For busy Mumbaikars

Want a sandwich, The Kite Runneror a window seat for your Volvo ride to Goa? Now you get it all online. Malay Desai goes site-seeing to test whether you should sign up or simply press Alt+F4

Order food
Taking a cue from their daily food-ordering habits, citybased professionals Ashish Agarwal and his brothers conceptualised Mealtree. Albeit not a novel idea (many western cities, for example Durban, have centralised helplines and ‘menu directories’), Mealtree attempts to bring in all major restaurants and fast-food chains under one roof. UPSIDE: We placed an online order (rolls from Wraps and Rolls), and promptly got a call for confirmation. The delivery took the usual time it would have had we ordered directly. What impressed us was the user-friendly menus, where you can easily order from multiple places. There was also the option of mentioning exactly how spicy we wanted our chicken roll.

DOWNSIDE: We didn’t find McDonalds on the site and all items under Garcia’s were dysfunctional.
Look up a book
Our ‘time-less’ city life coupled with the love for books prompted IT professional Hiten Turakhia and his buddies to kickstart India’s first online circulating library last year. It is ideal for professionals with five-day weeks who tremble at the prospect of visiting a library or buying expensive books. UPSIDE: We shelled out Rs 2,398 (out of which Rs 500 was refunded because of a new special offer) to opt for a plan which gives three books per month, for a year. After ‘queuing up’ for The Kite Runner online late one night, we received it the next afternoon.

DOWNSIDE: Its collection is all-English. It won’t have Stephen King’s On Writing — which your nearby raddiwala may have. Nor will it have recently-published books (like Binoo John’s Entry from Backside Only) which your bookshops will have. Also, some popular books like Maximum City, which are always in circulation, may take longer to arrive.
Book movie, play or    concert tickets
Unlike some ventures of the Network18 stable, this one doesn’t seem like a strategic investment. In fact it is promoted by Bigtree Entertainment, an info-solutions provider. Good for us, we thought, since almost all the multiplex websites require boring registrations and bug you with emails forever.

UPSIDE: The portal also offers play and concert tickets. It is really simple now to make it to a play at Prithvi or Anoushka Shankar live. And we don’t even mind the extra charge. DOWNSIDE: We decided to test-drive Jodhaa Akbar and found that there were hardly any Fame cinemas on the list. Also, the site only accepted payments through credit card and not direct net-banking. However, it hurt most when they levied a Rs 15 ‘con’venience charge on each ticket. Why on earth should we pay that if the multiplex helplines were ready to book tickets via a phone call?
Book bus tickets
This one, too, has an interesting history: it was born out of the frustration of a bunch of Bangalore-based IT professionals who always suffered before travelling due to overbooking and unpredictable schedules. Today, they’ve quit their well-paying jobs and their portal boasts of a tie-up with over 250 operators across India’s smallest towns.

UPSIDE: We pretended we wanted to head to Goa overnight, logged on and printed an e-ticket in no time. We also tried the delivery, which lived up to promise and was cheaper than it’s competitor. As for cancellations, they can be done online, 24 hours before departure. What’s most impressive? You can select the boarding point nearest to you after looking up the route online.
DOWNSIDE: If only they would let us select the movie to be shown en route! We won’t have to watch films like Partner.

No good!
We checked out another site – which lets you rents cars and book hotel rooms too, but found it’s not half as good.Ticketvala’s site promises more and delivers less (we’re still waiting for a call for a request we made last week). It charges more for delivery and cancels tickets only 36 hours before departure.

Grab a DVD
Mumbai’s cinema lovers have never had it better. Today, we have many international fests, a classic movie club and a just-launched world cinema channel. This portal is among many side-effects of a booming entertainment industry in India. It says its powered by ‘hardcore couch potatoes’, but we found it does little to encourage the movieviewing habit.

UPSIDE: Still looking…
DOWNSIDE: On registration, we found out that its online store stocks only DVDs. We regret this sorely, since Moser Baer sells VCDs at a throwaway 28 bucks! Secondly, they didn’t deliver on a Sunday and shockingly showed up zero results when we searched for common retro movies like Anand and Guide. All this, after a security deposit of Rs 2,000! Not worth your while, we say.

Better options
It’s one of the better-known DVD rentals and deservedly so. It offers a million things for the film buff. It has an impressive regional-language stock and lets customers keep their DVDs as long as they want.Another DVD rental site,, is as good and cheaper.

To beer, or not to beer

Sportsbar Express – Colaba

As the name suggests, this Sports Bar has a large LCD screen and a lovely pool table coupled with some baskets for basketball. And in case you’re not a sporty person, the music will surely cheer you up. The ambience is perfect for downing those beers, and the seating arrangement is also pretty neat. All in all, the price of the drinks is definitely cheaper compared to the other food/beverages their menu offers.

Beer-o-meter – 8/10 (Rs 199 a pitcher)

Pamposh – Bandra, Linking Road

Normally a hang out for collegians, this place has it all. From the uptight-sophisticated crowd to the ghaati-singing-pelvic-thrusting college kids. Though you won’t get great music here, it gives some tasty snacks to go with the beer. The plus point here is, the beer is so cheap that you end up having more than you expected. Oh wait, that’s not a plus point.

