वranda [Pali Hill, Bandra]

When we think of the word veranda, our mind inadvertently takes us to that part of our homes (generally our grandparents’ homes) where we had the best memories. It’s where we sat all evening and watched the rain work its wonder and make everything magically beautiful, where we had the most heart-to-heart conversations and where we played as kids. This verandais one of the cosiest places in our memories.

Our intention was not to get you all nostalgic, the food at वranda will do it for us. Our intention was to just tell you, how beautiful and cosy veranda is. ‘Coz वranda is, it is beautiful, it is cosy, it is charming and it is definitely worthy of every praise you have heard about it.

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वranda is a creation to bring to us desi flavours with a videsi twist. वranda is tastefully decorated with pastel colours and bright floral prints, plants and flowers, beautiful lights and more. Art is deeply ingrained in every nook and corner of the restaurant. There’s chic upholstery, antique vases, bold doors, paintings that depict the many forms of India and Indian culture and more. वranda is a lovechild of an art gallery and restaurant if you ask us! It’s the perfect place for a cosy family brunch as well as a romantic dinner date.

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The menu is limited to serving Indian dishes with a modern twist. So if you are dreaming dahi bada, be ready to experience new flavours in this very simple dish. Heard of sun-dried tomatoes on your pizza right? How about sun-dried tomatoes in your kulchas? They have created delicious aberrations while maintaining the integrity of the core dishes, and that is what we loved about the food at वranda.

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There is another thing we were absolutely fascinated with – the menu is presented on a tab, with videos of dishes being prepared and plated. It got us exploring through the menu which then turned to rummaging. The videos are shot beautifully, and they just make you all the more hungry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what we gorged on at वranda –

Raja Dahi Verma – A filmy name for a fancy version of our beloved Dahi Bhalla chaat. Dahi bhallas or badas soaked in curd and sweet-tangy tamarind chutney.  It is served on a bed of green mint chutney and topped with potato salli. Baked yoghurt squares are delicious and soft and the pomegranate jam reduction has a sharp and sweet taste. The overall dish is on the sweeter side but we loved the medley of flavours.

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Raja Dahi Verma

Cottage Cheese Trilogy – Very soft malai paneer chunks, done in three delicious styles – fresh basil, spicy tikka/zafrani one and a saffron based marination. Each one has intense flavours and is delicious.

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Cottage Cheese Trilogy

Veg Seekh Kebabs – The seekh kebabs are soft and literally melt-in-the-mouth. The seekh kebabs have a very strong flavour of cardamom, almost to the point of shadowing other flavours. These are served on a bed of fresh chopped vegetables with a sweet-spicy mint chutney.

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Veg Seekh Kebabs

Rajasthani Gatta Nu Saak – Gatte Ki Sabzi and their delicious kulchas! They nailed the gravy and flavour of the sabzi. Mindblowing aroma and lip-smacking taste. Just the right amount of spices and it took us back to Nanima’s kitchen. The gatte (flour balls), however, were a little too firm, which is bound to happen given the short time allowed for preparation. These were served with sun-dried tomato kulchas and basil kulchas. A mini meal in itself. And did we mention that we are a fan of the tomato kulchas? You will be too, do try them.

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Rajasthani Gatta Nu Saak

Mix Berry Lemonade – A combination of strawberries, raspberries and lemon. It packs a punch with the tanginess. Loved it.

Chocolate Basil Lemonade – Yes, that was our reaction too. Chocolate and basil? In a mocktail? Are you sure? But be sure that you give this one a shot. It an amazing combination. First, there is the fresh flavour of basil and lemon and then slowly you get the chocolatey taste. Lemon and chocolate could be this good a duo, is difficult to fathom.

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Mix Berry Lemonade and Chocolate Basil Lemonade

Gulkand Chocobar – A dreamy preparation with lots of soft and airy chocolate mousse, bits of gulkand and thick, dense chocolate. It is the right amount of sweet with the gulkand adding a mind-blowing edge to it. Sugar coated fennel seeds add a fresh crunch to every bit. Just loved how smooth and light the mousse was. This is a must have at वranda.

