Eating in Alibaug – Maharashtra, India

Eating in Alibaug – Maharashtra, India

Sun setting over the beautiful ocean, golden rays bouncing off gleaming waters, waves crashing on the beach providing  a background score, happy chatter enveloping you. It’s easy to see why the city’s cacophony is but a distant memory at Alibaug – plus you don’t have to travel too far to get here. While local cuisine  is always a hot favourite, a few Mumbai restaurants have trickled in, bringing  with them trendy spaces and gastronomic experiences that are slowly changing the culinary landscape in this sleepy hamlet.

Don’t waste any time upon arriving  at Mandwa Jetty; plonk down at the waterfront Boardwalk by Flamboyante even before you get to the parking lot (see Where to Eat for all details).

boardwalk-flamboyante

One of the specials at Boardwalk by Flamboyante, the Grilled Fish pairs well with the watermelon and feta salad

Run by  the team behind Flamboyante in Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade, this open-air, Mediterranean- style restaurant does a great watermelon and creamy feta salad and cheesy potato wedges, with a side  of sweeping views of ferry-dotted waters. Don’t miss the Pomfret Peri Peri  and the Grilled Fish in lemon butter garlic with capers, both of which are cooked to mouthwatering perfection. A few feet from Boardwalk,  the cheerful Kiki’s Café & Deli  is the brainchild of Mumbaibased hotelier and caterer Nitin Mongia. Imagine stepping off the ferry for a hearty breakfast of Truffle Oil Scrambled Eggs, a gigantic Brownie Freakshake  and gooey Salted Carmel Tart.

kiki’s-café-&-deli

Kiki’s Café & Deli

But the eclectic café is known for more than its breakfast offerings – try the Spaghetti Aglio Olio with chicken. For a relaxed, hippie vibe, head  to Bohemyan Blue Garden Café, where  you can spend the afternoon at a shaded café next to a vegetable garden, which produces some of the eatery’s ingredients.

bohemyan-blue-garden-café

Bohemyan Blue Garden Café

The Guava Juice with Sprite and Mint Lemonade are refreshing accompaniments to its tasty – albeit not authentic – Konkani-style charcoal-grilled chicken or the Prawn Thai Curry, served with rice  and a yummy raw papaya salad. If you like a more hands-on approach  to your food, Colaba’s The Table has just the thing – informative workshops at owners Jay Yousuf and Gauri Devidayal’s home in Saswane, which  has a small-scale working farm that supplies fresh produce to the restaurant. Adrienne Thadani of Fresh & Local, who  is an expert in urban and organic farming, takes you around the farm. Before you know it, you’re wrist-deep in dirt, helping make permaculture beds, transplanting saplings and harvesting micro-greens.

All the hard work pays off handsomely when you sit down to a large spread, prepared by the chefs – juicy pieces  of barbecued chicken and eggplant hot off the grill, freshly-picked salads and creamy pastas with delicious wines, followed  by an excellent apple crumble pie.  While the menu changes with each workshop, you can always expect great food and fresh ingredients. If all this sounds too tedious, round up some friends, rent a bungalow and let  the food come to you.

live-music-at-café-zoe’s-kitchen

Live music at Café Zoe’s Kitchen

Café Zoe’s Kitchen offers weekend delivery of its signature dishes right to your doorstep. Try the half-kilo quiches – the Leeks and Ham  one is delicious and can feed a small village , or the Spaghetti in Truffle Butter Sauce and Smoked Salmon Mousse dip with Melba crisps.

Now all you have to do is sit back  and revel in the food coma.

GREAT FROM: Mumbai, Pune

GREAT FOR: Delicious food in seaside settings

WHERE TO STAY

Countryside Farm: Located about 2km from Mandwa Jetty, and with  a choice of 10 decent stay options, including rooms, a cottage and tents, Countryside Farm makes for a relaxed stay. Bohemyan Blue Stay: The spacious tents, interspersed with quaint lotus ponds, gardens and a tented dining/common area, are ideal for a laidback, romantic escape. Service might be a little slow but it makes up with good food and great surroundings.

ccaza-ccomodore

Ccaza Ccomodore

Ccaza Ccomodore: This is a great pick  when you’re travelling with a bunch  of friends. The villa sits amid a manicured lawn in which chairs, tables and hammocks are set up. The villa comes with cosy rooms and a pool.

WHERE TO EAT

Boardwalk by Flamboyante: 00-91-9920569772, 00-91-2141-237787; www.flamboyante.in; Mandwa Jetty; 11am – 9pm; reservations are mandatory.

Kiki’s Café & Deli: 00-91-9820132158, 00-91-8308802678; near Mandwa Jetty; 8am – 9.30pm

Bohemyan Blue Garden Café: 00-919823481829; www.bohemyanblue.com; Plot No 1, Agarsure, Alibaug-Rewas Main Rd, opp Fountain Head, Zirad; 11am – 7pm.

Café Zoe’s Kitchen: 00-91-9833490490; Alibaug-Rewas Main Rd; only on weekends; 9am – 9pm (for placing orders), delivery between 11.30am and 10.30pm.

SAFETY

The area is quite safe though it is better for women to travel in groups. Most beaches don’t have lifeguard facilities,  be careful while taking a dip in the ocean.

MEDICAL AID

Primary Health Centre can handle minor ailments (00-91-2141-237831, 00-91-9833955370 [Dr Abhijeet Ghase]; Dhokawade; 9am – 6pm daily except for public holidays, call for emergencies).  It’s best to head back to Mumbai  for serious medical issues.

GOOD TO KNOW

*Kiki’s Café & Deli opens at 8am,  but don’t expect service for the next  30 to 45 minutes.

*Rickshaws are easy to find  at Mandwa Jetty till 9pm. If you don’t have your own vehicle, make sure  to take down contact details of a few rickshaw drivers beforehand, or fix  a time for pick-up.

*Café Zoe’s Kitchen also delivers marinated, uncooked meats for barbecues and whole roasts with sides which needs a five-hour notice.


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