a khau galli at a short distance from our college. In fact there are multiple such lanes near our college. For those who don’t know what they are, khau gallis literally translate to eatery lanes, with stalls selling a variety of food, lined up all along it. There’s one close to Churchgate station, which doesn’t exactly have spectacular food, but has huge variety. You do get a thick chocolate milkshake there for 20 bucks, with chocolate chips in it. Seeing as I’m a person that could go my entire life without eating anything but chocolate, I enjoyed it, to put it mildly. The lane near the Air India building on Marine Drive has a dosa vendor that sells close to fifty varieties of the item. Some of them would make you laugh. Sample this- Paneer Cheese Schezwan Dosa. What the hell does that even mean? But once you have the plate in your hand you don’t care, because it’s delicious.
Next up is Raju’s sandwich stall in the Fort area close to the high court. He makes something called a Russian sandwich, which I’m willing to wager is not how Russians make their sandwiches. But again it tastes brilliant so geographical accuracy is not exactly on top of your mind. My classmate even invented a combination of sandwich there and named it ‘Bajaj 15’ after our batch. History has been made.
Closer to where I live, is Theobroma, which is famous for its pastries. The chocolate mousse cake at Theobroma’s is an experience to be savoured slowly. Speaking of pastries, there’s Gaylord café (oh get over it) near Churchgate station. For 65 bucks you can have a generous slice of Swiss chocolate pastry, which I dare not describe in too much detail for fear of breaking into a spontaneous bout of hunger. You even get macaroni and cheese casserole there, which is a bit on the expensive side. But when they say cheese, they mean CHEESE. There are even chunks of cheese in there. Cheese comes next on my list after chocolate, yes. Yes I battle with my waistline on a daily basis.
In Grant Road there’s another place called Sardar’s Pav Bhaji which apparently had been featured in newspapers and all that. Their pav bhaji comes in two variants; cheese and butter (haha, yes there’s no escaping it). Both are pretty good, only don’t have them at night if you’re planning to fall asleep.
Lastly there’s Hotel Vrindavan in Andheri that makes gadbad ice-cream. Again for those who don’t know, gadbad is like a medley of multiple flavours with dry fruits and god knows what else. Now as far as my knowledge serves me, gadbad is an invention of Mangalore, or at least the Mangalore version is famous. Seeing as it’s my native place, I’ve eaten it there quite a few times. The one in Andheri is a bit different, but who cares about that? It’s ice-cream. Period.
Now this article isn’t exactly about life IN Bajaj, but trust me, excursions for food is a very important part of the Bajaj experience. You’re in South Bombay, you better make the best of it. For the past month or two, I’ve opened up to a variety of food. So if any of you need a further incentive to joining Bajaj, here’s one.
That’s all for now, I’m off to have Singapore Noodle Dosa, or something like that.