Best Bombay Restaurants for Business Meet and Greets

To talk privately, celebrate, impress, break ice and bread – these six Bombay restaurants do brisk business

Though it lacks the glitzy sheen of some of India’s newer business hubs, south Bombay continues to be India’s financial epicenter, serving as headquarters for everything from the Reserve Bank to the stock exchange to the nation’s mint.

No wonder then that the area boasts many work-friendly restaurants.

We polled some city professionals — lawyers, fund managers, bankers and finance media folk — and zeroed in on the six best Bombay restaurants for different business occasions.

Wasabi by Morimoto: Best Bombay restaurant to impress a business colleague

Wasabi Mumbai

This restaurant is like a pearl, embedded in the dramatic seascape corner of the city’s fabled Taj Mahal hotel, overlooking bobbing craft anchored at the Gateway of India.

Wasabi, the Taj’s first-floor Japanese restaurant, is also is one of the most expensive tables in the city, at Rs 4,500 per person, not counting the sake.

Some 28 varieties of fresh seafood are flown in once a week from Japan to supply the sushi and live teppanyaki counters.

Sushi on offer can rival any Japanese restaurant in any other major world city, but caters to Indian palates with an outstanding vegetarian selection including Mexican-inspired delectable guacamole tacos.

Know your menu: Soft-shell crab sushi rolls; rock shrimp tempura with spicy mayo; white fish carpaccio; steamed Chilean sea bass with blackbean sauce, chef’s scallions, ginger, hot oil; and Miso-marinated black cod.

Lunch: 12:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Dinner: 7 p.m.-11:45 p.m.

For reservations call Taj Mahal Palace, P J Ramchandani Marg, Apollo Bandar, Colaba;             +91 (0)22 6665 3366      ; www.tajhotels.com

Thai Pavilion: Best Bombay restaurant for a private business meeting

Thai Pavillion Mumbai

With its hushed tones and dark interiors, Thai Pavilion is Bombay’s answer to Bangkok fine dining.

It’s a choice place to hold a private business lunch meeting.

TP, as its affectionately known, was refurbished in 2007 and is spacious enough to make eavesdropping on neighbors difficult.

Its location at the Taj Vivanta in Cuffe Parade, makes it a convenient meeting ground for out-of-town business guests who like to stay at Taj’s business hotel.

As far as Thai food goes, this is the Bombay’s best on offer.

Know your menu: Gaeng Ped Thai red curry with jasmine rice, Pla Nueng Manao steamed John Dory with lemon and garlic sauce and Phad Phak stir-fried mixed vegetables in a Thai sauce.

Dinner approximately Rs 3,000 per head and lunch Rs 2,000 per head, with one drink.

Lunch: 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Dinner: 7 p.m.-midnight

For reservations call Taj Vivanta, 90 Cuffe Parade;             +91 (0)22 6665 0808      ; www.vivantabytaj.com

Frangipani: Best Bombay restaurant for a business lunch

Frangipani Mumbai

The Trident’s all-day restaurant is a favorite amongst local business folk, given its extensive hot and cold buffet lunch spread.

Diners are spoilt for choice, with a variety of salads and appetizers, a generous Indian menu as well as à la carte for those in the mood for Continental or Italian.

Plus its ample seating often allows for last-minute reservations and walk-ins.

In other words, it’s perfect for those impromptu, no-fuss work lunches.

Know your menu: Salad of chevre and ruccola with citrus fruits and crisp almonds; aglio olio spaghetti; sour dough margherita and four cheese pizzas; and Jambalaya-style risotto with Chorizo sausages, shrimps and ham.

Budget for Rs 2,000 per head without alcohol.

Open 7 a.m.-12:30 a.m.

For reservations call Trident Hotel, Opposite Air India Building, Nariman Point;             +91 (0)22 6632 6310      , 6632 4343; www.tridenthotels.com

Khyber: Best Bombay restaurant for Indian food experience  

Khyber Mumbai

Khyber’s Mughlai cuisine is guaranteed to work with both foreign and desi business colleagues.Its kebab and curry friendly menu reads like a greatest hits from north India, with a heavy dose of Bombay thrown in with kali mirch rawas, a spicy local fish marinated in black pepper yogurt, or the crab bhurjee (stir fried spiced crab, onions and tomatoes).

It’s a better choice for a business dinner than lunch, because after a heavy Tandoori meal it’s near impossible to work.

Know your menu: There’s 10 different types of kebabs, and vegetarians won’t be disappointed either, with a big thumbs-up to the pudina gobi (cauliflower marinated in mint yogurt) and the achari mushroom, or pickled mushrooms grilled on charcoal.

With most dishes under Rs 500, Khyber offers good value for money too, making it a preferred dining destination for big group business dinners. Rs 1,500 per head without drinks.

Lunch: 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Dinner: 7 p.m.-11:45 p.m.

145 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort;             +91 (0)22 4039 6666      ; www.khyberrestaurant.com

Indigo: Best Bombay restaurant to break the ice

Indigo Mumbai

Beloved by locals, Indigo has long been a must-stop on every Bombay visitor’s list.

There’s something warm and familiar about this 12-year-old fine dine restaurant that pioneered modern European food served up with a South Asian edge and a healthy dose of ambience, outside the gambit of Bombay’s five-star hotels.

In good weather, the upstairs al fresco dining captures Bombay’s laid-back yet boho chic mood, but if you’d rather be indoors, there’s a lively buzz to the downstairs space, with the long bar and lounge setting the tone for a fun evening out.

What’s truly great about Indigo is that it allows your dining experience to be whatever you want it to be — casual for some, formal enough for others.

