Beyond Mumbai’s Chowpattys, khau galis and juice centres lies a relatively underrated foodie haven of Chembur. The rich history and gastronomy of this eastern suburb will lure you into its melting pot. Sifting through the several names vying for your mealtimes, here’s a quick list of absolute must-visits.
Ever since it was founded in 1950 by Jhamamal Lulla, a Sindhi refugee from Karachi, the two Jhama Sweets outlets in Chembur have been the first choice for locals to indulge their sweet tooth (including Raj Kapoor and family). The fandom is owing to the mind-boggling variety of quality treats on offer—from the to-die-for gulab jamun, milk cake and jalebi to motichoor laddu, malai sandwich and the very Sindhi sev barfi. You name it, they have it!
This modest eatery in Chembur Camp is, undoubtedly, the city’s best stop for dal-pakwaan, the glorious Sindhi breakfast where the painstakingly cooked chana dal is served with salty deep-fried flour discs. This best seller has been part of Vig’s menu for nearly seven decades!
In case you feel the hard-to-bite pakwaan can be a challenge for your dental faculties, opt for the much softer (and spicier) masala puris instead. Can’t be on time for this sinful affair? Vig’s chhole–pattice as well as chhole with pillowy bhature, are equally brilliant and hearty options.
Warning: Not for the faint-hearted or sensitive stomachs.
Also Read: The Story of Mumbai's Khanavals
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Sai Sagar Ice Cream Falooda Centre
Traditional faloodas and ice creams get a contemporary spin at Sai Sagar, located bang opposite Jhama Sweets’ iconic Chembur Camp branch. While the place is tailoring its menu for millennials—by introducing Oreo Kulfi—nothing beats the good old Mango Kulfi Falooda on a hot summer evening. Think slices of chilled fresh mango kulfi, glassy yellow noodle-like falooda, spoonfuls of rabri, and a dash of rose syrup. Despite the simplicity of the recipe and the humble roadside seating, you end up satisfied.
Bhatt Vishranti Gruh
Standing modest but proud on Chembur Naka of Sion–Trombay Road, Bhatt Vishranti Gruh has been a boon for highway travellers ever since it opened doors nearly sixty years ago. Its inexpensive lunch service is a respite for road trippers on a budget. But it is the fiery, garlicky misal–pav that we swear by!
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A hopscotch away from Chembur railway station, Café Udipi is not only a must-visit for its excellent idlis, vadas, dosas, filter coffee, amongst other thibgs. The thalis here are a potpourri of flavours. Go for the deluxe variant, the priciest of the lot but fully worth it, given its three-course composition, including a dahi vada I’m still trying to recreate at home.
This hip bistro on the first floor of the Jewel of Chembur hotel could easily be considered Chembur’s earliest posh eateries. The bright yellow accents of the restaurant offers warmth and comfort while the menu has everything from wholesome salads to well-textured pastas to flavoursome pizzas. You will find solitary thinkers and families to couples on a date and bands of friends out for a leisurely time. Don’t call for the bill without digging into one of the café’s heavenly pastries.
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Sadguru Veg Diet
Sadguru is much more than Chembur’s response to Shiv Sagar. Its red-hot pav bhaji has won critical acclaim, its dals and gravies are velvety smooth, and all its three outlets are always packed to the rafters. The outlet near Cubic Mall is a personal favourite, particularly in the morning when it is pleasant enough to go alfresco. It’s also when the restaurant puts out the day’s first—therefore, the freshest—batch of piping hot South Indian fare. Good luck shaking off the gorgeous paper dosa and onion uttapam off your mind!
Gopals Mutton and
The sight of vivid tandoori chicken and kebabs—marinated Sindhi-style and skewered—at Gopals’ façade can make any meatlover drop their diet plans. Tucked away in a by-lane between Vig Refreshment and Jhama Sweets, this non-vegetarian eatery has two tiny outposts, one opposite the other, with a few chairs thrown in a third equally tiny space. The lack of a proper (or hygienic) dining environment doesn’t stop its Keema Pattice from selling off the counter like hot cakes, though.
Mention ‘seafood’ and ‘Chembur’ in the same breath, and you’ll will find yourself heading to Ratnagiri. It is said that there’s no other establishment in whole of Chembur that does fish fry and Malvani fare better than this restaurant near Ambedkar Garden.
Chembur has always had a dearth of good and convenient watering holes. This upscale restaurant at Cubic Mall is, hence, hailed as a game changer, especially with those well-made sangrias and an array of shots. Not just the tipple, the nibbles too are equally praiseworthy, which is very global in its approach. Pot Pourri also doubles as a venue for events as productive as musical nights, art workshops and reunions.
Featured image and gulab jamun image: Shutterstock.com
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