Afternoon Tea At The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

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Afternoon Tea at The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai was one thing my Japanese friends requested to be included in the plans when they came to visit Mumbai. I was going to show them Gateway of India and The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, so I planned one day around the afternoon tea at Sea Lounge in the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai which starts at 3:30 p.m. We went to Churchgate Station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus first, then went to The Pantry to have some snack, San-Cha Tea Boutique, and Filter in Kala Ghoda before heading to the Gateway of India and The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

I have been to the afternoon tea at Sea Lounge in The Taj Mahal once before, but I was there with my kids. It’s not the most relaxing afternoon tea if you go to a nice hotel like Taj Mahal Palace Hotel with your young kids because they want to run to the food and make noise. I, however, still managed to enjoy the time at the Sea Lounge. This time, though, I went to the afternoon tea with my 3 girl friends. It was divine! I thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing time indulging in the afternoon tea with delicious food with the lovely company at the Sea Lounge in The Taj Mahal Palace.

Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea
Afternoon Tea was largely a social event for upper class people in the 19th century. It was a meal to fill in the long gap between lunch and dinner at a time when dinner was served at 8pm. High tea, on the other hand, was a necessary meal for the working class in the industrialized Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. After a long day of hard labor, workers went home and had meal with hot tea. Interesting fact is that the Afternoon Tea menu served in the UK is often referred to as high tea in many other parts of the world. (source via & about food)

I hope you can visually taste the experience of afternoon tea at Sea Lounge in The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai.





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First Floor At The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai
Afternoon Tea Hours – 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
TEL: 6665 3366 Ext: 3111

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai

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When my Japanese friends came to visit, I took them to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus which is also known as CST for short. I picked the location because I thought that it would be fun for them to see the magnificent architecture that has been featured in many places and named as the Unesco World Heritage Site. We went and checked out CST first and then moved onto the area little further south called Kala Ghoda.

Here is a little summary of the background of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a historic railway station in Mumbai, India which was named in honor of the 17th-century king Chhatrapati Shivaji, a founder of the Maratha Empire. The station was known as Victoria Terminus until it was renamed to the current name in March, 1996. The station was designed by an English architectural engineer, Frederick William Stevens with influences from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture. The original Victoria Terminus was built in 1887 in Mumbai and named after the reigning queen at the time, Queen Victoria. If you would like to read more about Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, you can find the information on wikipedia. To find information about the trains, here is the site by the Central Railway.

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I was very sad to learn that during the Mumbai attack in November 2008, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus was one of the targeted locations.

On the lighter note, the station was the location of filming the “Jai Ho” song in Slumdog Millionaire.

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It was quite hot outside in May, so we tried to make our trip as quick as possible. I ended up spending the longest time among my friends to snap away and my friends patiently waited for me to finish. I just loved taking photos of the CST, but I found it difficult and I feel badly that my photos look like the building was chopped in pieces.

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Frederick William Stevens, the designer of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, also designed the head offices of the BB&CI Railway at Churchgate Station in Mumbai. Churchgate Station was about 5 to 10 minute drive from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

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If you are curious how the inside of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus building looks like, you should go check out this post written by Sheena of This Is Sheena Blog.

I hope that those who have never been to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus were able to enjoy the virtual tour of the famous site in Mumbai even though the architecture of the CST in real life is even more beautiful. Thank you for visiting my post!!

CST Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus-3 I love this blog. Sheena’s photos are gorgeous.

The Pantry Mumbai

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The Pantry Cafe is located in the stylish district of Kala Ghoda in Fort, Mumbai. It was a delightful experience to walk into such a lovely cafe restaurant like The Pantry with cute interior. I love checking out interior design of cafes and restaurants. It’s the fun part of discovering a new place to eat. In my opinion food provides the sensory pleasure and interior design provides the visual pleasure. When I go to a cafe or restaurant, the ambiance of the eating space plays as much significance as the quality of food I get. It’s the whole package that makes the dining experience special.

I was guiding my three Japanese friends who came to visit Mumbai the area of Kala Ghoda. We visited Churchgate railway station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus first in the morning and drove to Kala Ghoda to check out the area next. I have always wanted to come visit The Pantry and finally I had a chance, so the decision was very easy to make for a place to have our lunch. We wanted to go to the afternoon tea at The Sea Lounge in Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, so we tried to eat light. I will have to go back to The Pantry to try their desserts as I was told that they were delicious!

