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11 Hip Spots in Mumbai

September 4, 2013

Mumbai's ritzy suburb of Pali Hill is best known for the plush bungalows of Bollywood stars. Photographed by Nisha Sondhe

Published on Sep 4, 2013

Cobblestone roads lined with soaring trees and tall security gates give some privacy to the film industry’s A-listers. But the neighborhood, a mix of well-established hangouts and hip new restaurants and bars, provides visitors with more than just the odd star sighting. Karryn Miller reveals her favorites below.

At Pali Bhavan (10 Aardash Nagar, Dr. Ambedkar Rd., Pali Naka; +91 22 2651 9400), a newly opened fine-dining Indian restaurant and bar, the design is as rich as the cuisine. Art Nouveau chandeliers give a soft glow to the antique split-level space, with framed old photos blanketing the walls. The creative menu runs from light (pomelo salad with coconut shavings) to heavy (creamy spiced curries) and draws inspiration from the subcontinent’s varied cuisines.

Pali Bhavan’s owners also run Pali Village Café (602 Dr. Ambedkar Rd., Pali Naka; +91 22 2605 0401), an all-day café with a similar but slightly lighter aesthetic—exposed cement walls and faded vintage furniture. The fare here is Western with dishes like stuffed tortellini; salmon and cream cheese sandwiches; and an arugula, grapefruit and candied pecan salad.

Indigo Delicatessen (8 Fatima Villa, 29th Rd., Pali Naka; +91 22 2643 8100) serves similar fare but with an American tilt. Think Philly cheesesteak subs and pulled pork sandwiches. The more casual menu also distinguishes the deli in Mumbai’s south.

Since opening in late 2012 Pizza Metro Pizza (Jharna Apartments, GF, Dr. Ambedkar Rd.; +91 22 6599 3334) has quickly earned a rep as serving the best pizza in town. The first Indian outpost of this London restaurant keeps it authentic with four Italian chefs. Metro also boasts the longest pie in the country—one meter of cheesy goodness.

Busago (Shop 11, Gaspar Enclave, St John St., Pali Naka; +91 22 6127 8897), another newcomer, specializes in Burmese kaukswe (coconut curry) and fruit-heavy smoothies. Owner Nikhil Chib has kept it cozy and simple here, with precious few tables inside and out on a small, sunny terrace.

A few doors down is French crêperie Suzette (St. John St., Pali Naka; +91 22 2641 1431;, another small-on-space but big-on-taste dining option, with both savory—like creamy spinach, feta, basil and tomato buckwheat crêpes—and sweet choices, such as the Belgian chocolate crêpe with caramel and crushed peanuts.

For a homegrown dessert option, there’s Punjab Sweet House (Dhiraj Arcade 84, Dr. Ambedkar Rd., Pali Naka; +91 22 2642 9647), which sells popular jalebi, deep-fried sugary spirals straight from pan to bag.
Local institution Toto’s Garage (30 Lourdes Heaven, Pali Junction; +91 22 2600 5494) has occupied its spot at the bottom of Pali Hill for more than 20 years. As its name implies, there’s a strong automotive theme with a VW Beetle mounted above the bar, chain wire fencing indoors decorated with international license plates and staff donning bright orange overalls. The beer is cheap and the vibe is unpretentious.

Olive Bar & Kitchen (Pali Hill Tourist Hotel, 14 Union Park, Khar West; +91 22 4340 8228; leans toward the other end of the spectrum, with an uncluttered interior, whitewashed walls and a Mediterranean menu to accompany pricey drinks.

Funky local brand Play Clan (Shop 4, Libra Towers, Hill Rd; +91 22 2640 1675; sells modern goods inspired by everyday Indian life. The product range is vast, from quirky journals adorned with Hindu gods to cushions with artistic renditions of the country’s varied vehicles.

FabIndia (2 & 4 Navroze 66 Pali Hill Rd; +91 22 2646 5286; is less playful, stocking colorful saris and kurtas. This outlet of the nationwide chain focuses more on clothing but still sells bath and beauty products, teas and a small selection of homewares for your own Bollywood-style bungalow


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