At LBBD, we love to travel, and we feel that the best way to experience a city is through its people- especially those who take an active interest in all that it has to offer. So we decided that from time to time, we’re going to have clued-in residents of these vibrant places tell us the must-sees and must dos of their cities. We’re starting with Mumbaiker Maneka Chotirmall, and her curated list of restaurants, monuments, and hidden gems that normally get overshadowed to those visiting, and even resident Mumbaikers!

Mumbai has changed; her cheeks have fleshed out, limbs have grown tall and strong – we, as a city, have matured and undergone a cultural evolution. We have developed an identity, become more liberal; developed our own mind and decided to take different routes and passions from the older generations.

The opportunities for individuals have come in abundance. For every passion or hobby, there is a place for him or her and it is accepted by society. Previously, chefs were considered ‘glorified chefs’ but as the food culture flourished, the profession is now respected, admired, appreciated and even celebrated.

In a city so full of life and love you can sometimes miss out the experiences that gives the city its identity. Here’s what I’ve curated for my Little Black Book.


ART & CULTURE 

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Kitab Khana | Tucked away in the heritage area of South Mumbai is a rustic bookstore cascading with novels on Indian literature, history, and art. Surrounded by the copious amounts of words lies a homely café run by an elderly couple, who serve homemade authentic foods such as The Burrito Bowl and Sabudana Khichdi. ‘Food for thought’ is an understatement at the Kitab Khana.

Where | Somaiya Bhavan Ground Floor 45/47 MG Road,Fort; Price | INR 99 onwards

Bhau Daji Lad Museum | Spend the day exploring this museum established in 1872.  Formerly known as the Victoria and Albert Museum, this historic site is the oldest museum in Mumbai. Filled with old artifacts, decorative and industrial art on the history of India, spend the day traversing through India’s beautiful past.

Where | 91 A, Rani Baug, Veer Mata Jijbai Bhonsle Udyan,Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Marg, Byculla East ; Price | Varies according to age.

Jehangir Art Gallery | Step into the cornucopia of Mumbai’s art culture. Located in the art district of Mumbai, Jehangir Art Gallery has gradually become the center of art activity of contemporary Indian art and design.

Where | 161 Kalaghoda, Mumbai; Price | Free

Prithvi TheaterBuilt in 1978, this space aims to promote professional theatre and host and conduct workshops for those learning. It is an inviting and relaxing space to enjoy a hot cup of chai at The Prithvi Café, breaking away from the bustling city of Mumbai.

Where | 20 Janki Kutir Juhu Church Road; Price | INR 125-400

Chatterjee & Lal | Conceptualized in 2003, the gallery and the artists have cultivated an important junction in Mumbai’s maturing art space. It continuously strives to promote art projects that are stimulating and reflect the Indian culture.

Where | 01/18 Kamal Mansion Floor 1, Arthur Bunder Road Colaba; Price | Free

NCPA | Established in 1969, the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) is India’s leading cultural institution to highlight and preserve India’s traditions in music, dance, theatre, and history, in addition to being a platform for upcoming artists to perform/display their work.

Where | National Centre Performing Arts Marg, Nariman Point; Price | For more on membership~ http://www.ncpamumbai.com/support-the-ncpa/membership

Mount Mary Church |  Light a candle and make a wish at Mount Mary Church, situated atop a hill in Bandra for over a hundred years. Overlooking the Arabian Sea, Mount Mary’s Basilica is peaceful, calm and will bring you serenity.

Where | Mount Marys Road, Bandra West; Price | Free

Studio X Mumbai | An experimental contemporary space to explore events, seminars, and workshops that address contemporary architectural practices, sociology, public art, and influence of technology in India. It is a great space for those who want to participate in topics of the future.

Where | Fourth Floor, Kitab Mahal, Opposite New Excelsior Cinema, 192 D N Road, Fort,


EXPLORE MUMBAI

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Town Hall | Asiatic Library – Founded in 1804 by Sir James Mackintosh, the Asiatic Library was renowned for housing books on Asian studies. Built in the heritage and regal part of Mumbai, the rustic library holds over 800,000 books including the first edition of Dante’s Inferno.  The steps outside double up as one of Mumbai’s most calming spots.