Beer-o-meter – 8.5/10 (Rs 140 a pitcher)

Pop-Tates – 7 bungalows, Andheri

The most ‘happening’ of them all, Pop Tates’ has the best happy hour deal you can find. From 3pm to 8pm, two pitchers are served for the price of one. Of course, post-8pm, the place is so full that you’d be better off coming back the next day. But who cares! Happy hours! Woo-hoo!
Beer-o-meter – 9/10 (Rs 199 a pitcher)

Fluid Spice – Lokhandwala, Andheri

Even though it’s the most expensive of the lot, Fluid Spice offers the best service and ambience among all the other places mentioned above. An insanely huge bar and equally huge TV screens make this place an obvious choice for a guys’ evening out.

Beer-o-meter – 8/10 (Rs 240 a pitcher)

Alps – near Leopold Café

The favourite place among the lot. Located two minutes from Leopold café, Alps is relatively unknown. If you’re around town, this is a must visit. It’s a small place, no music, good crowd and most importantly, it has the cheapest beer, at prices you won’t have even imagined. This one’s a nice place if you’re the kinds to talk things out over beer.

Beer-o-Meter – 10/10 (Rs 110-130 for a pitcher)

Bombay burger

Ashok Vaidya

Location Dadar

Crowd Mainly college goers

Price Rs 5

It is believed that Mumbai’s much-loved snack was born 35-years ago, when Ashok Vaidya, a snack seller outside Dadar station, decided to experiment. The combination of batata vada and split pav continues to be the city’s sledgehammer answer to the burger. Vaidya used to sell batata poha and batata vada and when one day he offered vada with pav on a customer’s request. Soon, he discovered that there were more takers for the new delicacy and since then there was no looking back. After Vaidya, his son Narendra took over the stall outside Dadar.
Rating 7


Dhiraj stall

Location opposite


College Junta

Price Rs 5

On an average this stall is thronged by about 1500 to 2000 people daily. The quick service competes well with the nearby competitors and the generously buttered pav is the clear crowd puller. However, the stall guys here are rude and cheeky to new customers and so that could be a big put off for many people. Besides vada pav, Dhiraj stall also offers grilled sandwiches, soft drinks and other knick-knacks.

Rating 4



Location Dadar Market

Crowd Dadar Junta and theatre artists
Rs 6
Its location in the heart of bustling Dadar gives ‘Shrikrishna’ a patronage of over 3,000 customers every day. The vadas here are unique, made with mustard seeds and spices. And yes! Only vada is served here — no pav. Service is really quick! It serves a variety of snacks like sabu dana vadas, samosas, et al. Perhaps the only complaint is over the size of the vada, which is slightly smaller than the usual.


A popular fact is that Chabildas High School situated nearby which is a crucible for Marathi theatre personae like Rohini Hattangadi, Amol Palekar and Shriram Lagoo patronised this stall.

Rating 7

Jumbo King

Location chain across the city

Crowd Hungry Commuters

Price Vada pav – Rs 5, cheese vada pav – Rs 9

Jumbo King claims to be the Indian version of McDonalds and Burger King. The vada pavs (which by the way are nick named the Indian burger) are assembled, wrapped and dispensed just like they do it at Mac. The outlets, strategically positioned outside railway stations draw 2,500 customers in a day. They claim that the vada is not touched by anyone before you. Stainless steel machines are used to cook, mash and peel potatoes. While the bread is caramelised, the vegetable oil is changed every few hours and filtered water is used. The vada pav comes wrapped in paper, with a little onion on the side.
Jumbo King also serves samosa pav, masala lassi.

Rating 9



Amrut Bhuvan

Lower Parel

Crowd Mill workers
Price Rs 4.50

They serve vada pavs in many different sizes and their chutney and chilly sauce are excellent. Chillies served with the dish are a nice touch. However, their service is quite slow.
Rating 6


Here’s a list of places in Mumbai, where you can tickle your taste buds with Mumbai’s very own favourite munch, vada pav


1.                   Central telegraph office – Fountain

2.                   Shrikrishna – Dadar

3.                   Chabildas school – Dadar

4.                   Amrut Bhuvan – Lower Parel

5.                   Jumbo Vada Pav – Malad

6.                   Datta treya – Dadar

7.                   Ashok Vada Pav – near Kirti College, Dadar  

8.                   Dhiraj stall – opposite the Mithibai and NM Colleges

9.                   Vinay – Thakur Dwar

10.               Amantran – Thane

11.               Hutatma Chowk

12.               Anand Vada Pav -opposite Mithibai College, Vile Parle

13.               Thane station

14.               M M Mithaiwala – Malad

15.               Shardashram School – Dadar


Shop NO. 12, Cusrow Baug, Colaba Causeway, Colaba, Mumbai

VAMA, Kanchanjunga Building, Pedder Road, Mumbai

Crossword Bookstores Limited, Mahalaxmi Chambers, Warden Road, Mumbai

Planet M, Times of India Building, Dr. D.N. Road VT Mumbai Tel: 22731769

LN building, Teen batti, Walkeshwar road, Mumbai. Tel: 3645519.

Fashion Bistro, Next to Sterling Theatre, V.T., Mumbai-400001. Tel: 2005137

Opposite Liberty Cinema, New Marine Lines, Mumbai – 400020. Tel: 2007291.

Atlanta Building, Ground Floor, Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021. Tel: 2825616.

Maker Towers, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai-400005. Tel: 2150562.

34, Chowpatty Seaface, Mumbai-400007. Tel: 3690104