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Gulkand Chocobar

Overall Experience – Delicious food, a delightful ambience and good service makes वranda a place you must visit. It may not be easy on the pocket but is definitely worth the money spent.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂 🙂

Service 🙂

वranda – Google Maps

Veranda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Genuine Broaster Chicken [Bandra]

No, no, no….

That’s our answer to your questions that sound somewhat like – Have you turned non-vegetarian? Did you finally try chicken? Were you lost? 

But then, what were we doing at a place that is named Genuine Broaster Chicken you ask? Well to that we have an answer!

Genuine Broaster Chicken, without a doubt, boasts of insanely good chicken specialities (some of which were sampled by our friend and she nods in affirmation), but there is no dearth of option for us good ‘ol vegetarians. Everyone behind the menu curation, from the agency to Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi, have made sure to not made us feel left out. There is an equal mix of veg and non-veg dishes that are Indianised and made oh so yum! by the chef.

So yes, us being here is more than okay! In fact, it would be foolish for anyone to miss out on this place just because the name favours meat.

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We visited the Bandra outlet of GBC on a weekend and though we were amongst the first people at the restaurant, it was packed in no time! The ambience of this place is amazingly chic and quirky. Chicken humour and photo frames that are an ode to quiet a few American sensations – Captain America, Marilyn Monroe, et. al. cover quite a bit of the walls. There are baseball helmets that are used as bulb holders and also plant holders. Gunny bags and fairy lights add a charm to the ceilings. Even the table tops are covers with caricatures of Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey amongst others. The music is groovy and adds to the rockstar ambience.

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There is a well lit and funky looking bar area and different sitting arrangements to pick from.

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Orange Limer

 

 

Since we reached here after braving the scorching heat, we decided to order cooler and freak shakes first.

Orange Limer was slightly tangy and the orange flavour was overpowering. It was slightly on the sweeter side but had a welcome refreshing taste.

Jim Jam Strawberry Freakshake is a delight to dig into! Topped with Jim-Jam biscuits, chocolate balls that melt in your mouth, marshmallows and lots of strawberry compote, this freak shake is sinfully delicious.

It is slightly on the heavier side with lots of whipped cream, strawberry ice cream and more.

 

 

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Jim Jam Strawberry Shake

We called for Tex-Mex Franchos and settled to familiarise ourselves with the menu. Crispy french fries in cream cheese sauce and a tangy salsa sauce, topped with lots of chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and olives. The salsa is really yummy and makes you go lick your fingers.

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Tex-Mex Franchos

 

We then called for the chef special Firangi Palak Paneer Dip. The description of the dish does not do much more than making us picture a spinach-cheese dip instead of hummus with pita bread. It does not do even a tiny bit justice to the delight that this dish is! Just to let people know what they should anticipate, I suggest the owners should add the word delicious before every word in the name. That is how good the Palak Paneer dip is! A cheesy and creamy dip with small chunks of soft paneer and lots of spinach. Spinach adds an amazing flavour to the dip but does not over power it. We are not exaggerating when we say that we licked the dip off the bowl.

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Firangi Palak Paneer Dip

Pro Tip: If you happen to visit this place, order for as many portions of the Firangi Palak Paneer Dip as the number of people you are, to avoid any casualties. And do this even before you settle down!😉

In our opinion, the restaurant should put this disclaimer on one of the walls! 😛😉

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Veg. Ghotala Khichdi

Riding high on happiness, we went for another special from the menu – Veg. Ghotala Khichdi. No please, do not make that meh face, ‘coz then you will want to punch yourself for making it! Ghotala Khichdi is a delicious biryani made with lots of veggies and also has soft paneer chunks. It is high on spices and so fragrant and flavoursome, that our mouth is still watering as we think about it. Cinnamon does wonders to the dish and this one is another definitely try items if you are a biryani fan.

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Chow Chow Noodle and Paneer Burger

Then came our Chow Chow Noodle and Paneer Burger – something we had our eyes on from the moment we were handed the menus! Chinese spiced noodles and crispy paneer based patties with mayonnaise and schezwan sauce. This one is lip-smacking though we personally feel it should have been a little high on the sauces.