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There is a little story to tell you. My expat friend I met back in Jakarta introduced me to her friend who recently relocated from New Delhi to Mumbai. She’s also an expat and does Instagram, so we are connected through Instagram. Apparently she was in The Pantry when I was there. She saw me taking photos and later she saw a photo of The Pantry on my Instagram feed and told me that she was there!! How random is that? It would have been really cool to meet her! I find it interesting how we discover that we were at the same place through social media. How time has changed from 10 years ago! I am sure I sound like an old person, but I am simply fascinated by it.

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We had a lovely lunch! After the satisfying and relaxing time at The Pantry, we visited Filter and San-Cha Tea Boutique which are in the same district. I highly recommend that you visit them all!

The Pantry

Yeshwant Chambers, Ground Floor
Military Square Lane, Kala Ghoda
Fort, Mumbai
TEL: 022 2267 8901

The Pantry Cafe Mumbai

The Pantry Mumbai

Arife Lamoulde Baking Equipment Mumbai

Arife Bake Shop Mumbai

Arife Lamoulde Mumbai is for all the bakers in the city. Arife Lamoulde is a baking equipment store that sells items such as chocolate moulds, sprinkles, fondant, fondant molds, baking supplies and so forth. You can read more about Arife Lamoulde on this page. Arife might be a well known bake shop for the local people in Mumbai, but I had no idea about this shop and it felt like a hidden gem to me even though I have lived in Mumbai for a year and a half! I started hearing about Arife from a couple of friends in the recent past. They always referred to Arife as a shop across the street from “Shoppers Stop” on Linking Road. However, having gone to the shop, it was one of those places where you would not find unless someone gives you a step-by-step directions, so I decided to write a post for any people who want to know where to get baking items in Mumbai. I’m not a baker, so I didn’t really care to find out where it was until I decided to make a cake for my husband’s birthday this year and I was looking for fondant. I called my good friend, Diana, who is a great source of information and a wonderful baker. She had made a beautiful fondant cake for her son’s birthday using Arife’s fondant. Thanks to her directions while I had her on the phone on Linking Road across the street from Shoppers Stop, I was able to find Arife Lamoulde! I had a lot of fun just looking at their products. I hope this post will be helpful for many bakers in Mumbai!

日本人の方でもお菓子作りが好きな方は多いかと思います。ムンバイに、Arife Lamouldeという、こんなに可愛いベーキングショップがありました。お菓子作り、特にチョコレートの型やフォンダンの型や道具が沢山売っているベーキングのお店です。ローカルのインド人にしてみたら、皆知っているお店なのかもしれませんが、多分駐在員にとっては、あまり存在が知られていない隠れたお宝のようなお店かと思います。ここ最近になって友人の間で良いベーキングのお店があると教えてもらい、Arifeを耳にし始めました。Arife(発音がいまいちわかりません。アリフェ?アリフ?)は、リンキング・ロード沿いにあるショッパーズストップというインドのデパートから道を挟んで反対側と言われていたのですが、誰かに細かい行き方を説明してもらわないと見つからないような場所にありました。そこで、ブログに載せることにしました。私はあまりお菓子作りは得意ではないので、Arifeについて言われても興味を持たなかったのですが、今年の夫の誕生日にケーキを作ってあげようと思い、そのためにフォンダンが必要だったので、アリフェを試してみることにしました。よくいろんな良いお店を教えてくれる、またお菓子作りが得意で上手なダイアナという友人が、Arifeのフォンダンを使って息子さんのために素敵なケーキを作ったことがありました。その彼女に電話をして、リンキング・ロードのショッパーズストップの前で降りた後、電話で話をしながら、行き方を教えてもらいました。お店にたどり着いて、そのもの多さにびっくり。ベーキンググッズを見ているだけで、楽しい気分になりました。この記事が多くのムンバイ在住のお菓子作り好きの人の役に立ちますように!

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Arife Lamoulde

229 New Commonwealth Co-hsg Scty
Linking Road,
Mumbai, Maharashtra
022 2642 5990

It is said opposite of Shoppers Stop and all my friends said the same. Shoppers Stop is not directly in front of Arife Lamoulde. Shoppers Stop would be the landmark for the shop, but here is the view I saw when I stand under the gate with the sign for Arife Lamoulde.

ショッパーズストップの正面にある、とサイトに記載されてあり、また友人もそう教えてくれましたが、微妙に正面ではありませんでした。ショッパーズストップは誰にでも分かりやすいので、そう書いているのかもしれません。ショッパーズストップはお店を探す時に良い目印にはなるかと思います。下の写真は、Arife Lemouldeの看板の下に立って道路を見た時の景色です。

When you face the sign and the store, the photo below is the view on your right.


