My Mumbai Christmas story

Breakfast at Candies with K
and 'our' bench in the background


I woke up this morning with warm and fuzzy memories of a lovely Christmas yesterday.

A Christmas which started with a quiet and cozy breakfast over cappuccinos, green tea, soft chicken sandwiches and scrambled eggs at 'our bench' in Candies where every day seems like Christmas.

Lunch with the family


Lunch was at home with the family. My 'Bombay' family from K's side and my cousin from Kolkata who has moved to Mumbai.

A Christmas melange meal of roast chicken from Candies, kulcha chhole and kadi chawal from Punjab Sweets and the wickedly boozy and delightfully moist and indulgent Christmas cake sent by Mehernosh Khajotia who runs Celebrations Cakes. The symbolism of a Parsi baker sending a cake enjoyed by my Parsi (including the teetotaller ones) relatives was not lost on me.

Mhernosh's cake. You can call to order at +91 9821122290

Roast chicken from Candies


In the evening we met up our friend M for scones and tea at Sassy Spoon where we went to driven in the Sassy Spoon Nano down the beautifully lit festive streets of Bandra.

M, a Bombay girl, had never been to Bandra on Christmas till yesterday and fulfilled a wish of her's yesterday. Hopefully she will dream bigger for next year.

For whatever it is worth, I don't think I have ever been to Park Street on Christmas when I lived in Kolkata as I led an equally sheltered life then.

Taking Bombay girl M for her first Christmas in Bandra
I chose a hot toddy instead of a tea because of my sore throat and M made some inspired choices of the  brilliant turkey 4 ways ("it's Christmas after all") and a delectably flavoured star anise panacotta.

We bumped into chef owner Irfan Pabaney who seems to be quite the hands on restaurateur.

Turkey 4 ways



At night K & I were settling down to a sore throat friendly maccher jhol (Bengali fish curry) that I made where I parboiled the veggies and oven grilled the fish instead of frying and used cumin seeds, fresh ginger and tomato and some cumin, turmeric and coriander powder and no chilli to extract flavours.

Patla machher jhol



Which is when one of my earliest friends made through the blog, Soumik, called me. He wanted to drop in with his wife, Ratoola, after a dal rice dinner at home (they were back from a 5 hour Christmas lunch at Maria Goretti's) for coffee with us.

So we caught up post dinner at for an impromptu adda (chat) over ginger honey green tea and heady rum balls sent to me by Ananya Banerjee at our place.

Potent rum balls sent by prolific home chef and YouTube
channel host Ananya Banerjee


As K said before we turned in for the night after they left, Christmas had turned out to be very nice. 

Friends, family and good food, this Christmas a far cry from my first Christmas in Mumbai.

I was at my PG near Bandra station then. There were no signs of any festivities anywhere then unlike in Kolkata which used to be lit up for Christmas. I sat alone in the PG and watched Home Alone feeling pretty miserable.

Next day the folks at work told me to go to Hill Road in Bandra to see the Christmas celebrations. It was indeed a different world from the station area.

This year I picked up our Christmas tree from Hill Road.

Our Christmas tree from Hill Road


When I had moved into Mumbai a relative or an acquaintance in Kolkata had asked me whether I would get more money if I moved to Mumbai.

I think there was a 500 Re increase in my city allowance when I moved here for good (1999) but to be honest I hadn't really moved in with a plan.

Yet, if I look back at my years in Mumbai, I would like to think that the opportunities that I got professionally in market research, the friends I made over the years, finding my wife and a new family along with her, discovering food and travelling an uncharted territory in the world of food writing, finding faith through Buddhism, the 20 odd kilos I have gained over 15 years, have all happened because I moved to Mumbai.

You could say that my life in Mumbai is indeed a wonderful Christmas gift.

When Mumbai loves you back
PS I must mention my Secret Santa at work at the end. She is a vegetarian who once saw me post about a fish I had baked with rosemary, on Instagram. This gave her the idea to give me a rosemary plant along with a set of other equally thoughtful gifts.

I roasted some chicken and potatoes with rosemary from the plant, balsamic, honey, butter, fresh garlic and sea salt for a lovely Christmas eve dinner at home.

Thank you Radhika


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