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Chow Chow Noodle and Paneer Burger

GBC boasts of some delicious desserts, some epic combinations and fusions. We decided to go with the chef special and yet keep it simple, thus picking the Gulkan Muffin. The muffin served warm, had a slightly crusty outer layer and was toothsome. The centre was filled with Gulkand and yet it was not overly sweet. Totally loved it!

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Gulkand Muffin

A friend tried the Assorted Chicken Wings Platter and could not stop raving about them – the flavours were perfectly balanced and really good! Her recommendations – Butter Garlic Chicken Wings and Kung Pao Chicken Wings.

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Chicken Wings Platter

Overall Experience: We don’t know the chicken way to say it, but we came out thrilled! Amazing ambience and scrumptious food. The service is quick and friendly. The servers are well versed with the menu and are ready to help and suggest. The food is not overly pricey and is definitely value for money.

GBC is a perfect place to spend some fun time with you friends and family.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: If what we said has not already made it clear, try going in a group and ordering one portion of Firangi Palak Paneer Dip. What will happen between you and your gang happened between us, only worse!

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Genuine Broaster Chicken – Google Maps

P.S.: There are two outlets of Genuine Broaster Chicken (GBC) in Mumbai (as of now) and they are planning to come up with many more. GBC is a QSR chain, yes, but the attention towards ambience, food, presentation and hospitality is impeccable. We only hope it stays the same!

Also, Broaster is a technique of making the fried dishes (especially chicken) in a way that they absorb up to 50% less oil and are really low in trans-fat content.

Genuine Broaster Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

In Bandra and Looking for an Escape from Chaos? Head to One of These 7 Cafés and Breathe easy!

There is no dearth of options in Bandra, be it in terms of food or shopping or for that matter pretty sights! But then there is no shortage or traffic and crowd and total chaos as well.

The next time you are in Bandra and want to skip the madness, head to one of these cafés and relax!

Eat Around The Corner

True to its name, it is located in a corner of a lane, far away from the hustle and bustle. The café is beautiful and trendy with comfortable indoor seating and dreamy outdoor one. They have a large variety of grub to offer from, ranging from salads to burgers and the desserts here are to die for! Grab a corner outside, under the trees and enjoy a cup of coffee and a red velvet pastry. Or make that two pastries, ‘coz no one is watching!😉

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Red Velvet Pastry – Eat Around the Corner

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Bombay Coffee House

Bombay Coffee House is a beautiful and peaceful coffee shop on linking road. There is a variety of coffee on offer along with some delicious croissants and pastries. They also have books and board games if that is your calling for the day. What we love is to sit by the window and be lost in our work while the world goes by – Linking road is that busy, we all know it! Bombay Coffee House will be your safe heaven on this busy road!

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Gunline Coffee – Bombay Coffee Shop

♥ The Bagle Shop

Tucked away in a corner of Carter road, many do not know this place exists, let alone that it serves kick-ass bagels! You will find many, who just come here to work and/or discuss in silence or just enjoy a good cup of coffee. The ambience is cozy and the greenery makes it cool. The Bagle Shop should be your go to place for fresh air, a bagel and a smoothie.

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Birdsong – The Organic Café

Hidden away from the world in one of Bandra’s narrow bylanes is this amazing café  – great place, almost straight out of a song! Calm and tranquil ambience. It is one of the places you wanna get lost in for hours. They serve delicious organic food although it definitely is pricey. Go here for a great cup of coffee and a corner to immerse yourself in a great book or a good conversation.

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♥ Desi Deli

Although Desi Deli is located on a really busy street and is an open air café, it makes for a good option if you want to just stop by and watch. They serve delicious breakfast options and smoothies or you can go simple with a strong cup of coffee!

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♥ Pali Village Café

Pali Village Café is much more than just a café. It is an exquisite experience. The place is quaint and has a very vintage feel to it. It is not easy on the pocket for sure, but worth the visit be it for lone musings or cozy conversations.

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Candies (Pali Hill)

As mainstream as this recommendation sounds, it is a place worth mentioning. The Pali Hill outlet of Candies is both chaotic and peaceful. Pick your favourite corner and be lost there for hours on end, no one will question your presence. We love the rooftop areas, they are just perfect!

