Meet Richa, an Indian girl who’s lived across much of Europe and India and now calls Germany home. While all these places have contributed to her identity, a piece of her heart will always be reserved for her beloved city of Mumbai. Here she shares a slice of life in the Indian City of Dreams.
You can never have a dull moment in Mumbai, especially in South Mumbai, next to the sea. Many of the top restaurants, art theatres and hang-out places are in the western and southern parts of the city.
My favourite restaurants are Souk at Taj Mahal Palace with its amazing views of the coast and serving Mediterranean food and Pali Village Cafe with its funky rustic interiors, offering European dishes. For Indian fare, Masala Library is perhaps the best in the city, fusing ancient recipes with molecular cuisine techniques.
Mumbai also has many charming little breakfast and coffee places. Jamjar Diner, a funky breakfast joint, Candies, a cute lunch spot and Café Madras in Matunga, a no frills cafe with great South Indian snacks.
Culture, nightlife and spa downtime
For a cultural fix, I’d recommend Prithvi Theatre, one of the oldest and best known in the city, and the National Center of Performing Arts Theatre, which showcases contemporary art, music and theatre. Some of the best actors in the city perform at both.
There are many good bars and clubs in South Mumbai, such as China House Lounge, a great cocktail bar set in the Hyatt, Toto’s Garage, a fun pub with an American retro vibe and Tryst, a popular nightclub with great music.
For some spa downtime, all the five star hotels offer spas and beauty treatments; sometimes they’re available with great discounts. Rewe Escape Spa in Mahalaxmi district and the wonderfully luxurious Myrah Spa in Juhu are favourites.
Shopping made easy
Mumbai is the city of convenience. For groceries, I’d recommend home delivery via online stores such as Bigbasket and Grofers. The city also has many malls and supermarkets in areas of Lower Parel and Goregaon. High Street Phoenix in Lower Parel and Inorbit mall in Malad are great options.
Top tourist tip
If I were having visitors over I’d be sure to take them for the night view from rooftop lounge bar AER at the Four Seasons Hotel. The view from this area, Marine Drive, is the best way to witness the sheer beauty and magnanimity of the city.
Mumbai is a way of life
Mumbai is not a city, it is a way of life. Mumbai is Mumbai due to its people. They make it what it is – a city where all are welcome. I think everyone should experience this feeling at least once in a lifetime.
Having said that, managing the daily commute and the traffic from home to work is a huge challenge in a city with over 22 million people. This becomes an even greater ordeal in the monsoon season (June-September).
So my top tip is to avoid travelling on local trains unless you’re with a local, as they’re usually very crowded. Use Uber and metered taxis.
I do not discount the fact that it takes a while to form a social circle in a new city, but I miss the energy of Mumbai and my family. Out of the cities I have lived in, Mumbai is still my favourite, because of its spirit and vibrancy. Welcome to Mumbai!
While you’re reading about India, you might like to check out my post on Delhi by a couple of my dearest friends.