Candies is shut on Mondays so then I go to Smoke House Deli.
There are a few other restaurants in Mumbai that I keep going back to as well. Salt Water Café in Bandra is my favourite place to catch up with friends over meals. The Cantonese Ling’s Pavilion in Colaba and the Bengali Bhojohori Manna in Oshiwara are two restaurants we keep returning to despite the distances involved in reaching them.
This got me thinking. What is it that draws me back to these restaurants and cafes repeatedly?
The biggest driver would be a sense of comfort and familiarity. One knows the menus here inside out. One knows what dishes to order. Food which gives one pleasure. At Candies it is the double shot cappuccino and the chicken sandwiches, at Smokehouse the skillet fried eggs, the chocolate chip pancakes and Columbian Supremo coffee, at Saltwater Café the pan-seared John Dory, at Bhojohori Manna the veg thali with alu posto and bhetki curry and the Barisal ilish and at Ling’s Pavilion the salt and pepper prawns, the pork juicy dumplings, the mixed fried rice, the prawn and bok choy pan fried noodles and the stewed pork belly. The food at these places never fails one.
The pricing at these places is reasonable. The definition of ‘reasonable’, of course, depends on the class of restaurant but one feels ones got ones money’s worth while eating here.
The biggest thing is that one feels completely at home here. The staff recognizes us, welcomes us back each time with a smile no matter how busy they are, knows what we like to eat, and makes us feel like a family.
In each of these places I even have my favourite tables and feel happy when I get them.
There is a sense of peace when one comes back to these places, which I cherish.
I guess this is the closest one can get to being a member of a club without being one.
Do you have a favourite restaurant which you keep going back to? What draws you to it?
Would love to hear from you.
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.