Know your menu: Recommended dishes are the lobster risotto, the caramelized onion flan, buffalo tenderloin with braised oxtail, asparagus-stuffed gnocchi and beetroot carpaccio.

Indigo is also well priced, with average cost per head at Rs 2,000 with a glass of wine.

Lunch: Noon-3 p.m. Dinner: 7 p.m.-11:45 p.m.

4 Mandlik Road, Apollo Bandar;             +91 (0)22 6636 8999      ; www.foodindigo.com

Hakkasan: Best Bombay restaurant to celebrate closing a deal   

Hakkasan Mumbai

The most buzz worthy opening in Bombay this year, where nouvelle Chinese meets London chic, Hakkasan is best enjoyed when you don’t have to worry about the bill — and what better way to do so than a deal closing dinner?

Hakkasan’s pricing has already made it a legend among Bombay’s chatterati, making it a sure fire winner with all those hard working colleagues looking for an emphatic pat on the back (and a night out on company expense).

The bar scene at the Ling Ling lounge is buzzing towards the end of the week, so after a sumptuous meal you can retire to digestifs for a fitting finale and blend with the crowd.

Know your menu: Hakka steamed dim sum basket, crispy duck salad, salt and pepper squid, roasted silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey, stir-fry lotus root and asparagus in black pepper, Mabo tofu with chicken and Sichuan pickled vegetables and steamed whole crab.

Average price per head is Rs 5,500, with one drink.

Lunch: Noon-3:30 p.m. Dinner: 7-11:30 p.m.

Krystal, Waterfield Road, Bandra (W); +91 (0)22 2644 4444, 2644 4445; hakkasan.com/mumbai

Outrageous Celebrity Diets

To most, food is very valuable, and the most crucial question is: what to have for breakfast? Will it be South Indian from Sai Darshan across the street or McDonalds‘ sausage McMuffin with egg and hash browns? The day closes with a similar tryst; indulge ourselves at Hakkasan or binge atPronto for dinner? So when I come across articles on crazy diet plans that celebrities follow, I flip. Thus began my search for these so called ‘unconventional diets’ and I confess, I am visibly shaken.


Baby food diet

This one’s the lesser evil. I mean we all have, at some point in our infant lives, swallowed baby food. So what’s gross about a bowl of banana puree, especially if it helps you lose weight? Here’s what’s fucked up – pointy chin Reese Witherspoon has been on this diet for years! Imagine gulping puree day in and day out – no chewing, no variation in texture or flavour. Even Homer Simpson had a better idea; he ended up making a puree of everything, including an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet!

Verdict: You aren’t a baby no more!


Maple syrup and cayenne pepper diet
This one tastes worse than a bad cocktail! Nicknamed the ‘master cleanse,’ it will help you drop 10 kilos in two weeks. Here’s how singer Beyonce Knowles does it: homemade lemonade, maple syrup, water, and cayenne pepper. So essentially you’re not eating anything solid and letting the pepper burn your insides along with the calories. Time for a visit to Hinduja Hospital.

Verdict
You got to chew on other things apart from people’s brains!

Raw food diet
This one is by far the most popular. There are many theories to it, from the pro-nature theory, which states that ‘all that can be eaten raw is what we should eat’. Agreed, veggies and fruits are good for the system. But hag-turned-hottie Demi Moore doesn’t understand that chomping only on veggies is seriously too much fibre with little nutrition and lots of digestion problems. If you still want an Ashton Kutcher for yourself, get your dose from Reliance Fresh.

VerdictBhindi, karela and dudhi cannot be eaten raw!

Grape fruit Oil Sniff
I have no clue and haven’t found the root to why grapefruit has been cursed with the duty of making fat arses lose lard?

A dozen celebs across the world have been on grapefruit diet – eat fruit, drink juice for a couple of months and you’d be as lean as Jenifer Aniston. Taking things to the next level is Jennifer Lopez; the butt-insured pop star carries around a vial of grapefruit oil to sniff. The aroma apparently affects your liver enzymes, activating nerves that cause fats to be broken down and absorbed into the blood stream.

Verdict: If this was effective, aroma therapists across the world would have been thin millionaires! And Jennifer Aniston wouldn’t have lost Brad Pitt.

Algae Diet
This is seriously wonky. Eating nothing does not worry us. But if drinking two pints of algae and seaweed shake for diet is Victoria Beckham’s way of getting back at the world for not appreciating the Spice Girls. She should consult a psychologist.

Verdict
Algae and seaweed belong in nature not in the tummy.

Cookie Diet
Okay, this one, we like! We love cookies but doubt that all the cookies from Cookie Man, Theobroma and Celebrations won’t have enough variety to last for a year! Fame-crazy family’s child Kim Kardashian is an ardent follower of this diet and replaces two meals with two cookies each. Seriously, how can you have just two cookies instead of two meals and still have that tush?

Verdict: You’re giving cookies a bad name!


Ice cubes diet

Queen of yo-yoing weight, Renee Zellweger insists that you stick to eating low to no carbohydrates and suck on ice cubes every time you feel hungry. Well, ice cubes are great if they are made from vodka or soaked in slurpy kala khatta from Gogola, but not by itself.

Verdict
There are better things to suck on!

I think, therefore I’m thin
‘It’s not me, it’s you!’ singer Lily Allen ‘thinks’ her way to being thin. Her theory is that you must eat less, chew more, and drink lots of water and imagine yourself as being thin. Think its silly? Not really, especially when you don’t have much to think about!
Verdict: Don’t STOP!

Words of caution: Dudes and dudettes, don’t try these diets unless you have masochistic tendencies, or have lost your marbles. If you plan to lose fat, the best way is to hit the gym and to say hello to the salad bowl.