Where to eat and what to do if you find yourself with 24 hours in Mumbai's most elegant - and touristy - part of town:
8.30am: Pancakes at Mondy's
Sweet pancakes filled with bananas and drizzled with honey may say backpacker in Asia but it's really hard to not think "holiday" when enjoying some with a milky cup of coffee in Colaba - even if you aren't a backpacker. Cafe Mondegar is a great place to linger over a newspaper, watch the hawkers set up their stalls and take a deep breath before plunging into the madness that is Mumbai. The menu is a no-frills affair with plenty of hearty staples like omelettes and stacks of toast, butter and jam. The lively frescos on the walls by the famous Goan caricaturist Mario Miranda are perfect to stare at while munching away and contemplating what to do with the rest of your day.
In and around the area: Shopping on Colaba Causeway, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the Gateway of India and ferries to Elephanta Island.
11am: Vada Pav near VT (sorry, CST)
This quintessential Maharastrian snack is everything you need to fuel up after a couple of hours spent bargaining your way through Colaba. You can't do any better than a hot, deep-fried batata vada (a big ball of spiced and battered potatoes), sandwiched in between a fluffy pav (bun) and sprinkled with green chutney and crunchy chilli, garlic and peanut powder. Cheap and tasty, this streetside favourite is easy to eat on the go - which makes it perfect for Mumbai's busy streets.
In and around the area: The gorgeous gargoyles and Gothic grandeur that is Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), Rajabai Tower, the elegant Raj-era buildings along D.N. Road from Flora Fountain at one end to Crawford Market at the other.
1pm: Fish and prawns at Fort
You can't go wrong with some light-as-air Neer dosa (rice pancakes) with spicy prawn koliwada or gassi and crunchy fried Bombay Duck at Apoorva. The popular seafood canteen is bang in the centre of the throbbing, labyrinthine commercial heart of South Mumbai known simply as Fort. Pair your meal with some refreshing mosambi (sweet lime) juice to rehydrate before stepping back out into the muggy Mumbai afternoon.
In and around the area: The art gallery district of Kala Ghoda, Prince of Wales Museum, Fabindia or Khadi Bhandar for traditional Indian outfits, accessories, handicrafts and ethnic home ware or the Bombay Store for quirky souvenirs.
5.30pm: Bhelpuri, sevpuri and panipuri at Chowpatty Beach
These spicy, sweet and sour concoctions popularly lumped under the title chaat are synonymous with Chowpatty Beach. While they do contain enough of Mumbai's notorious local water to possibly make you ill, those with strong stomachs will be rewarded by one of the most surprisingly delicious streetsnacks you could find anywhere. The common base includes potatoes, chopped onion and tomato, chickpeas, spicy chilli and coriander chutney, small puris, sweet and tart tamarind sauce and generous helpings of chaat masala powder. To this mix, bhelpuri adds puffed rice while sevpuri adds the angel-hair-like sev made from fried chickpea paste. The result? A microcosm of Mumbai's mad mix presented in a plate.
In and around the area: The carnival atmosphere of the beach with pony rides, yogic contortionists and rope-walkers.
8pm: Kebab rolls at Bade Miyan
This kebab stand tucked down one of Colaba's dodgier streets is a Mumbai institution and the long lines of people and cars waiting to cart away their rolls are an indication of just how popular Bade Miyan is. Try the seekh kebab rolls, baida rotis or spiced goat brain with thin rumali (handerchief) rotis, all served with a hot green dipping sauce. Vegetarians are the only ones likely to suffer from a lack of choice but everything on the menu is a good bet for anyone else.
In and around the area: Relive the (albeit faded) Golden Age of cinema from a balcony seat at Regal Cinema - one of the city's old single-screen Art Deco movie theatres.
11.30pm: Night cap overlooking the Beautiful Bay
If three hours of Bollywood song-and-dance routines have left you thirsty, a quick pint at Leopold's Cafe (of Shantaram fame) is only a few minutes down the road. Those looking for a more glamorous location for evening drinks can hail a cab down to the Dome Bar on the roof of the InterContinental Mumbai for a bird's eye view of what the Portuguese many years ago named Bom Bahia or the 'Beautiful Bay'.
In and around the area: A late night drive down the 'Queen's Necklace' stretch of Marine Drive with its lovely Art Deco houses and apartment blocks.
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