Where | Horniman Circle, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Fort, Mumbai; Price | Free

Nipponzan Myohoji Temple | No faith goes unseen in Mumbai. Hidden in the streets of Worli Naka is the charming Nipponzan Mydhoji Temple, a Japanese-Buddhist temple. Built in the 1950’s, this expansive temple captures the life of Lord Buddha through the detailed paintings on the walls and allows believers to practice their faith.

Where | Worli; Price | Free

Elephanta Caves | If you have an extra day when visiting Mumbai, take a boat ride and discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Elephanta Caves.  Walk within the caves filled with Hindu and Buddhist deities and learn about our world and her past.

Where | 9 nautical miles across the sea from the Gateway of India; Price | Small passenger boats ferry to and fro from Gateway to Elephanta caves, Charges for Elephanta Caves is Rs.120 /- return

Chor Bazaar |  {In}famous for selling stolen, second hand goods, Chor Bazaar gained its reputation when Queen Victoria’s violin went missing while being offloaded and was mysteriously found here. Find antiques, vintage jewelry and funky items to display in your house.

Where | South Mumbai, Opposite Null Bazaar, Mumbai; Price | Free

Rajabai Tower | A lovely site from South Mumbai, the clock tower stands at a height of 85 meters and was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1878, who also conceptualized the Big Ben in London.

Where | Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil Marg,Fort; Price | Free

The Bombay Heritage Walks | Since 1999, city architects Abha Bahl and Brinda Gaitonde have been arranging walking tours in Bombay.  The primary aim is to educate and raise awareness on the city’s architecture and heritage sites.

Where | Punjabi Chandu Halwai Karachiwala Navyug Niketan, Ground. Floor 185 Walkeshwar Road, Teenbatti; Price | Varies on the type of walk

Mumbai Walker |  Enjoy the city on foot, walk through the colors and faces where dreams are achieved and passions grow.  Visit the historic sites that Mumbai takes pride in and learn about the home of Indian cinema, Bollywood.

Where | G-6, Prathamesh Society,Off V.S.Marg, Prabhadevi; Price | INR 2000

Nehru Planetarium |  Specially made on March 3rd, 1977, the Nehru Planetarium gradually developed into a centre for scientific study of astronomy and a platform for scholars to meet on scientific matters. It’s a great place to catch interesting workshops, and to watch a solar or lunar eclipse.

Where | Dr. Annie Besant Road,Worli; Price | Adult INR 55 Child INR 30

Hanging Gardens | Also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, they are situated on top of Malabar Hill in South Mumbai. You can watch a sunset over the Arabian Sea everyday, amid green vegetation and animal shaped hedges. Designed in the 1881 by Ulhas Ghapokar, here you can spend your day taking  photos and going for an early morning jog, as the air is clean and crisp.

Where | Malabar Hills, South Mumbai; Price | Free

 

FOOD &DRINKS

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Café Madras | Upon arriving at King’s Circle you can spot Café Madras, not by the huge signage but by the crowd of people with rumbling appetites. Come ready to get your hands greasy and make no plans for later, for you’ll want to take a blissful nap. Definitely try the filtered coffee, and the set dosa.

Where | 38 -B, Circle House, King’s Circle, Matunga; Price {for two} | INR 200

Swati Snacks | After a full day of sightseeing, enjoy authentic and real South Indian and Gujrati food {remember to go 45 minutes before you’re truly hungry}. The authentic flavors are mixed with strong Indian spices so delicious you keep eating. Must try the Pudi and Suva Panki, Pao Baji, and Bhel Puri.

Where | 248 Karai Estate, Tardeo; Price {For Two}| INR 500

Kala Ghoda Café |  Situated on a tiny street in Kala Ghoda, this coffee shop keeps authentic arabica and robusta beans from South India.  An intimate space with worn walls makes you feel at home.  A perfect place to work with a cup of coffee, so bring your laptop, and/or book. Don’t leave without ordering the waffles covered in honey and butter or oats porridge.

