Those who work in Lower Parel know that it’s a foodie’s haven and it’s a task to decide on a place for lunch; Copper Chimney has the best Punjabi chicken; but then again CPK makes the perfect meat cravers pizza. To put you out of that dilemma I’ve picked up the best places for lunch with recommendations on what to eat or what not to eat.
Crystal, next to Phoenix Towers
The twin of the Crystal restaurant in Chowpatty opened in Lower Parel almost a year back and has stayed true to its reputation of serving delicious and cheap food. The menu is strictly North Indian hence has been a life saver for most of the bachelors and bachelorettes who’ve migrated to Mumbai.
A standard order should include dal makhani, baingan bharta, paneer bhurji and freshly made tawa rotis. Rajma chawal, gobhi parantha and mixed parantha are a must try. Of course you would feel a strong urge to take a nap after that. Before heading back to work we recommend you eat their kheer; yes, even if you are full and about to burst. The bowls filled with thick, creamy and delicious kheer will transport you to heaven…wait…come back, pay the bill and leave; there are hungry people waiting outside.
Cost: Around 300/- for two
Jai Hind Lunch Home, opposite Kamala Mills
It’s Lower Parel’s answer to Mahesh Lunch Home at Fort and is a lot cheaper. Make sure you reach early or else the lunch time might stretch to a good one and a half hour.
The first three pages of the seafood menu are enough to get your mouth salivating and if you get past them you’ll find the tikkas and dal tadka’s. But I’ll keep that for next time and will stick to the machhi fries instead. Bombil, surmai or bangda fry is what you should start with. If you don’t like your Bombay Duck talela then have it bharela; bombil pakodas stuffed with tiny and spicy kardi prawns. Move on to the main course section where seafood made Konkan, Coastal Karnataka and Goan style awaits you. The meen gassi is really mean and the prawns pulimunchi with neer dosa will make you loosen up your belt. No, we really mean it. The sole kadhi here is not as tangy as you get in other places but does the job right.
Cost: Around 700/- for two
Caution: The food here induces sleep so please visit on days when you are not loaded with work.
Smoke House Deli, Phoenix Mills
Have a business meeting lined up? Smoke House Deli is the perfect place to sit and talk while you eat. Also, a good choice if you are planning to impress a client. The all white interiors are a relief on a hot afternoon.
There’s an interesting choice of soups and we would recommend the tomato and lemon grass broth which is light on the palette and stomach. Salads need a special mention for their sheer innovativeness. Try the smoked fig salad that comes with grape fruit, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and lettuce. Order it with a glass of wine and if you are not in the mood for alcohol then ask for the coriander, aragula and grape juice; something worth trying.
There isn’t much for the vegetarians except pasta when it comes to the main course. The carnivores should order a steak or better still a Cambodian basa; crispy from outside and tender from the inside.
Desserts aren’t too promising especially the tiramisu. Chocolate walnut cake is the safer bet.
Cost: Around Rs 2000/- for two sans alcohol
The Tasting Room, Raghuvanshi Mills
A short walk inside Raghuvanshi Mills, all the way till the end and there sits the quiet and cosy restaurant inside the Good Earth store. The setting and ambience is perfect for an evening out but we wouldn’t mind going there for lunch either.
There is an extensive wine bar so be seated if you have a good two hours to spare. A bruschetta platter is the perfect antipasti with bell peppers and artichokes for topping. If you plan to order a soup we’d recommend the classic minestrone; light and fresh and won’t make you feel full. Their best selling watermelon and feta cheese salad is worth all the praises and money. Topped with pine nuts it’ll do you good in this hot summer.
Call for a chorizo if you are a pork lover or stick to basa. Avoid roasted Cajun chicken if you can which tastes good from the outside but loses flavour once you dig deeper. Open ravioli is recommended for vegetarians but only if you like a lot of pesto.
The dessert menu is something we can drool over, literally. Their orange flavoured crème brulee is what you must order.
Cost: Around Rs 1800/- for two without drinks
The Irish House, Phoenix Mills
The sprawling Irish bar might not look like a perfect place for lunch but their power lunch is something you should definitely try. The four course lunch starts with soup du jour or soup of the day. The soups are generally decent but please avoid the baked bean soup which tastes like boiled rajma. Second course has five salads to choose from. If you pick coriander and lemon marinated mushroom salad do ask them go easy on the citrus flavour because we actually shuddered while eating it.
For the third course you can choose from entrees, pastas or sandwiches. The king steak which is a fish preparation is highly recommended but go for a pasta linguine in puttanesca sauce if you don’t want to end up feeling hungry after an hour. The fourth course of dessert hasn’t got much to talk about. Warm walnut brownie isn’t warm enough and panacotta with mix berry compote is too creamy.
The food is not a winner here but for Rs 350 it’s not a bad deal either. Add Rs 95 to it and get a pint of beer too.
Cost: Rs 350/- per person for the Power Lunch
You might not always have enough time to sit and have a complete meal. Sometimes you just need to grab something on the go. For such days head to Maroosh and have one of their chicken shawarmas. The humus is one of the best in Mumbai. Tibbs Frankie does not need any recommendation. Pack two frankies and you are good for the day. Subway is a good option too even though they have discontinued there sub of the days.
But don’t let work always dictate where you eat and what you eat. On lethargic Fridays and those grumpy Saturdays when you have to come to work make sure you hit one of these spots for some soul stirring food.