Mumbai -Must shop- Bungalow8

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Since 2003, Mumbai’s beautifully styled first concept store spotlights the very best of Indian inspired design and fashion.  This is where Madonna and Sting shop when they are in town. From dining and living, bath, bed and fashion, everything is lifestyle connected. Walking thru the shop is like living in a dream house. Bungalow 8’s philosophy is to pair “Indian-ness with global-ness”. Charming.

ASK: For their house designed kimonos to bring some cosiness back home

At the time of writing, the Colaba store was about to move to Churchgate.

An organic pop up restaurant helmed by owner Maithili Ahluwalia’s mother is coming up in September.

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Mumbai -Cosy Brunch- Pali Village Cafe

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A 60’s European style restaurant with an Indian touch makes it one of the cosiest eatery in Mumbai. Heritage tiled floor and exposed walls, the decor itself takes you on a journey. Their menu is highly Mediterranean inspired so don’t expect to find typical local food here, for that you’ll have to go to Pali Bhavan next door. However, for brunch, this is the right place to be. Modern and old fashioned.

ASK: For their buttermilk pancakes. It’s just so good.

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Mumbai -Modern Nostalgia dinner - Pali Bhavan

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Tejal Mathur, who also designed Pali Village Cafe for same owner Mishali Sanghani, definitely has a taste for stylish interiors. Antiques, vintage Indian photographs she has hunted all over the country gives a chic and nostalgic feeling to this fusion Indian food restaurant. Menu gives a wide range of choice from north to south Indian dishes. Light yet delicious.

ASK: For “not too hot” if you fear spicy

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Mumbai -Quirky Shop- Loose Ends

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Ex media professional Madhumita Goswami created this quirky shop that carries home accessories, clothes and retails “stuff less ordinary”. Its goal is to gather things that are “unlike any other available in the market”. Located near the popular Bandra market, you will indeed find products you have never seen elsewhere. Cushion covers, T-shirt, ashtray… A good stopover to buy an eccentric gift.

ASK: For the vintage Hindi film posters. You might be able to find something unusual and stylish.

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Mumbai -Hotel- Abode Bombay

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Literally “Bombay house”, the only so called “boutique hotel” in Mumbai and old restored guest house is tucked in the heart of Colaba historical heritage district. Tastefully designed and furnished with a vintage 20th colonial century and art decor, the cosy 20 rooms meet all budgets. Complimentary breakfast and Wifi. Very convenient for a first time in the city.

ASK: To meet Lizzie the owner. She has very good city and travel tips.

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Mumbai -Arty Café- Kala Ghoda Cafe

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Photographer and owner Farhad Bomanjee created this little café, bakery, and gallery in an early 20th century barn. Its intellectual vibe attracts many students of the area, and is well known for its coffee quality. The organic house blend sourced directly from plantation is made from south Indian Arabica and Robusta coffee varieties. Salads and desserts are also good. Breakfast is served until 13:00.

ASK: for an expresso and a dark chocolate cake, the perfect energy fix equation.  

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Mumbai -Hipster Corner- Filter

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This little hipster corner store curated by advertising copywriter filters, as well as showcasing the works of illustrators, photographers, graphic designers and product innovators. The store offers a range of products that goes from limited edition prints and stationery, to T-shirts, mouse pads, diaries, sketchbooks… A good mix of local and international modern refined aesthetics.

ASK: For the latest works from Mumbai designers.

11am-7pm- Closed on Sundays

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Mumbai -Hidden Gem- Cafe Zoe

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This huge loft converted old mill is a hidden gem in Lower Parel area. Tucked in a prolongation of Senapati Bapat Marg, you might have to ask your way a few times before reaching. The blue frog in the same street can be a landmark. When you have to cross city from north to south this is a good stopover for a western meal or drink (live band in the evening).

ASK: To be seated upstairs to get a nice perspective of the cafe.

