Midnight Menu

Where do you go when your wallet’s full and your belly’s empty

Remember The part about coming out of a South Mumbai cinema house after the late show and finding yourself with rats in the belly and nowhere to go?

Obviously, money can get you anything in the City of Gold, including love (never mind what the Beatles said a generation ago), but thankfully, all we are talking of here is chow.

If you have money in your pocket and a desire for ambience – atmosphere, the industry folks call it – never mind if most of the places take pride in serving burgers and pizzas and sandwiches, you can check out the 24-hour shops in our city hotels.

Most of these joints also serve, well, umm, beverages (nudge-nudge, wink-wink), but that is on a, well, nudge-nudge, wink-wink basis.

Salt ‘N’ Pepper (Ambassador Hotel)

The Folks here say that they are famous for their burgers and chilly cheese toast, apart from serving sandwiches, pakoras, etc. The service is 24-hour, and there are two kinds of menu. The ‘fixed time menu’, for the time when most of us are up and about, and the ‘midnight menu’, for the denizens of the dark.

If you are lucky you may find continental and Indian food served at the time when Cinderella climbed into her chariot, but otherwise there are always the steaks and sizzlers to fall back on.

Yes, do try their Chicken Stroganoff, which is rumoured to be quite good. The crowds are usually the post-disco and post-pubbing ones, although straggling couples do walk in from Marine Drive and nearby. And, for the truly thirsty, beer is served till 4 am, but no hard liquor beyond the stipulated time.

Coffee Shop (Centaur, airport)

A Functional name for the place in question, this one serves you sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, omelettes and, of course, soup, which should be a welcome relief after a wet evening. For the truly hungry, there is also curry rice, but sorry, no rotis. The no roti is in fact the governing credo of most coffee shops, the explanation being that the tandoor cannot be operated for 24 hours.

Right now this seems to be the place to be eating at, since they also have a 33 per cent discount going. The crowds, naturally, are of the airline variety.

Shoreline (Centaur, Juhu)

Apart From the usual sandwiches, snacks and burgers, Shoreline also offers you fried fish items and grilled prawns at this unearthly hour. There is also biryani for the ravenous. Liquor is served, so may be you can munch some hot pakoras along with it. The monsoon has slackened the crowds, but the disco crowds still strong.

Manhattan (Guestline)

Theme Menus are the in-thing, although one wonders if anyone really cares after midnight. So you find soups, sandwiches, burgers, fish, chicken stroganoff, Chicken Nebraska and cheese cutlets. There is also Indian food for the truly discerning or hungry. Beer is served till 2 am. There is apparently a lot of foreign crowd, as well as the disco ones, as well as the airline crowd, and the cost is reasonable.

Sidewalk (Holiday Inn)

Yes, Naturally they serve sandwiches and pizzas and the rest. On the Indian side of the menu, there is rice and chicken and, of course, biryani. If you are lucky you may also find naans till 3 am. Alcohol is available for 24 hours, goes the talk. A popular joint with the disc-ing crowds.

Waterfall Cafe (Leela)

Easily The most picturesque locale to be spending your time in preferred company. This one’s menu goes on till early morning (how late that is, we didn’t find out). Soups, desserts and beverages is the routine here, but there is also a regular continental and Indian menu to choose from.

The speciality is seafood, and can you believe it, they serve their catch of the day well beyond mid-night! Of course, one did not have the heart to tell them that given the time, it better be the catch of the next day. Alcohol is available till 1 am, and beer till 4 am. If you don’t tipple, maybe you will be happy with their milkshakes and coffee?

The Bay View (Marine Plaza)

The Youngest of the coffee shops, is already a rave among the night-time movers and shakers. It was a little confusing to be told that although they don’t serve food beyond midnight, one can get biryani, chicken and mutton, but anyway…Sorry, no continental food after 11 pm.

The Palms (Oberoi Towers)

Easily A class apart, this is for the really well-heeled, and, of course, the really well-pursed. Both Continental and Indian food is available, and this is also the only place where the tandoor range is available for all 24 hours. When pointed out that other hotels say they cannot operate the tandoor for all 24 hours, it was pointed out that they do things differently here. Well, sure they do. Apart from this, there is also the usual chicken, burgers and the rest. There is also lasagne.

Trattoria (Hotel President)

For The cognoscenti of Italian cuisine. Not to say they don’t have other stuff like sandwiches and burgers, they do.

There are two kinds of menu, one is the normal one and the restaurant serves everything from it, then there is the restricted one, which comes into play around midnight or thereabouts.

Make Waves (Retreat)

Yessir, we do serve snacks after midnight. That means sandwiches and burgers. There is also rice available. Biryanis too, if you are really keen on hogging at this time of the morning.

Shamiana (The Taj)

Pizzas, And the rest of the matutinal paraphernalia are served here. But no dosas, etc. Spaghetti is on, and fewer rice items than one sees on the regular menu. No roti, sorry. Liquor, what’s that?

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