Celebrated Indian–American chef, winner of Top Chef Masters in 2012, and co–founder of The Bombay Canteen in Mumbai, Floyd Cardoz is currently making news globally for his Paowalla restaurant in New York City. But a part of his heart will always beat for Mumbai…
I love food. I travel for food; every trip I take has to be food-centric. My trips to Mumbai are always based on good food. I look forward to old favourites and I always look to discover what’s new. Mumbai has a special place in my heart because it’s where my love for food was born. From the time I was in school to the time I was in college, finding the most amazing bite was always a goal. And, with its melting pot of ingredients, Mumbai is a fun place for me to cook in. I am able to play with the ingredients that I remember as a kid. Going to markets brings these memories flooding back and always inspires me to cook new dishes as well as reinvent the old for The Bombay Canteen menu. Eating at the places on this list also brings back good memories. The best part about these places is that they have been good for years and continue to be consistent in the quality of food they offer.
Sassoon Docks, Colaba
I love the Sassoon Docks because my father used to take me here when I was a child. It brings back old memories, but I also have new memories being made constantly with every trip I make back here. It is inspiring to see all the wonderful seafood available, which ties in nicely with my philosophy of how important it is to eat different types of fish and how we need to keep it sustainable. Be warned, the smell and crowds can be a bit of a pain, but it’s all part of the experience.
Colaba vegetable market
I really enjoy visiting this market for its bright, vibrant colours and the fact that it always offers great photo opportunities. I’m quite active on social media, and I enjoy sharing photos of what’s local, and the produce available here lets you capture exactly that. Seasonal vegetables are at the forefront, whether jamuns, love apples, the many varieties of mango, or ponkh (tender jowar or white millet). Ponkh is well known in Gujarat, but most people in Mumbai don’t know what it is or how to eat it. During a very brief period in the winter months come the jowar grains, juicy and tender to be harvested and roasted. At The Bombay Canteen, we highlight and make Indian vegetables the stars of the dish.
Tharu Sweets Mukhi Bhandar, Khar
This place is extra special for my wife Barkha, because her father used to take her to Tharu and buy her the mawa cake and boondi laddoo. No matter how short our trip is, we have to visit this place, and I always buy her these two sweets even when she is not visiting with me. I come here on the last day of my trip so the mithai is as fresh as can be when I get home.
The Table, Colaba
Everything about The Table is great: the food, the ambiance and the service, and its location in Colaba around beautiful architecture. The cuisine is new American, and the chef endorses ‘clean’ cooking. Whether it is the dinner or the decor, everything is fresh; lots of lovely natural light to reiterate the fresh appeal to its customer. What I like most is that, if there is no ingredient for a dish, that dish is taken off the menu for that day or week. One of my favourites here is the Yellowfin Tuna Tataki: the perfect example of good, clean cooking with avocados, tomato gelee and sesame vinaigrette. It’s a great place to catch up with friends or for a date night with your wife or girlfriend.