The complete monsoon guide (Part 1): Where to eat, drink, play, travel

  • Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Jun 25, 2015 21:03 IST

Don’t let the weather dampen your weekend plans. So, step out to eat, drink, play, travel... We’ve got you covered. This is Part 1 of the series.

You’ve cribbed about it. Now, celebrate the rains. Go glamping, order a (fancy) cup of tea, or go out and play football without getting all muddy.

STREET CRED: Molecular gastronomy meets pani puri — street food-inspired dishes safe for the season

>> Adhunik Pani Puri
With the use of spherification (turning liquid into roe-like spheres), the tangy tamarind chutney is turned into tiny bursts of flavour, served in a crunchy puri.

- Monkey Bar, Linking Road, Bandra (W) | Contact: 3015 1853 | Price: Rs 170

>> 2am Cheese Pav
Inspired by Mumbai’s late night street food vendors, this is a crisp, charcoal-toasted pav with butter, garlic, onions, tomatoes and green chillies, and loads of cheese. What’s not to love?

- The Bar Stock Exchange, Sakinaka | Contact: 2850 1214 | Price: Rs 150

(Left): 2am Cheese Pav; (Right): Adhunik Pani Puri

>> Bombay Bhel Puri Salad
Masquerading as our favourite street food, this salad is a healthy version, with rice puff, granola, pomegranate and orange mixed with an assortment of greens, served in a bell jar.

- Todi Mill Social, Lower Parel and Colaba Social, Colaba | Price: Rs 160

>> Cosmo Gola Fizz
Imagine an ice gola dipped in a mix of sparkling wine, vodka, Tripple Sec and cranberry juice. Enjoy the quirky cocktail that reminds you of childhood, without the risk of a bad stomach.

- Woodside Inn, Colaba | Contact: 2287 5752 Price: Rs 345

Left: Bombay Bhel Puri Salad; (Right): Cosmo Gola Fizz

>> Keema Pav
Head to this quaint restaurant for the Mutton Keema Pav, one of Chef Aloysius Dsilva’s specialties. A perfect substitute for the street snack, it’s filling and scores high on the yum factor.

- Villa Vandre, off Carter Road, Bandra (W) | Contact: 6527 9009 | Price: Rs 245

>> Simply ‘ande’
Inspired by simple boiled eggs, this version is given a fancy makeover with a coriander salsa and a side of Hollandaise, mayonnaise and Spanish rouille.

- blueFROG, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Lower Parel | Contact: 3015 1765 | Price: Rs 200

>> Arbi Tuk
At The Bombay Canteen, indigenous Indian ingredients are celebrated. Ditch the roadside Sev Puri and try the dish, which consists of deep-fried arbi (Colocasia roots) patties topped with fresh radish kachumber and a chilli-spiced curd.

- The Bombay Canteen, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel | Contact: 4966 6666 | Price: Rs 150

Arbi Tuk

— Meenakshi Iyer

HAUTE CAMPING: If you haven’t heard of glamping yet, you’ve been living in a tent

>> Fit for a king
You thought camps were basic, did you? These have featherbeds, bathtubs, and traditional Maharashtrian fare fit for a king. At a distance of 180km from Mumbai, you also have the Sahyadris as your backdrop, and a large deck to enjoy it from. Now, that beats the tents from Harry Potter. Did we mention the spa treatments?

- Fort Jadhavgadh ( | Contact: 2115 305200 | Price: Rs 16,000 per night (per couple)

>> Zorbing down from campsite
Adrenaline junkie meets comfort-hunter. Located an hour away from Mumbai, in Lonavala, the tents at Della come with picture-perfect views of the lush-green Lonavla valley, and adventure sport options such as zorbing, rock-climbing and dirt-biking. Add king-size beds, private patios and Jacuzzis and you have a five-star worthy camp.

- Della Adventure ( | Contact: 96644 88000 | Price: Rs 2,000 (per person); extra for adventure activities

>> By the river
Walk out of your camp on to the deck, and watch the river flow by. That’s the Kundalika rafting camp, 138km from Mumbai, in Kolad. It’s like being in the lap of nature (but with air-conditioning). Give adventure sports such as zip-lining or kayaking a shot.

- Nature Trails ( | Contact: 6530 2020 | Price: Rs 6,500 per night; Rs 1,550 (per person) for kayaking

>> Take a hike

Camp in style near Lonavala, with music systems in your tent, while a Karaoke night can be arranged on request. This resort, situated 166km from Mumbai, organises treks in the nearby Sahyadri range too.

- Camp Temgarh ( | Contact :94225 16089 | Price: Rs 5,000 per night (per couple)

>> Into the wild
Big Red Tent sets up camp at Kolad (125 km), Vasind (75km), Amby Valley (110km) and Karnala (50km). Go for a night walk in the forest in Kolad, visit the Karnala Bird Sanctuary or the Mahuli Fort in Vasind.

