There’s nothing like a steaming mug of comfort and a piping hot snack on a rainy afternoon. Tired of tea and toasties? Try something different.
The food trail
Sushi and tea
The Japanese Genmaicha tea (Rs 150) at Aoi has a distinct nutty flavour and pairs well with their California rolls with smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber (Rs 425) or smoked salmon with avocado and lemon mayo nigiri (Rs 300).
Where: Aoi, St John Baptist Road, near Mount Mary Steps, Bandra (West)
Piping hot crepes
A quintessential French crêperie, Suzette serves an array of sweet and savoury crepes but we vote for the special crepe with melted Belgian chocolate, homemade caramel and crushed peanuts (Rs 220). Pair it with the French breakfast tea (Rs 150), the Mariage Freres, which has a distinct chocolatey aftertaste and goes well with the crepes.
Where: Suzette, Atlanta building, Nariman Point and Pali Naka, Bandra (West)
Cous cous upma
It was raining hard when we entered Café Basilico, drenched and in immediate need of an energiser. This came in the form of a monsoon special tea: the fleur lemon infusion (Rs 130). An instant pick-me-up, the tea went down smoothly and the cous cous upma (Rs 190) and shakshouka (Rs 190) were the perfect accompaniments.
Where: Café Basilico, NA Azmi Road, Colaba and Pali Naka, Bandra (West)
Theobroma is an old favourite with Mumbaiites when it comes to its hot chocolate or the classic Irish coffee (Rs 120). The custard tart (Rs 60) is of the melt-in-your-mouth variety, with a smattering of cinnamon powder on top.
Where: Theobroma, Colaba Causeway; Pedder Road; Lokhandwala; Bandra (West)
Australian coffee shop Di Bella has a number of special hot chocolates which are soul warmers on a windy day. Try the American marshmallow hot chocolate (Rs 120) or the hot chocolate with crispy chocolate pearls (Rs 120) and pair either with the warm tutti-frutti waffles (Rs 195). A sinful combination, sure, but it works, especially when it pours.
Where: Di Bella, G-block, BKC, Cadell Road, Phoenix Market City and 24th Road, Bandra (West)
Rose wine fondue
Primarily known as a pizzeria, Café Mangii has a unique hot dish which you mustn’t miss — the Zinfandel rose wine fondue (R575), into which you dip herbed croutons and black olives, pine nuts, grated parmesan or capers. The hint of the wine makes the molten cheese taste great.
Where: Cafe Mangii, Powai, Khar (West), Versova
A traditional tea
If you want a twist in the tea cup, try the set afternoon tea at Yauatcha, Bandra Kurla Complex. We opted for the Anxi Tie Kuan Yin, a blue roasted tea, and six different dumplings — truffle edamame, prawn and enoki, hargau, shitaki mushroom, chicken and prawn shi mai and fluffy chicken char sui buns. Three macarons ended the meal on a sweet note. Served between 4 pm and 7 pm, the high tea is priced at Rs 850.
Atrium Lounge at Taj Land’s End offers two varieties of this repast: the buffet Asian afternoon tea and the ‘Champagne’ afternoon tea. We opted for the former and were left feeling quite the lady of the manor. The three-tiered tea charlie features an array of finger foods. There were macarons, fresh mango tarts, baked cheesecake, gooey chocolate mini cakes as well as mushroom sandwiches and warm scones with plum and fig jams. The Mumbai touch came in the form of veg toasties, prawn fritters and small meat kebabs. Priced at Rs 800, the afternoon tea is served between 3 pm and 6 pm.
For lovers of hot beverages, a touch of the quirky spices up a cuppa. Here’s a selection of the latest and quirkiest teas and coffees — just right for the season.
Mojito tea cocktail: This pure Ceylon green tea has a spearmint and lime aftertaste.
Price: Rs 599 per 100 g
Vanilla black tea
With the flavours of vanilla beans, this sweet brew is a mix of the robust Assam and milder Nilgiri tea leaves.
Price: Rs 800 for 15 tea bags
Green rose petal tea: With a soothing aftertaste, this tea is strong and flavourful. Tea sommelier Radhika also creates tea ceremonies for group events.
Price: Rs 700 onwards for tea boxes
Frowner’s coffee: This fruity strong coffee is grown in Kodaikanal, in a single estate along with a variety of fruits.