Arife's next door

When you face the sign and the store, the photo below is the view on your left.


All the photos on this post were taken with a camera on my iPod Touch 4 and edited with VSCO Cam.

San Cha Tea Boutique ☆ Kala Ghoda Mumbai

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I learned about San Cha Tea Boutique in Kala Ghoda by accident. I wanted to take my friends who were visiting us in Mumbai to the famous Kala Ghoda Cafe in Fort. As San Cha Tea Boutique stands on the right side of Kala Ghoda Cafe, we walked by the San Cha shop and noticed it. We all could not help but peek into the San Cha Tea Boutique from the window because the store looked so beautiful.

Unfortunately, Kala Ghoda Cafe’s wait was long, so we couldn’t get a table. We went to The Pantry Cafe instead which was right around the corner and it was actually another cafe that I have wanted to try, so that worked out great! After we had a yummy lunch at the cute Pantry Cafe, we walked back towards Kala Ghoda Cafe. As we walked by the San Cha Tea Lounge, my friend asked if we could stopped by. We had some time for shopping till the next agenda, so we walked into the San Cha Tea Boutique. We all were delighted by the welcoming atmosphere of the shop.

I made some purchases for souvenirs at San Cha Tea Boutique. Tea packages form San Cha will make a beautiful gift from India for sure. Many Japanese people like to drink tea and India is famous for tea, so I always like bringing tea as a souvenir from Mumbai. Tea is also light and small, so it’s easier to pack in suitcase, which is another reason why I like to buy tea for souvenir.

Anyways, my girl friends and I had a lovely time!






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San Cha Tea Boutique

Shop No 2A 11A machinery House
B Bharucha Rd, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Mumbai, Maharashtra
TEL: 022 4002 0854

San Cha is located across the street from Trishna restaurant, a famous sea food restaurant. I was told that I need to go check out Trishna.

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On the left side of San Cha is a very famous cafe Kala Ghoda Cafe. It looked so cool! I must go back! I am dying to try Kala Ghoda Cafe!!


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Maomao Indie Top

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Maomao is a brand founded by an Indonesian designer, Peggy, in Jakarta, Indonesia. When I lived in Jakarta, I always thought that Indonesians are quite fashionable people. There are many cool brands created by entrepreneurs. You’ll be amazed by all the talented people you find especially in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta. I used to love going to the biggest popup market in Indonesia called Brightspot Market and Goods Department which is a store that was realized from the concept of Brightspot Market to find out the hot indie designers in Indonesia.

Maomao owner, Peggy, came to visit Mumbai from Jakarta on a business trip and she made time to meet with me for the first time. She and her husband found my blog sometime ago, so she has contacted me and asked me for a possibility of collaborating with her brand. I agreed and we met at Suzette and had a lovely breakfast together. She was a very sweet person. She gave me some of the maomao’s shirts and even brought me a beautiful mug by Ayu Larsati. You can see maomao’s collection on its beautiful Instagram feed here.

This lovely Indie Top in cream color was one of the gifts from Peggy. Indie top is probably my favorite top among all that she has given me. You can see three other tops she has given me on this post about Maomao Linen Tops. Indie top is kind of a cropped top, but it’s not overly cropped, so even a mom like me can feel comfortable wearing it. It’s really cute. I like to wear it with pants, but it goes beautifully with a skirt as well.




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Filter Shop ☆ Kala Ghoda Mumbai

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Filter Shop in Mumbai has been on my to do list for the longest time. I saw Filter Shop’s photo somewhere and I have always wanted to visit. I was very excited when the opportunity to visit Filter Shop finally came. Three Japanese friends of mine came to visit me in Mumbai, so I showed them around the city that my family and I call home. I am very happy to live in Mumbai, so I wanted to show the best part of Mumbai to them. If you live overseas, you know the excitement of seeing your old friends in your city, don’t you? Based on their interests, I planned sightseeing for them and I decided to take my friends to Kala Ghoda, Fort after visiting Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). I will write about CST on another day.

I took my friends to Kala Ghoda, the area that has become an art center of Mumbai because it hosts many cool shops and restaurants. It’s the area where you can walk around and I highly recommend you go if you haven’t visited. Filter Shop is one of the shops you must visit if you are in the area. Just like seen in photos on Filter Shop website, the store was as cool as I imagined. There are many products that are unique to Filter Shop and I loved some of the items with images or words expressed with a very good sense of humor. I find it important to have a good sense of humor in life and surrounding yourself with reminders will put a smile on your face, you know?

