Look, I'm going to be honest with you. I'm writing this story during the Mumbai monsoon
. Every day for the last several days, the rain has been coming heavily down in little stinging whorls, revealing a gray, watercolour world. This is the time my appetite
swells with desire for a large, hot, meaty breakfast
which is why in my list of Mumbai breakfast favourites, you'll find lots of egg and non-vegetarian options. 1. Hotel Noor Mohammedi (Bhendi Bazaar 6 am)
Started in 1923 by Abdul Karim, Noor started its life as an early morning eatery (6 am) catering to the pious Namaz offerer. At Noor, you get plenty of delicious dishes, but what it is really famous for is its Nalli Nihari (shanks of mutton
or buffalo), that has been cooked until it is soft as velvet. This, its most famous breakfast dish, is eaten with a crisp roti
that soaks up perfectly its spicy gravy. 2. Valibhai Payawala (Bohri Mohalla 6 am)
At Valibhai, the food is cooked through the day in twelve huge handis, over coal fires. You can choose your cut of meat
, anything from Paya (trotters) to Pichota (rump / oxtail) to Nalli Nihari and I guarantee that it will all be excellent. All the meat comes with enormous thick, fluffy rotis
that are made in tandoors
.3. Sarvi (Nagpada 7:30 am)
Sarvi's is the gem that gleams in the slightly dodgy neighbourhood of Nagpada. Not for its (unprepossessing) interiors, but its exquisite cooking of dishes such as Keema
, Boti Kebab and Masoor Pulao
. But if you go for breakfast, there is really only one dish to order – the Bheja Masala Fry. Surprisingly subtly-spiced and moreish, one plate (with two rotis
) will tide you over until tea-time.
4. Cafe Military (Fort 8:30 am)
This no-frills Irani café once used to serve a plethora of meat-heavy Parsi and British dishes such as 'Delicious Tongue Dishes', 'Tasteful Liver Dishes', 'Light Meals Of Eggs
' and 'Cakes, Ices and Puddings
'. Today though, it specializes in all manner of non vegetarian Parsi comestibles. One such is its kheema ghotala
, not the most aesthetic dish but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. It literally translates to 'a mess of mince' and is a dish of minced mutton scrambled with egg and served with loaves of soft pao.5. Stadium (Churchgate 8 am)
Stadium may not have eccentric, larger-than-life owners and a photo-friendly list of Dos and Don's like other Irani cafes, but it does have some pretty cracking eating. Hunker down to a tasty anda bhurji pao
or an anda masala fry
, which is actually a spicy curried egg dish, rather than a dry masala
as its name suggests.
6. Tharu Sweets Mukhi Bhandar (Khar 8 am)
Every Sunday at 8 am, a knot of hungry people crowds the entrance of Tharu's for its weekly fix of dal pakwan
. A Sindhi specialty, it is made of spice-flavoured pakwans, a sort of flat bread that is fried until crisp, and chana dal.
At Tharu's, the dal pakwan
is cooked in pure ghee and served with a tangy tamarind chutney, and is worth the weekly wait.
7. Hotel Ramashray (Matunga 5 am)
Along with its Mysore dosa
, Ramashray makes a meanmedu vada
– crisp on the outside and pillowy-soft within. For those who prefer variations on a theme, Ramashray also offers rasam vada
soaked in a bath of rasam
) and dahi vada
(where the vada
comes soaked in whipped dahi
). 8. J Hearsch & Co (Bandra 10 am)
Hearsch is a Bandra institution, selling all manner of baked goods. But what it is most famous for are its mutton and chicken
puffs – soft, creamy meat within a crisp, flaky puff pastry shell. This is their fastest-moving item, and it makes for a light, tasty breakfast.9. Candies (Bandra- 8:30 am)
Every morning, you're bound to see a crowd of hungry Bandra dwellers digging into the eggs, chicken sausages and baked beans
offered at this iconic Bandra eatery. The bhurji and fried eggs are ice, but the egg white omelette
is especially fluffy (and good for the heart
!).10. Salt Water Cafe (Bandra 9 am)
I spend far too much of my time here and it is mostly for its full English breakfast. If you look for it on the menu, you won't find it. But all the elements are there on the menu and when I order a fried egg, I usually get it with all the sides (crispy bacon, lovely fat sausages and baked beans).
12. Cafe Zoe (Lower Parel 7:30 am)
Photo Credit: Facebook/Salt Water Cafe11. Indigo Deli (Colaba, Lower Parel, Bandra, Andheri, Malad, Ghatkopar 9 am)
This is another one of my time sucks – I spend hours engorging myself with its batter-fried fish and chips with vinegar or its paper-thin pizzas. But on a stormy morning such as this one, the only really satisfying thing for me is the Eggs Benedict – perfectly-poached eggs that have been drenched in Hollandaise sauce after being placed atop a muffin.
The waffles at Cafe Zoe are magic! Apparently, they are traditional Liege waffles, one of Belgium's most delectable exports (after fries, of course). They are caramelized, and taste crisper and sweeter than the regular kind – they are also a lot harder to make. I have not been there in a while, but the taste has long lingered.
13. Suzette Creperie and Cafe (Bandra, Nariman Point, Powai 9 am)
Rumour has it that the early rising gourmet can get his or her hands on Suzette's exquisite croissants, which are all sold out by 9 am. The rest of us have to make do with its buckwheat crepes, thankfully sold throughout the day. The one I love is the Estragon, which has chicken, mushroom, mustard and Emmenthal in its crispy folds, but if you want something more traditionally 'breakfast', try the Complete (ham, egg and Emmenthal) or the Fermiere (same as the Complete but with the happy addition of sautéed mushrooms and creamed spinach).
Photo Credit: www.suzette.inAbout the Author: Meher Mirza is an independent writer and editor, with a focus on food and travel. Formerly with BBC Good Food India, she loves anime, animals and artsy things but also comics, technology and death metal.
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