Where | 10 Ropewalk Lane, Kala Ghoda,Colaba; Price {For Two} | INR  600

Britannia | Famously known for the Vegetarian Berry pulao, Caramel Custard, and Golden Fried Bombil, Britannia was opened in 1923 by determined Iranian immigrants. Previously designed to serve continental food to British officers, the food has gradually changed to cater to the Indian market.

Where | Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, 16 Ballard Estate, Fort; Price {For Two} |  INR 700

The Bagel Shop | This café makes you feel like you’re having a picnic; amid trees and flower. Located in Bandra, The Bagel Shop is a great place for brunch/lunch, with its variety of healthy and hearty options such as the BBQ Tofu and Hummus salad, Peanut Butter and Banana Bagel, and Berry Smoothie. *Has a lovely Vegan menu.

Where | 30, Pali Mala Road, Off Carter Road, Bandra West; Price {For Two} |  INR 1000

Café Mysore | Opened in 1934, this restaurant is known to be the oldest in Mumbai. Over 100 breakfast parcels are delivered every Sunday, and 60 Idlis are cooked per batch {Each batch takes 8 minutes to cook.} Stop by for a quick lunch; we promise you – 20 minutes max!

Where | 461, Durlabh Nivas, Bhaudaji Road, Opposite King’s Circle Garden, Matunga East; Price {For Two} | INR 400

Oh Calcutta! | Transport yourself to the romantic city of Calcutta and enjoy delectable Bengali eats.  Oh Calcutta offers a range of modern and traditional Bengali food such as Bekti, Steamed Hilsa and Kosha Mangsho.

Where | Hotel Rosewood, Tulsiwadi Lane, Mahindra Heights, Tardeo; Price {For Two} | INR 1200

Eat Around The Corner |  It will remind you of school, waiting in the lunch line to pick up your favorite foods, and taking your meal to a table to share with your best friends.  Opened in 1998, Eat Around The Corner is tucked away in Bandra and serves fresh and natural foods, with the concept of simple and clean eating.  A dish, a drink, a dessert to satisfy everyone, it’s a great place to keep everyone happy!

Where | 24th & 30th Road Junction, Opposite St Theresa’s Boys High School, TPS III, Bandra West; Price {For Two} | INR 600


DRINKS

Cheval | Listen to upcoming rock bands like Sky Rabbit and Troubadours while enjoying a glass of Sangria at this contemporary bar. Famously known as the hub of “Focus,” Mumbai’s first festival dedicated to the work of young, upcoming and established photographers from India.

Where | 145, Near Rhythm House, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort; Price | A pint of beer costs Rs. 200

Woodside Inn | Transfer yourself to England at this quaint and dark pub in Colaba. A perfect place for an early dinner and/or after work drinks to get the weekend started. Order the Barley Salad with Feta, Dates and Flat Parsley or the Truffle Fries With Parmesan & Rosemary.

Where | Wodehouse Road, Opposite Regal Cinema, Colaba; Price | A pint of beer costs Rs. 225


WELLNESS

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K Weigh | Have a passion for fitness and nutrition? Want to learn how to keep your body lean and strong? Stop over at K Weigh – a nutritionist in Mumbai for excellent advice on health – and review fun programs to get into shape!

Where | Address on request; +919619580003; Price | Varies from plan to plan

Well n Trim | A perfect venue to start your day – a yoga center to keep you feeling clean and healthy all day. Choose from a range of classes, such as Fat Burning Yoga, Stretching Yoga, and Vinayasa. Or move to the beat and enjoy Zumba, Aerobics or Hot Boot Camp.

Where | 2nd Floor, Eros Theater, Cambata Building, Churchgate; Price | Varies from class to class

Yoga House | Take a step back from hectic Mumbai life, and let the serenity and calm of Yoga House overcome you. Tucked away in a small alley in Bandra, here you can treat your body well, and enjoy fresh juices, quinoa burgers and wholesome oatmeal with goat’s milk.  Enjoy the clean open space by joining a yoga class or reading your favorite book.

Where | 53, Chimbai Road, Behind St. Andrews Church, Off Hill Road, Bandra West; Price | INR  800 for two

Priyadarshini Park | Run on the track, stretch your legs –  spend a few hours of your day at Priyadarshini Park and Sports Complex, to get a full workout in a green, clean environment.