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Although it is not exhaustive, but hope this list helps you with your Bandra musings!

Did we miss any place that should have made it to the list? Mention it in the comments! 🙂

Mexican Express [Pali Hill, Bandra]

Mexcellent!

That is the word we are going to use to describe Mexican Express.

Hidden away in a quiet lane in Pali Hill, Mexican Express has made quite a name for itself when it comes to authentic Mexican delights served fresh and quick. Ankit Shah, the owner, came up with the idea of making Mexican food available to people after he noticed a dearth of options in Mumbai. They did a number of events, big and small (Bandra Wine Festival being the latest), and we are sure you have tasted their lip-smacking food at one of these! And if you haven’t, then now is your chance to relish some of that taco-shako at Mexican Express.

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The space is a cozy and peaceful one with comfortable and colourful seating. The tripod shaped tables with tops that look like a colourful Sombrero caught our attention. They have a collection of books and games and a perfect ambience to sit down with some churros and kick-ass at Monopoly! Soft colour tones keep the place well lit and upbeat tunes keep you going. Walls are lined with tempting pictures of food that make you wanna hog it all now!

An all vegetarian place, the menu is pretty concise and hence does not leave you confused. You can pick from the basics – nachos and salads or burritos, quesadillas and tacos. For the desserts, they have Churros and Nutella Quesadilla ❤

The sauces and fillings are all made in-house daily and boy are they delicious! Get a drop of the Guacamole on your tongue and we dare you to not go for just a little more!

We started with their hard-shell tacos. Black beans and corn is the hot selling option. We tried that and another one with a filing of mushrooms. The taco chips were crisp and fresh and were overflowing with salsa, the stuffing, sauces and sour cream! So delicious! Apart for the lip-smacking flavours, what makes you happy is the freshness of the ingredients! It is just perfect!

 

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Tacos

 

 

Looking at our messy misery as we kept licking those dripping sauces off our fingers, Ankit was kind enough to tell us the correct way to eat a taco. Hold one of those in your hands horizontally, like you would hold a sandwich, press it a little (yes, it will crack) and bite into it. This is a way to ensure minimal mess! Well, we were well past the precautions, so we enjoyed the rest of the fillings with our hands. Mexican food eaten Indian style 😉

Then came the burrito bowl or dare we say, happiness bowl? Loaded is the word. Brown rice, beans – black and pinto beans, veggies, pico de gallo, salsa, sauces, sour cream, spicy guacamole and topped with crispy tortilla chips! So delicious, we kept stuffing our mouth with these and forgot to talk for the entire while!

 

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Burrito Bowl

 

Our meal ended on an amazingly sweet note with Churros and Chocolate sauce 🙂 ❤

The churros were perfect, soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. The amazing cinnamon aroma hit us first as they made their way to our table! 6 pieces of goodness and that sinful chocolate sauce! One of the best churros we have had! You gotta try these!

 

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Churros with Chocolate Sauce

 

Overall Experience: Will it be too cheesy if we say mexiating! Ah well, we said it, ‘coz it was indeed satiating! Delicious pocket-friendly prices and good quantity with a super peaceful ambience.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂

Service 🙂

The Battle: My partner stole a churro. He has a black eye as a return gift!  

P.S.: Mexican Express shares the retails space with Cool Story, that serves some kick-ass chilled beverages. Perfect combination going around, we say!

Also, they deliver in and around Bandra and BKC, so you can always order in!

Mexican Express – Google Maps

Mexican Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bistro @ Coffee Break [Bandra]

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Shakespeare said ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.’

But then, won’t there be confusion? Like if a rose is not a rose, then what finally is a rose? And what is ‘the rose that is not a rose’? My God, that’s one too many roses! What we are trying to say is….confusion!

But do not be confused by the name Coffee Break that you see when you spot this place from afar. It is not just for coffee. Bistro @ Coffee Break is a newly opened bistro in Bandra (located near Chaayos/Salt Water Café). It serves quite a few coffee and smoothie variants along with a vast menu spread around pizza, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, quesadillas and more!

