Hi it’s Breezy, Abi, Abigail and even Rose ( take your pick I answer to them all) author of the blog Quirky Rose Harissa. I’m delighted to be asked to guest post on Jewels From The Roving Stove about India, since it is on the top of Jewels’s travel list. I hope this post will give you all a taste of this huge and varied country.

There’s a Roy Lichenstein painting called Whaam! It says what I feel each time I land in Mumbai. This city has an energy; an abundance of laughter; some of the sweetest, wisest and most humble people and a street life like no other. Mumbai, has a way of holding out its fingers; curling one towards you; beckoning and ensnaring you; getting right under your skin.

The sights of Mumbai

I don’t drive in Mumbai… you’ve got to be kidding! I sit back in a rickshaw or a cool cab and take a backseat view. I never tire of travelling here, something always hits one of my senses. It could be a vendor setting up his stall with so much care. Sometimes it’s the children screeching with laughter, as they play cricket along a narrow pavement. The pungent smell of rubbish over-heated in the sun can set my nose twitching. Or I feel my hands on the back of the driver’s seat as we break rapidly to avoid the cow, human, animal or vehicle that has stopped for no apparent reason. It’s incredible, funny, and at times, downright nerve wracking! I haven’t even mentioned the bundles of brightly washed laundry sitting at the Dhobi Ghats, or the beautiful architecture and those mesmerising, exotic women who sit gracefully riding sidesaddle, wrapped in pristine saris, on the back of a motorbike…

But to not touch on the cuisine of Mumbai would be a crime. I love to snack and so does this city. When it comes to hygiene I do what makes sense to me – head to the vendors that have queues. Try a pani puri – a hollowed out deep fried Indian bread with a spicy liquid concoction poured into it; it explodes in your mouth first bite. I love the diversity of the restaurants. I can go to Stax restaurant in the Hyatt Regency and eat the best freshly prepared pasta I have tasted outside of Italy. If I fancy some Sunday lunchtime fun then I’ll head down to the Saltwater Cafe in Bandra. It has a wonderful ambiance; quirky barstools upstairs and benches downstairs so comfortable I do linger. The service is charming and the food very well cooked.There’s an endless array of gorgeous coffee shops in Mumbai. Whenever I go to Crosswords (bookshop) in Kemp’s Corner, I always stop for a latte and something in Moshe’s cafe right inside the bookshop – what else could a lover of food and books want?! But I do have a soft spot too for the interior (especially one of the walls) of Love & Latte.

Sometimes I wish to have that warm, heady feeling that only a setting sun can give me. A fun place to see this is at the Aer bar on the top floor (34th!) of the Four Seasons hotel. The view is eclectic: slums below; the most expensive homes; Mahalakshmi racecourse and the expanse of the Arabian Sea.

Quirky Rose Harissa

So to sum up my Mumbai: it doesn’t hide itself; everything is on view. It’s a city that pulls me in all directions; gives me so much inspiration and always plenty to think about. I commute between the UK and Mumbai, as my husband works in Mumbai. I’m just setting up my own business, so if you would like to read more about my experiences of India, please head over to Quirky Rose Harissa, but before you do, please leave a comment here about where you have/will be traveling this summer? What fills your senses there?

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  • July 11, 2012
    1:46 pm

    Where else is there to dream about but Mumbai now? I’ve always wanted to go but the picture you paint makes me yearn more to see it all. It sounds like a city you could never see all of because it’s constantly changing and renewing itself. Such history and architecture I can only imagine! The colours too with the spices and different produce, smells and sounds! Wow… I am green with envy you get to go and you sound like the perfect tour guide to see the real Mumbai. Love it Rose!!!!

  • July 12, 2012
    7:47 am

    Rose, this was a lovely post! I felt as if I were actually tasting what you described! Now I’ve got another place to add to my bucket list!

  • July 12, 2012
    3:02 pm

    I meant to ask too… what are the items in the Pani Puri photo? Indian food is one of my favourites and that is making me drool !

  • July 13, 2012
    2:39 am

    Thank you so much for your comments x

  • July 13, 2012
    6:32 pm

    Just read your post and it’s wonderful! I can see everything in my mind and almost smell the spices along with the other aromas. I will have to suffice with your descriptions of the scenery and go online to view more. But, for the food, ah, that will mean some time in the kitchen experimenting and learning. Sounds like summer fun!

    • July 15, 2012
      3:00 am

      Hi Ruthee,

      Thank you for your lovely comment. I like the idea of you experimenting in the kitchen. Indian food is so enjoyable to cook. I love spending the time grinding the spices and chopping the herbs. I’ve been lucky to buy some copper bottomed pots, that I noticed people used a lot to cook with here and on my last trip back to the UK they got used a lot! I’m going further South next weekend, down to Tamil Nadau, so I’m sure there will be new food experiences and scenery for me to enjoy.

  • July 15, 2012
    2:48 am

    Hi Rachel,
    Just returned to Mumbai today. Something I’ve learnt about Pani Puri is that everyone has their own twist. I could have sworn one I tasted had tamarind in it. They are small balls of flour and semolina; rolled out very thinly then deep fried. They are left to cool and then hollowed out. Into the hollow goes a spoonful of mashed potato; some chopped onion; a bit of sweet chutney and then some tangy/spicy water is poured in ( have heard some is vodka added at this stage ;)). I think the herbs are coriander and mint. You would love them and I would be delighted to take you on a pani puri excursion.

  • July 15, 2012
    3:10 am

    You’re so right Rachel. I’ve been coming here for six years now and I still see new things every time I go out. I haven’t see it all either! I’ve seen a lot of changes though. At the moment the Metro is being built and a flyover – can’t wait to see them in action! Would love to show you around with plenty of cafe stops en route!

  • July 15, 2012
    3:17 am


    You must add India to your bucket list. It really is a truly, fascinating country and one that makes you stop, think and enjoy the everyday. As for the food? It’s so exciting, always a new snack to try!