Mumbai, the city that never sleeps has people on the run from 4 AM to 1 AM. The energy of the average Mumbaikar is way above normal, and their enthusiasm and positivity, infectious. What would look to an outsider as a tough life, is the life they love, getting more done in one day than many would in three. What exactly is it that keeps the average Mumbaikar going on day after day, week after week? One word perhaps: dreams. Every person living in Mumbai has his own tale to narrate of dreams to follow, journeys to complete and destinations to reach.
Perhaps the Churchgate local train station, the first station on the Western line, walking distance from Marine Drive, is a perfect stop to observe the contagious energy with which people in Mumbai go about their everyday lives. Once the hot bed of offices, this area is now slowing down, at least on the corporate front, with many companies shifting their offices to the suburbs. However, it still houses many government offices and its old world charm ensures that the station is packed at any given point in the day.
No wonder then, that some of the best eateries are around the station, or a short walk away. Infact, the concept of khau gallis is unique to Mumbai – food streets that spring up around the local train stations, market places and colleges. A unique feature of the city, they offer quick service at low prices. This post points out the best of popular eateries around Churchgate, including an iconic ice-cream joint that has people traveling the length of the city.
The Churchgate Khau galli is a small lane lined with food stalls offering a range of typical Mumbai street food. From the buttery pav bhaji served steaming hot, to nutritious, thick fruit smoothies, this food street has some of the more popular eateries serving the usual, delicious Mumbai street fare, and then some surprises. Here are some of the stalls that come highly recommended by those who frequent the area.
Sugarcane juice or ganna ka ras is a refreshing, natural drink that is light and rejuvenating. A popular pick-me-up, it is available across the Mumbai and is, fortunately, preferred over canned drinks. Prepared fresh, it can be flavoured with lemon, mint, ginger etc. to enhance its appeal.
Lisha Pav Bhaji
Lisha Pav Bhaji, apart from serving fantastic pav bhaji also serves the best Chinese dishes in all of Chowpatty, as some of the locals would have us believe. The Amul pav bhaji served here attracts quite a loyal crowd. Watching the chef in action, dexterously mixing the vegetables and spices, serves as a perfect way to build an appetite while waiting for a steaming, hot plate of buttery pav bhaji.
The Triple schezwan rice and the Schezwan Hakka noodles served here are some items that must be tried; these spicy dishes teamed with a cool dessert makes for a perfect evening snacks, best enjoyed with a group of friends.
Sainath Juice center is known by everyone in this part of town. From school and college students to office-going people, and even senior citizens, it attracts everyone with its refreshing juices and milkshakes. Among the most recommended are Strawberry shake, Mixed-fruit shake and Royal rose falooda. The Mixed fruit shake offers a combination of canned and fresh fruits, topped with a dollop of fresh cream.
The Strawberry shake has fresh cut strawberries, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some crushed ice and a whole lot of sugar. Other good options for food include the Veg frankie, Falooda and Grill Sandwich.
A short walk out of Khau Galli towards H.R College (at Dinshaw Waccha road) leads to the popular Raju sandwich stall which can be recognized by the crowd of chatting college students around it. The delicious-sounding Chilly cheese toast, Cheese noodle roll and Penne cheese roll are the most ordered dishes. The cheese toast consists of bread layered with a signature tomato sauce and topped generously with cheese and herbs.
The Paneer cheese roll, Veg cheese pizza, and Veg cheese grill sandwich are also other good options.
Roustom’s & Co. started its love story with the city of Mumbai in 1953. Its claim to fame is the ice-cream sandwich – a slab of ice-cream between orange and yellow wafer slices. The owner explained the serendipitous circumstances that led to the invention of the ice-cream sandwiches. Ice-cream was served on plates but when the plates started disappearing (apparently the customers used to steal the plates), they came up with this novel way of serving it, sandwiched between two wafers so that no plates were needed. What was problem-solution is what draws people from across the city to Roustom’s today. They do offer cups, but where’s the fun in that?
Among the hottest flavours at Roustom’s are Pista, Kesar pista and Chocolate nut. Kesar pista is a mouthful of saffron infused, ‘kesari’ smooth ice cream, speckled with pista bits. Roasted almond and Walnut crush are relatively newer flavors but have garnered many takers over the short while that they were introduced. The latest introduction is Paan flavoured ice-cream.