A former fishing hamlet known as Salsette, Bandra was colonised by the Portuguese and British. Now, its gentrified villages are home to Bollywood stars, expats and hipsters, who frequent its cool bars and traditional tea houses.
Australian film director Baz Luhrmann painted one of the murals at boutique art hotel, Le Sutra (below). Inspired by Indian mythology, a team of fashion and interior designers infused its 16 rooms with traditional fabrics and modern artworks.
A new snack is born
Local chef Rohan Mangalorkar puts a new spin on Mumbai’s pav bhaji (toasted soft bread with vegetable curry) at Pack-a-Pav (Nargis Dutt Rd, Pali Hill). The takeaway shop serves buns stuffed with meat patties, made using the chef’s mum’s recipe.
Shop lifestyle products such as stationery, wall art and T-shirts, featuring modern Indian graphic designs, at Kulture Shop. The studio-cum-retail store (below) was founded by three friends, who commission local artists to create the brightly coloured motifs.
Sundowners in style
Lit only by candles, and with a 270-degree panoramic view of the Arabian Sea, MasalaBar is among the city’s hottest cocktail venues. It’s run by the same group behind hip eateries Masala Library and Pa Pa Ya. Try the keema ghotala (curried mince meat) on bruschetta.
Doolally Taproom (Shop 5, ONGC Colony, Reclamation) is considered to be one of the best pubs in the city. The small yet bright space is stocked with board games, plus a wide selection of international ales and artisanal beer, delivered twice weekly from its microbrewery in Poona. Also worth trying is its apple cider and breakfasts.
Catch of the day
Tables are hard to come by at Canadian-Chinese chef Kelvin Cheung’s latest restaurant, Bastian (B1, New Kamal Building, Linking Rd). At the family-friendly eatery, Cheung serves a range of international cuisines, from Thai and Korean to American. Expect an eclectic mix of dishes that includes sushi-grade seafood, along with Chinese buns and cheesecake.
The Cuckoo Club (5AA, Pali Hill Rd), a cafe and performance venue, opened in 2015 as an extension to The Hive, an arts, technology and cultural centre in Chuim Village. At its black box theatre, see performances ranging from poetry and comedy to plays.
Revisiting the past
Bandra was originally one of seven islands that made up Mumbai, and comprised 24 pakhadis (villages) inhabited by fishermen and farmers. Visit two such villages, Chimbai and Ranwar, on a heritage walk. Along the way, spot the ruins of Castela de Aguada (Bandra Fort) and Victorian-era churches.
– TEXT BY JHARNA THAKKAR
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.