Thursday 29 August 2013

The Fort Finely Chopped Food Walk

OK.  I am finding these food walks by Kalyan Karmaker slightly addictive.  The first one in Dadar that I blogged about was so interesting that I was keen to get on another.  Unfortunately I missed two - trying out Bengali food in Oshiwara and what would have been the mother of all food walks - Ramzan in Bohri Mohalla.  But we did manage to get on his latest outing - sampling the eclectic culinary delights of the Fort area. Mr Jules was keen on this one too as Fort is where his office is located.  I was hoping that he might even find something more interesting to eat at lunchtime, than his usual tuna salad Subway sandwich!

We didn't eat from this street stall but I had to take a photo of the all famous Bombay Sandwich - a sandwich filled with healthy salad and then toasted. You see these red and blue bread bags everywhere in Mumbai
As usual, Kalyan showed us some hideaway places that we would not have found ourselves (including a pretty church) and lectured us at every stop-off on the various foods, drinks and restaurant ownership.  It is this detailed and interesting approach to Mumbai food that is the reason Kalyan is becoming quite the celebrity in this city - he recently appeared on The Foodie TV show and yesterday he was out and about with a Korean TV crew at some of his favourite eateries.  He also writes numerous columns including one for the Times of India website and is always out and about doing interesting things to promote Mumbai's wonderful food scene. 

Please see my previous blog on how to contact Finely Chopped about his upcoming walks.  He also does private, bespoke tours for expats, tourists and groups (including Virgin airline crews!).  

So here is the story of the walk in pictures.  

We kicked off the walk opposite The Bombay Store at a building where Kalyan used to work in his market research days - looking back and up across the road is this old HMV sign.  So nostalgic!

Our first stop - the Parsi bakery and cafe Yazdani.  Typical of many fading Parsi cafes in Bombay, this one had peeling paint and an adorable geriatric owner.  But the bread (particularly the Brun Maska) was to die for.

Buttery cakes for sale in the glass cabinet outside

Here is the owner - wearing a back brace due to severe spinal problems - but amazingly he ran the Mumbai Marathon last year - he proudly showed us a newspaper clipping about it as we entered the cafe.  He reminded me so much of the eccentric Boman Kohinoor from my other favourite Parsi eaterie, Britannia.  The very pretty girl on the left who was also on the tour is a reader of BombayJules! Hopefully she doesn't mind me putting up her picture here.

Buttery puff pastry in the foreground and the divine, pillowy soft white bread buns served with butter in the background.  Mr Jules will be making a weekly visit to collect our bread from Yazdani from now on!

I was fascinated by the collection of bodybuilding pictures on the wall of Yazdani - Parsis are famed for their bodybuilding passion - something I will have to investigate and blog about in the future!

More sensational crusty bread.

We were so privileged to be allowed in the back of Yazdani to see the bread being made - here are the loaves being put into a cavernous red hot oven

Here are the (ecstatic looking) bread makers - their hands covered in flour

The finished product

The next stop was the Punjabi Moti Halval where we sampled thick, sweet Lassi - so thick that you needed a spoon to eat/drink it. Luscious!

The takeaway version

It's not all about the food: Kalyan showed us this beautiful church (St Thomas's Cathedral) right in the middle of Fort on Nariman Road.  We didn't even know it existed.  Built during the British Raj and completed in 1718 - Churchgate Station actually refers to St Thomas's.

A beautiful English church interior - save for the fans!

We came across this fabulous and beautifully restored old Dodge vintage car outside the Bombay Samachar (the red painted brick building just off Horniman Circle.

Mr Jules bought a kilo of the finest South Indian coffee from this place - Philips. Cost 400 Rs.  I think Mr Jules was actually the only person to buy anything on this walk - well done Mr Jules!

The next stop in Khao Galli (food alley) - an awesome street food stall serving Bombay's finest Pav Bhaji.  Pav Bhaji is one of the most popular and delicious street foods you can get - it is basically a veg curry served with buttery bread buns (pav).  The crowd was big and the turnover fast at this place.  

The Pav Bhaji was sensational - one of the best things I've ever eaten in Mumbai!  I'd like to say it's healthy but a slab of butter is added upon serving and the bread is also slathered with butter.  But you only live once right?  This lot was probably about 70 Rs / 70p (and served three).

Kalyan looks on as the rest of us stuff ourselves!
Next door we had a plate of snacks - crispy Onion Bhajis and Wada served with coriander chutney and chilli.  I told Kalyan that the Onion Bhajis were as good as the ones in the UK ;)

The next place - Pradeep Gomantak - a Gomantak restaurant serving South Indian specialities. Here is Kalyan telling us to get seated.

The Bombil Fry (or Bombay duck - which is fish and famously served deep fried in batter and is soft as butter inside and very moreish)

Our second last food stop...another Parsi restaurant and a favourite of Kalyan's Parsi wife.

I was fascinated by this Parsi manufactured raspberryade....which correctly states 'Contains No Fruit'!!

We sampled the Salli Boti - a sweet mutton curry topped with crispy matchstick potatoes. One of my favourite Parsi dishes.

Our last stop - dessert!  A small shop with this guy sat outside making fresh Jalebis (main ingredients, flour, sugar, yoghurt, cardamom, saffron).  A demonstration of how they are made follows:
The jalebi mixture...
....which is then spooned into a kind of piping bag.
Then the cook swirls lots of shapes straight into the boiling oil one after the other
Do you think this Jalebi Wallah has been eating too many of the fruits of his own labour?

Before, during and after

 At the end of the tour, we were given a little box of sweet treats to have after.  Lovely!


  1. I've been meaning to do the Fort walk since ages. But just haven't been able to match my schedule.

    Great post, Jules. Those photos are delicious.

    1. Thanks J. I am sitting here dreaming about it right now. The Jalebies were great, I had five!

  2. Julia....rarely have I read your blogpost only once.......cos of your tongue in cheek humor,fabulous photographs and terrific way of narrating events....just the way u have done here!

  3. Try the fiery ginger and oat & raisins biscuits besides the apple pie and carrot cake at Yazdani's. And their multi grain bread is great too. Ideal Corner is ideal as it has different dishes on each day. Paradise at Colaba, Jimmy Boy's at Fort and Sassanian Boulangerie at Marine Lines are also worth trying out for the Parsi dishes in South Mumbai while Jamva Chaloji and Ashmick's at Bandra West are really nice in the suburbs. Ginger is my favourite drink too. You may also try the ice cream soda for a change.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations Aadil. In the Bandra area, I've only been to the Jumjoji Parsi restaurant. Very good Salli Boti there too.

  4. Gosh...I am getting hungry.Wonderful pictures of delicious food.Will write down all your recommendations when we visit Mumbai again in November.

    1. Wow you get to India a lot! Please do go on one of Kalyan's walks - it's a great way to see the city and discover new, yummy food!



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