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Mumbai -Must see- Bombay Electric

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Welcome to the coolest shop in Mumbai. If you’re looking for what Indian emerging talents and indie labels have to offer, it’s right here. Set in a beautiful heritage building facing the Taj Mahal, top names as respected fashion designers Manish Arora, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Sonam Dubal are also represented. The store also serves space for art projects, book readings and exhibitions.

ASK: to try some clothes on to feel part of Mumbai elite, who knows you might have saved enough to afford it in the end.

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Mumbai -Must do/Lunch- Britannia & Co

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Certainly a must-do in Mumbai, this family run restaurant founded in 1923, settled in a Renaissance style building, is a work of art by Scottish architect George Wittet (famous for the “Gateway to India” monument). The charming 93 year old owner Boman Kohinoor will help you make your choice among his timeless Parsi and Iranian cuisine. London Dishoom restaurants found inspiration in those types of cafés, which only a few remain in Mumbai. Plus, you get to Dine below a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Mahatma Gandhi and the Zoroastrian prophet Zarathustra. Unlikely.

ASK: For the Chicken berry pulao (rice made with Iranian barberries) and… The crème caramel.

Lunch only 12-4pm. closed on Sundays.

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Mumbai -Feel Good Cafe- The Nutcracker

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This little feel good cafe serves breakfast all day. Friendly owner Anaheeta Bafna created her mostly vegetarian menu with chefs who have worked in well-known establishments such as The Taj Mahal Palace Tower. Their sandwiches and salads are also worth a try, new on the menu is the Chunky Mushroom Burger. Fresh food is prepared in house, and the coffee, using blends of Robusta and Arabica comes from plantations of the southern peninsula region. While desserts are made from fine Belgian chocolate. “The Nutcracker” is also a posh chick headquarter; If you prick up your ears and listen a little you might be able to catch up on the latest gossip, Delightful.

ASK: For their summer cooler and shakes, goes well with anything.

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Mumbai -Shop local- Fabindia

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Fabindia was created in 1960 by American John Bissell to curate sustainable rural employments. Today, the brand works with over 15 000 artisans. Their stores (over a 100) offer everything in one go, all made from traditional and hand based processes: Textiles, fashion items, stationery, furniture, organic food… Their body care products are particularly worth the try. All at affordable price.

ASK: For their lemon and mint foot scrub. Such a relief after a walking day.

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Mumbai -Quirky- Chatterjee and Lal Art Gallery

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Housed in a Victorian era warehouse, the gallery formed in 2003 by husband and wife Mortimer Chatterjee and Tara Lal is an interesting spot if you want to discover the city’s art scene. They focus on the works of emerging and mid-career artists. For the curious ones.

ASK: For the event calendar of artist projects in other spaces within the city.

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Mumbai -Quirky Bar- Toto’s Garage

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A 1970’s WW Beetle fixed on the ceiling, men carrying drinks suited up as mechanics, AC/DC hits playing continuously, this is the scene that strikes you when you enter Toto, a hidden garage turned bar in the heart of West Bandra. Come early to get a seat, as it has been a place to go for years.

6pm - 1 am

ASK: For the Masala peanuts if you dare

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Mumbai -Eat local- Hotel Guru Kripa

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Don’t be mistaken Hotel Guru Kripa is not a hotel. This is how they used to call restaurants in Bombay.  Held by the Wadwha family who fled from Pakistan to Mumbai at the time of partition, this place is packed on Sunday’s cause this is where you’ll find the best road side food in town.

ASK: For Samosa parrice (potato pancake) delicious.

9:30 to Midnight

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Mumbai -Must go- Leopold Cafe

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Leaving Colaba without stopping by at “Leo’s” would be a mistake. Immortalized by Gregory David Roberts in his best seller Shantaram, this cafe, bar and restaurant first appeared in the city scene in 1871, and used to be a wholesale oil store and a pharmacy.

Being one of the first sites touched by the 2008 terror attacks, some walls still bear bullet holes. The place reopened 4 days after the tragedy as a symbol of survival. It has always been the place where locals and tourists meet. A legendary landmark.

ASK: For a Kingfisher beer, that’s what to drink here.

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