This Sunday’s cycle ride yielded a mish-mash of culinary experiences. The day started with Bandra’s Theobroma and its Akuri. It was quite nice, creamy and spiced right; and a major star of the sideshow was the cheesy hash brown. The macaroons that came next were, however, a huge disappointment – the raspberry filling was delicious but the macaroon itself crumbled into gloopy nothingness in my hands. Not a patch on Le 15.
Next stop was VT, and an old favourite seems to have spruced up again. Cannon (just outside the exit for the pedestrian subway) used to be Mumbai’s greatest pao bhaji (ok one of the greatest) but had in the middle fallen distinctly into mediocrity; thankfully it seems to have recovered its lost touch. Now I think of Pao Bhaji as comfort rather than truly gourmet, and indeed I think of most pao bhaji as insipid mash, but Cannon (along with Sardar in Tardeo) is definitely one of those the critics tag “worth visiting”. The secret of their explosive name is a mystery, but the pao bhaji is good for two simple reasons – lots of butter (far more than average) and a very long simmer that makes this a dense, dark brown bhaji instead of the orange slop that most places serve. Cannon fries its onions long and hard, and then the veggies of the bhaji itself sits simmering (and darkening) for at least an hour on one tawa while the one of other three is being used to serve the current crop of customers. Slow cooking it is, and this multi-tawa business is only possible in a place like Cannon who is confident ahead of time that multiple massive (four-foot-wide) griddles full of bhaji will sell out.
Next to Cannon is another old favourite – Kala Khatta Cold Drinks. Its main offering is the eponymous Kala Khatta – a spice-sweet-sour (and cold) drink that is distinctly superior to the average roadside Kala Khatta available all over Mumbai. The place also serves a few other flavours – I tried White Rose, which turned out to be a clear sharbat with a nice musky rose smell.