Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mumbai Makes My Belly SUPER HAPPY

We were in India for just about 6 weeks - most all of which was spent in Pune, doing yoga all day, every day. When we weren't doing yoga, we were either eating to re-fuel for our next yoga class, or taking notes on our previous yoga class. It was awesome. Luckily though, one must fly in and out of Mumbai (aka Bombay), and this gave us a reason to spend the last two days of our trip sightseeing in Mumbai. It was awesome.

Jane and Me at the Gateway to India

There we were, walking all around the great city of Mumbai - grooving on what a totally awesome and interesting place it is... when we found ourselves over in the swanky neighborhood of Malabar Hill. We had already been walking for hours, we had been to Chowpatty Beach, we'd seen a wild cobra eating a wild parrot (for realz!!), we'd been to the Jain Temple and the park,... and frankly, we were getting hungry. It was our last day in India, and we wanted out bellies to go out in style... but there wasn't a restaurant in sight.

Walking along the street, we spotted a friendly-looking woman carrying a bag of groceries and we nabbed her! "Do you know a place around here where we could get some lunch?" YES! By the glorious hand of fate, she led us to a place called "Guru Dakshinayan" - which offered an amazing feast of South Indian food, which is just what we were hoping for.

Seriously friends, the food here was SO GOOD. If ever there were a meal to inspire me to religious levels of rapture and speaking in tongues, this was it. So much so that I didn't even stop to think about taking a picture of our first dish, an "Adai Masala Dosa," a dosa made with "mixed pulses." Of course, just about any time you order a dosa, it comes with a bowl of sambar (that's the bowl of light, brothy, spicy soup you see on the table) and a bowl of fresh coconut chutney. I love me some sambar, but I'm not afraid to say when a restaurant's sambar isn't up to snuff. Happily, Guru Dakshinayan serves up some really really delicious sambar.

On the other hand, not every meal in India comes with two totally stunning little side sauces like this one did. Do you see those little bowls in this picture? They were filled with the most amazing substances - thick, spread-like sauces with such rich and complex flavors... we were completely in love. Not at all overbearing, but really complimentary to our dishes. Apparently one was tomato-based and the other onion-based... but honestly, I don't know if we ever would have guessed that... the flavors were just incredible. How much would I LOVE to have those recipes!??

Also featured in this picture is our lovely homemade ginger ale. Refreshing! Perfectly sweet! Sparkly! Light! Cooling! Warming! Perfect!

Finally... after we finished our dosa (which jumped right into our mouths before I could photograph it), we were served our "Ambassador Idli" dish: mini idlies soaked in sambar and served with onion, coconut, coriander (bottom left of the picture). Based on the sambar, the side dishes, the dosa, and the ginger ale, I was already in love with this restaurant. Jane was still oohing and ahhing over her last few bites of the dosa - "Jane," I said, "It gets better!" One bite of Ambassador Idli had me ready to run away and elope with the chef. SO GOOD. Freaking freaky freak-out good.
Even though we were actually already getting full, we weren't ready to call it quits with so many more things on the menu! So we ordered "Bisibelle Hulianna:" rice & lentil cooked with vegetables, spices, served with papaddum". This was not quite as swoon-worthy as the idli dish, but still totally delicious, and we still ate the whole entire thing (obviously!). Loved the little crunchy bits sprinkled on top and the thick, perfectly-spiced gravy.

A friendly fellow at the next table mentioned that the coffee here was especially good, and was a must-have. So, at the end of our meal, we both ordered coffee. Generally, in India tea & coffee = MILK... so I was really stoked that they were perfectly happy to bring me black coffee. The coffee arrived piping HOT in a little metal cup, which you then decant into the little bowl below... to help it cool. You can even pour it back and forth to just the right temperature for you and your tastebuds. Normally, I am not a black coffee person, but this really was excellent, excellent coffee, and I wish I could have another cup right now.

Here is Jane, enjoying her coffee. It was an excellent end to our meal, and an excellent boost for the rest of the day that we spent walking, walking, walking across Mumbai before getting on a plane at 1:30 in morning, headed for home.

We loved this place so much, we stayed until they closed the place down... we were the last ones to leave! What a great meal to have on the last day of our trip.... we felt very fulfilled! Next time I'm back in Mumbai, I'll be sure to come back here again, and hopefully I'll have my favorite foodie travel pal Jane with me again.


  1. oh man am i jealous. but i've been to that jain temple, could you feel it? mumbai is such a busy and huge place, huh?


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  3. The whole meal sounds so amazing!

  4. Oh wow, that is exactly the type of Indian food I dream of - I wish I could taste it for myself, it looks so so so good!

  5. It sounds incredible! I've followed your posts from India eagerly and every single one have left me drooling a bit. That meal sounds awesome! I also love ginger ale, I made some a while ago and it's great to drink to food!

  6. Anonymous6:05 PM

    wow, my mouth is watering looking at the food and reading this post. I've been thinking about Mumbai quite a bit lately as I'm about 2/3 of the way through Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" (definitely worth reading if you haven't already). This sounds like what I would want to do on a visit - amazingly delicious food and walking all day.

    Thanks for all of the great India food posts!

    :-) jen e.

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