There is an indoor AC section with two tables to accommodate groups of 4-3 each and a bigger outdoor section. Indoors are brightly lit where lies a very misplaced chandelier, a few books and coffee mugs. The music was really good and peppy! The counter has a huge board displaying what we are assuming to be their specials – tacos, burgers and shakes.

There is also a display of sandwiches, puffs, and desserts. What we loved the most about the menu was the variety of portion sizes. They have a small and large option available in most of their beverages, from coffee to coolers. As also for Pizza, there is an 8″ and a 10″ option. Unfortunately, no vegetarian options are available for the burgers.

We decided to hogg on pizza this time around!

Tikka Pizza – Small pieces of paneer with onions, capsicum and cheese on a tomato sauce base.

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Tikka Pizza

Sicily – Lots of sundried tomatoes, onions, basil leaves and cheese.

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Pizza Sicily

We liked both the options, they were adequately loaded and made well but were on the drier side. Perhaps a little more of the base sauce and these would be lip-smacking!

From the coolers, we had a Strawberry Splash and Mint Splash. Both are fizzy options and very well made. The fizz lasted until almost the end which is a plus!

Head to Bistro @ Coffee Break for a good meal the next time you are here. We hear the burgers are good (but we can’t judge them for you) or maybe you could try Deep Fried Oreos?

Bistro@Coffee Break – Google Maps

Bistro at Coffee Break Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Melting Morsels [Pali Hill, Bandra]

Does it happen to you too?

That you are just passing by and randomly spot a café or a restaurant that makes you want to step inside or visit? ‘Coz it happens to us often. We are en route to somewhere and suddenly another place catches our attention. So we either step out and check it out or we note it down and come back to it.

That’s what happened again the other morning when we were in Bandra and passed by the famous Janta wali gully 😉

A pista green board with Melting Morsels etched on it in golden caught our eyes. It was a small dessert parlour. We immediately googled it and fount that it served desserts, freak shakes, coffee and a few small meals. Intrigued, we decided that this was worth a visit, and soon!

Two days later, we are here! A cute patisserie, done up in pastel hues and floral prints. Desserts are obviously the main focus, as you can see from the display counter and if that does not give it away (duh!) then look at the picture frames on the wall or the cookie jars behind or the display of cupcakes! If you look closely, you will also find a few puffs and quiches, sandwiches and pasta in small transparent cups. There is not much room for seating more than 5-6 people inside and 4-5 people outside.

 

Melting Morsels is made with love and the desserts and food here are made with equal passion! The kitchen lies upstairs and the food is prepared fresh. This place is a month old and already has a fan following in the area for their pastries and cakes, as is obvious by the cards and sticky notes full of praises & appreciation decorating the walls and from repeat customers that kept dropping by!

Considering it was a hot afternoon, we skipped the hot coffee options and went in for the freak shake rather and got a Mixed Berry Cheese Cake Freak Shake. Strawberries, cranberries and whipped cream. An incredibly delicious combination, strawberries added a little sweetness to the tangy cranberry. Loaded with whipped cream and sprinkles, this is amazing! The jar size is small though but at ₹100 for this goodness, you won’t complain. Worth every last penny! ❤❤

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Mixed Berry Cheese Cake Freak Shake

As we sipped our freak shake, a small cup of spaghetti in red sauce caught our attention. Tempted, we called for Spaghetti with Minced Vegetable Balls – one from their meals in a cup section! Vegetable balls were not available so we were given the option of broccoli and mushrooms and we went ahead with that. The perfectly spiced tomato based sauce made this an incredible option! Delicioso!

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Spaghetti win Red Sauce

We wanted to try Biryani in a cup but it was not available because of multiple orders in the morning. Definitely going back for that one.

Oreo Cupcake ended the short meal on a high. The cream on top was to die for. Chocolate based base with cream and oreo crumble on top, this was just amazing!

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Oreo Cup Cake

Melting Morsels is a place you should bookmark for your crazy sweet tooth cravings. The variety is huge and literally everything looks so good that you are half satisfied just by looking at it!

Melting Morsels – Google Maps

Melting Morsels Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato