When I first moved to Bombay, I was quite nervous about making new friends and even though a part of me knew that I’d probably make a few friends, I never imagined that I’d form those close friendships, the Blair-Serena or Monica-Rachel kind of friendships, friendships where someone comes with you to eat waffles in the middle of the night, where you send every Terribly Tiny Tale to each other, where you take care of each other when you fall ill, where you plan every weekend together, where even a trip down memory lane means watching High School Musical songs together. I also never thought I’d find someone with same interests. When I met Aditi Ranjan for the first time, I couldn’t have thought that we’d end up being so close. We initially bonded over our convent school background and food and before we knew it, we started planning all our outings together. Being roommates gave us the kind of transparency that most friendships don’t have. I never had to worry about not having company for a play, a random shopping spree or a new restaurant. We shared a love for romantic comedies, Gossip Girl and Sex and the City, food, travel, plays and our love for adventure brought us together. One “kuch spontaneity laate hai life mei yaar” and we’d both be on our feet, ready to plan our next adventure. In a city like Bombay where time flies, weekends and holidays come and go without you even realizing, Aditi and I managed to make so many memories in 2 years. Now that she’s no more in Bombay, whenever I read about a flea market, a play screening, a pub crawl or a restaurant opening, a wave of emptiness fills my heart because the one person I tagged in all these events saying “let’s go, Ranjan” is now the person I tag and say “I miss you, please come back”. Although friends like these leave you feeling bittersweet, they’re a blessing.
On the occasion of Aditi’s 21st birthday, I’d like to list out some of the best restaurants she and I visited together. The best part about visiting a restaurant with Aditi is that she rarely interferes with your choices. There are so many people who will want to share all the items we’re ordering and in doing so, I’ll have to compromise on what I wish to order. Since I love trying new dishes, a lot of people ask me why I keep on experimenting each time, and this annoys me to no extent. Aditi, on the other hand, doesn’t really care about what the other person is ordering. Whenever we’ve gone out, we’ve either ordered separate mains for ourselves, (considering I’m a vegetarian) or we’ve both decided an equal number of dishes. We both love experimenting and so we’ve never faced an issue there. Our beverage choices are also similar. She is thus, the most chill person to go on a meal with. Here is the “Aditi and Paripsa list”
- The Clearing House:
This is one place that Aditi really wanted to visit! She’d been begging me to add this to our list and I was quite apprehensive because it was slightly expensive. When we finally ended up going there, it was worth every penny! The dim lights and soft music give this restaurant killer vibes. We ordered for udon noodles with shiitake mushrooms and coconut broth and saffron and goat cheese ravioli, both of which instantly transported us to food coma! The coconut broth enhanced the taste of the noodles and the ravioli had so much more flavour than any ravioli I’ve had before! For dessert, we ordered the pot de creme, which was heavenly! Although we came home with almost empty pockets, this restaurant was worth every penny!
2) TAG Gourmart Kitchen:
TAG was another place that we saved up for. We were very excited to try Chef Ranveer Brar’s menu. We decided to order 4 small plates. The first was mushroom galouti kebab. Although it was delicious, the quantity was very meagre; 2 pieces for Rs. 350 left us quite alarmed, considering our huge appetites. The second dish was Konyakkuyaki, which is a Japanese street dish, except that here it was served with Idiyyapams. This one too, although very good, was very small. Aditi and I started looking up more places on Zomato to go to after this to fill our stomachs! But the Ramen bowl and the Kathal biryani were thankfully big enough! The kathal biryani was my favourite, and although the idea of jackfruit in biryani seems weird, TAG does full justice to it! We’d ordered a strawberry and champagne tea which was pretty good. We asked for the chocolate fondant and black pepper ice-cream in the end and that was truly the ‘sone pe suhaga’.
3) Woodside Inn:
We visited Woodside Inn on the occasion of its 5th anniversary and so the drinks were very well priced! We ordered beer and mimosas along with a pizza and a gnocchi aglio olio because Aditi had a gnocchi craving! Although the place was very crowded, the food was pretty good and the music was soft, which gave it a good vibe!
4) 1441 Pizzeria
1441 Pizzeria has this concept of unlimited toppings which is perfect for gluttons like Aditi and me! What’s even better is that in one 11” pizza, one can customize the pizza in such a way that half of the pizza can be filled with vegetarian toppings and the other half with non-vegetarian toppings! This made me and Aditi squeal with joy and we fully utilized this option. Aditi took full advantage of the fact that we could add unlimited toppings and she got all kinds of meat put on the pizza! We ordered dough balls along with the pizza and called for 2 iced teas! We were too full, thanks to our pizza which had too many toppings! All in all, Aditi and I loved this place for its value for money pizzas!
5) Bombay Salad Co.
