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Insider's Guide: A Canadian Chef's Favourite Spots in Mumbai, India

Kelvin Cheung takes us to his favourite spots for coffee, arts and culture.

Kelvin Cheung

Photo: Amrita Diwanji

Scarborough, Ontario-born, third-generation chef Kelvin Cheung got his start in his father’s Cantonese kitchen at age 12. After stints at culinary school in Chicago and as sous-chef at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, Cheung moved to Mumbai in 2012. He now runs Bastian, a sea-food restaurant, and One Street Over, a street-food-inspired cocktail bar. “As soon as I land in this massive city, I feel a rush like I’ve never experienced elsewhere.”

Blue Tokai Coffee

Photo: Tokai Coffee Roasters

1. Blue Tokai Coffee

This modern café is an oasis of calm hidden down a quiet street in the otherwise busy Mahalaxmi area (use the Waze app to find it). People bring their dogs and sit outside. The coffee is fresh-roasted in small batches – a rarity in Mumbai – and I order a black eye: coffee with two shots of espresso.

Unit 20–22, Laxmi Woolen Mill, Shakti Mills Lane, off Dr. E. Moses RD., Mahalaxmi

Kala Ghoda

Photo: Alex Robinson/Getty Images

2. Kala Ghoda

South Mumbai’s most lively arts and culture district is like an outdoor maze – perfect for a weekend stroll. The artists on the terrace outside Jehangir Art Gallery always catch my eye; I love their charcoal sketches of the city skyline. Local fashion designers have set up shop too, like Obataimu, where Japanese-style clothing is made and sold on site.

3. Shree Thaker Bhojanalay

Imagine a Brazilian steakhouse but for vegetarian thali, where 500 rupees ($10) gets you unlimited servings. The place is known for its sweet dahl with roasted coconut and lots of ghee, which pairs nicely with the made-to-order breads — naan, chapati and roti. The owner and his sons are always around to chit-chat and refill your plate until you’re very full.

Building 31, Dadiseth Agiyari Lane, Gaiwadi, Kalbadevi

Prithvi Theatre

Photo: Manish Mansinh Sampat

4. Prithvi Theatre

I love the relaxed and intimate feel of this nearly 40-year-old venue. The 200 seats are set in a semicircle, so you feel like you’re right there with the performers. They stage Indian and international plays, and an eclectic lineup of musicals, literary readings and modern dance. I’ve made it a tradition to order an Irish coffee at intermission.

20 Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Rd.



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