As a new (and perennially hungry) resident of Bandra, I was quickly introduced to the fare at the suburb’s hipster hangouts—detox juices sipped barefoot at The Yoga House, poppy seed bagels and free wi-fi you can linger over at The Bagel Shop and saffron-laced risotto at the gorgeously derelict Pali Village Café. But when long-time Bandra resident, and Finely Chopped food blogger Kalyan Karmakar announced he’d be leading a food tour to introduce people to the old-timer kitchens, produce stores and culinary legends of the area, I was eager to sign up.

The walk began with a climb: all the way up to the Candies terrace. Here, at the summit of this multi-levelled café that’s a veritable Bandra institution, Jim Morrison mosaics share space with stained glass panels of Jesus. The place is named after Candice, owner Allen Pereira’s daughter, who runs a store called Marry Me on the premises. The participants got to know each other over slices of fudgy brownie, lemon sponge cake dusted with icing sugar and mutton puffs (made the traditional Goan way, the filling in these is slightly sweet). Next, we meandered past Pali Market, stopping at Lallu’s, a vegetable stall that’s been around for fifty years or so. Here, “exotic" greens like bokchoy and broccoli nestle next to bhindi and beans. We also peeped into Mark’s Cold Storage, a third-generation meat shop. The owner, Nancy D’Sousa, Kalyan told us, cheerfully dispenses advice, tips and recipes along with choice cuts—a boon for hapless cooks like myself.

Parsi fare at Snack Shack, Mumbai. Photo: Kalyan Karmakar

On the way to our next destination, a few of us snuck off for a quick detour (and a quarter or two) at Janata, perhaps Bandra’s most beloved dive. We then headed to Khane Khas, an unassuming little eatery across the road from the much flashier Mini Punjab. According to Kalyan, this is the place to go to for home-style north Indian comfort food, any day of the week. In the twenty-four years since they started the restaurant, they haven’t been closed for a single day come riot or rain, the owners Atul and Hardeep told the group, before plying us with lassi and aam panna. A simple, but delicious meal of tandoori chicken and black dal with roomali roti followed. The rabri alone is worth going back for: the little clay cups here contain rich layers of lightly sweetened malai, topped with a sprinkling of pistachio slivers.

Vegetable vender at Pali Naka, Mumbai. Photo: Kalyan Karmakar

Mail k.finelychopped@gmail.com for details on upcoming Finely Chopped food walks.

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