The restaurant scene in Mumbai is quite an exciting one with new restaurants coming up every second day. The city’s restaurant landscape has changed from its South Mumbai focus with new restaurants opening up across the city.
There is an interesting range of passionate restaurateurs behind this movement. Many of them love food and have tried to make a career out of it. Some are trained chefs themselves. Others have made career shifts to enter the restaurant business. Some operate independently while some are part of chains.
There are a few restaurateurs who sparked off the current restaurant renaissance in Mumbai. Their names will be etched as the pioneers of the modern restaurant movement in India.
Here’s a quick intro to the wonderful folks behind some of Mumbai’s most popular restaurants:
He is arguably the most talked about restaurateur in Mumbai. A chef trained in European cuisine in the US, he is most known for opening Indigo in Mumbai. One of the first modern European restaurants in the city. Ironically, he is now in the news for having left the company that he had set up that runs Indigo, Indigo deli and the Awadhi food restaurant, Neel. His future plans have the city’s food lovers intrigued.
Riyaz runs the Impressario group of restaurants which includes properties such as Saltwater Café, Smoke House Deli, The Tasting Room and Social. His restaurant network spreads beyond Mumbai. Most of his restaurants have a cheerful casual ambience, comfortable seating and nice food. I have a soft spot for him as some of my favourite places to spend time in the city are his restaurants.
This Sofiya College alumni had set up one of Mumbai’s first chef named restaurants with Moshe’s in Cuffe Parade. He later opened an outlet in Bandra and then set up the Moshe’s café chain. Despite the new entrants to Mumbai’s eating out scene Moshe’s still holds its ground as a place to go to for a good meal.
AD Singh is one of Mumbai’s first restaurateurs to become a page 3 regular. A result of having set up Olive in Bandra which has been a favourite hangout for the city’s Bollywood glitterati. He has opened a number of interesting concept restaurants outside of Mumbai such as Sodabottleopenerwala and Monkey Bar and Fatty Bao with Chef Manu Chandra and hopefully will bring these someday to Mumbai. AD Singh divides his time between Mumbai and Delhi.
Like Akerkar and Moshe Shek, Chib too is a chef turned restaurateur. He brings his learnings from his extensive travels in the Orient into the menu of his Far Asian restaurant Busabo and the more recent Busago café chain. A pastry chef by training, his restaurants offer a unique combination of Asian food and scrumptious French desserts.
Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.