- Big Red Tent ( | Contact: 99305 82878 | Price: Rs 2,000 per night (per person)

— Poorva Joshi

NO SPLASHING:Play interrupted due to rain’ is a thing of the past; (non-mucky) football, cricket and more

>> Indoor football
Leave the mud to the detergent ads. Football in the rains need not involve a scolding from mummy (or from the wife). The AstroTurf pitch at Kick-Off is FIFA-approved. Floodlights let you play through the day. Add state-of-the-art changing rooms, refreshments and free underground parking (major props). Perfect for a five-a-side game with your buddies.

- Kick-off Astro Turf: (; Om Heera Panna Mall, Jogeshwari (W) | Contact: 88797 71265 Price: Rs 1,500 per hour (7am-5pm); Rs 2,000 per hour (5pm-11pm)

>> C’mon, Sherlock
You’re locked in a room with other people. Pick a worthy Dr Watson, work as a team and escape within an hour. Or, you could choose to solve a ‘Murder Mystery’ or attempt a ‘Prison Break’. Bring friends, colleagues or all those extended cousins. More people means more fun, and lesser price per head.

- Clue Hunt: (; 16th Road, Bandra (W) --> Contact: 2600 5225; Todi Mills, Lower Parel --> 2499 9165; Link Road, Andheri (W) --> 2630 0264 | 11am to 10.30pm | Price: Rs 800 onward per person (on weekends)

>> Not Hulk? Still, Smaaash
Navigate the laser maze by twisting and turning to dodge the beams (Catherine Zeta-Jones from Entrapment, anyone?). Or, you could feel the adrenaline rush of a virtual Formula One race-car. Wait, there’s more. A game of cricket with ambience (the simulator replicates a packed stadium) and with (virtual) Shoaib Akhtar or Shane Warne bowling at you. Or you can just go sky karting on the roof.

- Smaaash: (; Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel --> 4914 3143 | 11am to 12.30am Price: Rs 2,500 (on weekends)

>> Ready for take-off
Not Ranveer Singh from Dil Dhadakne Do, but want to fly a plane? Indulge your fantasy, albeit virtually. Pick from a Boeing 737, a Cessna or a Fighter Jet simulator and zoom away. Trust us, it’s close to the real deal.

- Flight 4 Fantasy: (; Phoenix MarketCity, Kurla (W) --> 6180 1771 | 11.30am to 9.30pm | Price: Rs 250 onward for 15 mins

>> Archers, nock your arrows
You thought mixing alcohol and games equals Spin the Bottle? PrimeTime bar in Ghatkopar has an archery zone, a bowling arena, dart games, a beer pong table (of course), and board games (for when you’re too tipsy to be trusted with a bow and arrow). They also have a smartphone app to track scores.

- PrimeTime: (; R City Mall, Ghatkopar (W) 84540 19988 | 11am to 11pm | Unlimited Price: Rs 750 per person; Bowling: Rs 900 for five people

>> Shoot at sight
Paint the town red (or yellow, or blue). Hide, advance and fire those paintballs. It’s great fun with friends, but you can walk in and form a group as well.

- Headrush: (, Hakone Entertainment Zone, Powai --> 73034 90007 | 3pm to 10pm | Price: Rs 250 onward
— Soma Das

OOLONG SO GOOD: Nothing says ‘cheer up’ on a wet day like a hot cup of tea. Four tea rooms and what to try there

>> Perfect for me-time
A fairly new cafe, The XVII is ideal for some time alone with a book in hand. Sip on the Strawberry Basil Tea or the Spiced Guava Tea, both great for a rainy afternoon. But our favourite is the Mulled Apple Tea, brewed with cinnamon and cardamom.

- The XVII Tea Room, Pali Hill, Bandra (W) | 98207 27891

>> Tea, cosy
This elegant and cosy cafe has a wide range of white and black teas. The interiors are done up in white and brown. Try the Kashmiri Kahwa — a healthy brew of cinnamon, cardamom, almonds and saffron.

- The Tea Place, Waterfield Road, Bandra (W) | 99039 85426

>> The original
The oldest tea room in the city (almost six decades old), this establishment is like a time portal to Mumbai Past. The Kulhad Masala Chai is a house favourite, but we recommend the Butter Apple Tea.

- Tea Centre, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate | 2281 9142

>> Tea, meet salad

Opened almost a year ago, Tea Trails has extensive tea menus. Pick from specialties such as Orange Spice and Mango Magic or classics like English breakfast tea and Earl Grey. The smoky Oolong, Chinese Green and Japanese Sencha are perfect for monsoons, because of medicinal properties and high antioxidants. Also try the tea-infused food, that includes Burmese Tea Salad and Tea-marbled Eggs.

- Tea Trails, The Capital Building, Bandra Kurla Complex; Viviana Mall, Thane (W); Vikas Paradise, Mulund (W), Hypercity, Malad (W).

— Meenakshi Iyer

Watch out for Part 2: How to make the most of staying indoors

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The complete monsoon guide (Part 2): How to enjoy monsoon at home
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