Where | Priyadarshini Park and Sports Complex Napeansea Road; Price | Free

Joggers’ Park | Joggers’ Park was an initiative and gift from the late Sir Oliver Andrade, and was where Mumbai’s first laughing club was introduced. Located by the seaside near Bandra, joggers meet here to exercise on the well-designed track, 400 meter track.

Where | Off Carter Road, Bandra West; Price | Free

Headrush India | Once you’re done gallivanting around the city’s splendid diversity, tighten your seatbelt and head to Headrush. Located amidst the European inspired architecture of Hiranandani, Powai, Headrush India is your dose of real adventure in a city where every adventure gets difficult to define. Lose the pomp and shoot some enemies in Paintball, or glide through Mumbai’s highest Zipline at this adventure arena. Even better, sit with their travel experts and design your adventure expedition around the remotest corners of the country. For more information: www.headrush.in

Where | Headrush, Galleria Basement, Galleria, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai; Price | INR  250 onwards for a group under 20 people.


FASHION & DECOR 

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Josmo Studio | Born in the heart of contemporary Mumbai, Josmo Studio is immersed in revolutionizing expression through design. In essence, the magic lies within transforming radical ideas into purposeful furniture – pieces that, in fact, speak to you. Pieces custom made to fit together, but more importantly, to fit you.

Where | 64, Evergreen Industrial Estate, Shakti Mill Lane, Mahalaxmi,

Good Earth | Tasteful and Indian, yet with a contemporary twist, Good Earth brings you the best of home furniture and stationary alike. With a simple and minimalistic eye for design, the pure white pillows and bed throws will keep you calm.

Where | 11/12, Raghuvanshi Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg; Price | INR 1000 Onwards

Colaba Causeway | Shop for a mix of street fashion, antiques, and souvenirs. Walk your way through the narrow streets shopping for old-fashion products to keep your cupboard full of Mumbai memories.

Where | Colaba; Price | INR 50 onwards{bargain market}

KK Sarees | Creative director Karishma Kimatrai designs a collection of sarees, kaftans and lehengas for the modern day woman. With an eclectic range of one off garments designed for each season, KK Sarees customizes the perfect look and style for the customer.

Where | Shop No 20 & 21 Mathura Bhuvan, Hindmata, 96 D P Road, Dadar East; Price | On request

Tappu Ki Dukaan | A fun, and quirky store full of stationary, lifestyle products, and gifts, Tappu Ki Dukaan is a quaint, kitschy shop that is lively and will always leave you feeling good!

Where | 27-A, Kermani Building, Mezzanine floor,Above Saxonia Spects, Sir P.M. Road, Fort; Price | INR 50 onwards

Mangaldas Market | One of the oldest and most renowned markets, it is known to be the home to traders from Gujarat since 1893. It’s a great and reasonable place to shop for Indian textiles and traditional clothes, with a huge variety of prints, patterns and colors.

Where | Janjikar Street, Lohar Chawl, Kalbadevi, South Mumbai; Price | INR 300 onwards


VOLUNTEER |
 

Aapne Aaap | An NGO dedicated to improving the lives of girls that have been subject to prostitution, Aapne Aaap is day center where children are taught  vocational skills, handy-craft, and other fun activities. Have a passion you want to share with the world? Start by making a difference to the girls. Contact with Aapne Aaap and connect on how you can teach your passion.

Where | 1st lane Khetwadi, 1st Floor Municipal School, Near Alankar Cinema


UPCOMING FESTIVA
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October 2nd, 2013 – Footstep For Good 10K

November 2nd & 3rd, 2013 – Mumbai International Wine Festival  | Mehboob Studio, Bandra

February 8th & 9th, 2014 – Kala Ghoda Wine Festival | Royal Oak Banquets, Kala Ghoda


About the Author |
 Born in India and brought up in Kobe, Japan, Maneka loves seeing new things, creating new memories, and traveling to new places. Learning about cultures and people have recently become a passion along with Instagram. Recently moving to Mumbai, the city of excess, with an abundance of people and overflowing emotions, she’s spent the past few years exploring its nooks and corners, and its heritage and cultural offerings.