Price: Rs 350
Haute off the shelves
It’s always easy to flaunt colours against a monochromatic background. So, when the skies turn a dull grey, the time is just ripe to add a dash of vibrant colour to your wardrobe. Explains fashion designer Pria Kataaria Puri, “Vibrant neon prints are the in-thing this season. Floral prints are also in vogue, as are shorts, for both men and women.”
Her outlook is echoed across the city, from the street stalls at Colaba Cause-way and Hill Road to the more exclusive designer and high street retail stores. These are teeming with hot pants in neon and bright pastel colours, short jumpsuits and skater dresses in floral prints.
Anita Dongre, creative director of the AND and Global Desi fashion brands says short dresses and stylish shorts would make perfect outfits for the monsoons. “We keep our eyes glued to the spring-summer and autumn-winter trends but rarely watch out for the monsoons, which lasts for almost four months in Mumbai,” says Dongre. She agrees that bright colours like pink, lime and orange are in, while fabrics like rayons, knits and georgettes look uber-chic and are easy to handle when it pours.
With the skies opening up since last weekend, most shops and street markets are bursting with new gear to make this monsoon a fashionista’s delight.
— Sriya Ray Chaudhuri ( email@example.com )
Shorts in floral prints and neon colours, for women
Available in cotton and voile material, shorts are most comfortable during the rains. The neon hot pants make a stylish fashion statement.
Price: Rs 250 onwards
Where: Fashion Street, MG Road
Skater dresses for women
In a basic A-line silhouette, with a fitted waist and softly pleated skirt, you can never go wrong with this old sleeveless favourite. The high hemline ensures your legs are not encased in a clingy, wet outfit even if it pours heavily.
Price: Rs 2,499
Where: AND, available across the city
Short jumpsuits for women
With spaghetti straps or just sleeveless and in a variety of prints, these are usually made of georgettes or other such fast-drying fabrics. You can also get the plain cotton ones from the street stalls; starting price of Rs 350.
Price: Rs 2,880
Where: Vinegar, Kirabo, 13th Road, Khar (West)
Woodland’s wet wick for men
This range of floaters and sandals for men is made of high-tech continuous filament yarn. This structure enables the air to pass easily, making the fabric more breathable and helps it to dry off fast.
Price: Rs 1,995
Where: Woodland stores
Jelly shoes for women
The street markets are flooded with these ‘monsoon specials’, as one enterprising stall owner explained. Available in all colours of the rainbow, and then some, these cannot save your feet from getting wet, but dry off quickly. Designed with various embellishments, these are available at high street retail outlets too.
Price: Rs 250 onwards
Where: Hill Road and Colaba Causeway
Shorts for men
Cotton shorts and cargo pants are the regular monsoon favourites for men. Wear them in vibrant hues of red, yellow and orange.
Price: Rs 999
Where: Life brand, available at Shoppers Stop
This medium-sized folding umbrella opens by a trigger-like mechanism.
Price: Rs 999
A plain black umbrella has a surprising inside print of a bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds.
Price: Rs 4,000
Poncho raincoat for women
Designer Sonya Vajifdar creates a bright purple transparent raincoat with fluffy wide sleeves and a pronounced hemline — both designed to help the rainwater slide off the garment with ease. There’s a hood to protect your hair too.
Price: Rs 6,000 onwards
Where: At Atosa, 20th Road, Khar (West), till Tuesday
Colourful sandals for women: This range comes in cool colours.
Price: Rs 399
Flip-flops for men: This one comes with a medley of artwork.
Price: Rs 1,700
Tribute from a trio
W hat better way to celebrate a maestro’s 90th birthday than a musical tribute? Purush-ottam Walawalkar, the senior-most harmonium player in India, will be felicitated by the Lokmanya Multi-purpose CoOp Society this weekend. On Saturday, Goa’s Sumedha Desai will give a vocal recital, while Sunday’s programme will feature vocals by Delhi’s Meeta Pandit and sitar recital by Thane-based Maruti Patil.
Kalinath Mishra, a noted tabla player, is the prime mover of a festival in memory of Rakhaldas Mishra and Kishen Maharaj. On Saturday, pianist Deepak Shah will play classical ragas on the piano. He will be accompanied by Mishra. Bansuri player Vivek Sonar and violinist Milind Raykar will present a jugalbandi with Mishra on the tabla. Kathak exponent Seema Mehta will round off the evening with her energetic footwork.
— Amarendra Dhaneshwar