Although both of us love eating junk, we’re fond of salads as well. We’d wanted to visit Bombay Salad Co. since quite some time because we’d heard a lot about it. It was brimming with customers when we visited. I ordered an Italian salad and Aditi ordered a salad witb tofu and soba noodles. We ordered small portions of the salads and yet they were so filling! The salads had the perfect balance of all ingredients and we couldn’t ask for more since we were too full! A visit to Bombay Waffle Co. right across the street sorted our meal.
6) The Pantry
This year’s Kala Ghoda festival was such a fail as compared to last year’s and The Pantry is where Aditi and I went to seek refuge. It’s a really pretty place, the kind of cute cafe that Aditi and I are suckers for. I ordered the lasagna and Aditi ordered the grilled chicken with Anna potatoes. Aditi claims that these potatoes are the best she’s ever had. I’ve never seen her talk so much about potatoes so I can say for sure that the Anna potatoes were great. The lasagna was very tasty. We shared an iced tea(it’s our safe option when we’re not in the mood for coffee). The Pantry definitely lifted our low spirits and we’d surely recommend it!
Aditi loves Asian food and is almost always up for trying Asian food. We’d heard a lot about BusaGo’s reasonably priced Khou suey and so we there once when we wanted to cut down on our expenses. The quantity of the Khou suey was pretty good and it was lip-smacking. Both of us loved it and the fact that it didn’t burn a hole in our pockets made even more happy.
8) Fellas Cafe
Fellas Cafe is a health cafe that lists the calories that each dish contains, quite a unique way to make people eat healthy,no? It’s off Khar S.V. Road and is a quaint little cafe. I ordered a ‘healthy’ pizza, which had olive oil instead of regular pizza sauces, broccoli and mushrooms. Aditi ordered grilled basa with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The prices were very pocket-friendly and although the food wasn’t extraordinary, it was pretty decent.
Quattro has delectable Italian food. I ordered a penne arrabbiata and Aditi ordered a fusili alfredo. We shared a filo pastry. I ordered a Kingfisher Ultra and she ordered a ginger ale. We ended with the Chocolate Saturn(Quattro is known for its desserts) Everything was so good that all we wanted to do at the end of the meal was go to sleep. We went back to Quattro two more times to try other items from their dessert menu . It’s now one of the places we’d blindly visit, anytime!
We went to Shizusan because 1) We’d heard a lot about the Pune outlet which was the first one and 2) We’d gone to Phoenix for the Itsy Bitsy Food Fest and we got hungry while waiting for it to start. We ordered the gingsing mocktail which consisted of lime, basil and cucumber, kimchi spiced mushrooms and gyoza dumplings. All the dishes were delicious to say the least, but the kimchi spiced mushrooms took the prize! We fell in love with Shizusan, a love that’s going to last a long time.
MasalaBar had been on our list for the longest time and when we found out that Wowtables has a 5-course lunch menu at MasalaBar for just 1000(say whattt?!) we decided that we have to go for it. When Aditi’s school best friend came to town, we decided that it was the ideal time to visit MasalaBar. Their 5-course menu stands out because the portion sizes are HUGE and it’s very difficult to finish all the 5 courses completely. The food was delicious, to say the least. The highlights of our meal included paneer khurchan, the carbon pav bhajji, the Baileys lollipop and the chana tempura chaat. The sea-view made the meal even better. Our investment in the 5-course meal at MasalaBar was a very succesful one!
Aditi and I have share a love for cocktails and we got a cocktail pass for ourselves in 2015, which entitled us to one cocktail at 8 different pubs, all at a total cost of Rs. 1000. One of the places on the list was BlueFROG. Since Aditi and I love pub crawls and we usually don’t stay at one pub/bar the whole night, we started with BlueFROG. We got one sangria each and we ordered for bruschetta. BlueFROG is too pretty and the vibe is very soothing. The live music just added to the vibe and even though Aditi and I don’t like sangrias, we had a great time. It’s a shame BlueFROG shut, but we’re glad we got to visit it at least once.
These are just some of the places Aditi and I have been to. We’ve been to more than 90 restaurants/cafes/pubs together, some of them more than once. We’ve had our first kamikaze together, our first LIIT together, we’ve planned pub-crawls wherein we’d visit at least 3 pubs, we’ve visited almost every sea-face between Andheri to Churchgate, we’ve cried and laughed with each other, celebrated each other’s achievements and supported each other through every difficulty, be it PMS or an assignment. Now that she’s not in Bombay anymore, I try to do all the things we did together on my own and I miss her a lot, but I know that Aditi Ranjan is the kind of friend who stays, the friend who understands, the one who never judges. Aditi Ranjan is gem and I’m glad to have found a friend for life in this impulsive, spontaneous and loving human being. Happy Birthday to my non-judging Breakfast Club(Because Gossip Girl references are the best!). Here’s to good food, travel and to always being up for adventure.