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Filter Shop
43 V.B. Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda
Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra
*Behind Rhythm House
Phone: 022 2288 7070

When you go to Kala Ghoda, look for the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue which is a beautiful blue synagogue that is on V.B. Gandhi Marg. V.B. Gandhi Marg is one way and Filter Shop is after the Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue on your right.

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Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue Mumbai

The Lil Flea Pop Up Market

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The Lil Flea is a pop up market that take place at different locations in Mumbai, India throughout a year. The Lil Flea is a great market to discover new brands and shop at variety of vendors for lovely items all in one location. They also have a food market area where you can try different foods and drinks.

My friend took me to The Lil Flea held at the Reclamation ground in Bandra, Mumbai last December 2014. I had so much fun shopping for Christmas and I had a blast. If The Lil Flea takes place again in December, I highly recommend people going because the weather was simply gorgeous in December in Mumbai and it was a great place to take care of Christmas shopping or any souvenir shopping for those who go visit their families in the winter break. The photos I posted here do not feature all the vendors unfortunately. There were so many more!

I have some shots of other vendors that I did not get to take photos on my DSLR, but I did on my iPod Touch. If you are curious, please visit my Facebook as well as my Instagram accounts.

October Design Solutions

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TH Bakes


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Silberuh The Lil Flea

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Gia Bath Body Works

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Unknown Brand – Can anyone help me?

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Exalte Tea The Lil Flea

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Firefly Airbnb Villa In Alibaug

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Firefly is a beautiful holiday villa in Alibaug that you can rent through Airbnb. (☆The Firefly farm house seems to not be listed on Airbnb any longer.) Alibaug is a small coastal town located approximately 108 km south of Mumbai and it takes about 3 hours by car from Mumbai. I find Alibaug an easy weekend get-away for relaxation especially for city dwellers in Mumbai. Firefly gave us the place to enjoy the nature and escape into the peaceful time away from the city.

Our good friends in Mumbai, Kati and JP, booked Firefly for a weekend in April and invited us to join them. It just happened that my husband was traveling during the weekend when our friends booked to go to Firefly, so he could not join us. It’s always a bit intimidating to travel with three kids by myself (not really as I went there with my friends, but you know what I mean), but I decided to make this weekend at Firefly happen. There were two reasons. It was the last chance for us family to go on a trip with Kati, JP and their kids before the summer. Secondly, Alibaug is a car-ride away from Mumbai which makes traveling easier.

Sadly enough for us, Kati and JP and their family are moving this summer and will leave Mumbai for good. They have been good friends to us from the beginning of our stay in Mumbai. The children were very excited to travel together and it helped me a lot to ride with all four girls and my son in our car during the 3-hour car ride as they entertained each other. As expected our girls had the best time and even my son has been asking “do we go to Alibaug?” all week after our return.

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As I always do, I would like my readers to have a photo tour of the beautiful Firefly so that you can virtually experience the gorgeous farm house in Alibaug. The setting was exquisite. As a person who loves interior design and photography, it was the most inspiring weekend to be at Firefly. I will also add my take on the experience at Firefly with the photos. I hope it’ll be helpful.

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Transportation to Firefly

Firefly is located about 30 minutes inland from Alibaug town by car and it is a 3-hour drive from Mumbai.

According to the Firefly’s page, it is a one hour drive from the Mandwa Jetty, the port in Alibaug to Firefly. If you take a ferry from the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Colaba, it takes about 50 minutes by ferry.

Based on my experience, if you travel from Mumbai with small kids, I would recommend taking a car to Firefly instead of a boat from Colaba. It’s easier on you. You will read later about meals, but Firefly owners encourage you to cook your own meals. You will have to bring a lot of food, so if you travel by boat to Alibaug, you still might want to take a car to load all of your luggage. Also, the schedules of ferries and speedboats can get affected by the weather, so depending on the weather, it is a possibility that ferries and speedboats get cancelled.

We went to Firefly in two cars and our drivers used the smaller back roads to avoid the traffic on the main roads. It felt like it took longer, but actually we made it in 3 hours which is how long it should take even though we left Mumbai around 4:00 pm on a Friday which was rush hours. I don’t know exactly which roads, but I liked the back roads from Mumbai to Alibaug. It was scenic compared to the main roads and the kids enjoyed the view very much.


There are total of 5 rooms. I only saw 3 rooms and I have photos of two rooms on this post.

My girls and my friends’ girls slept in the room downstairs inside the Poolside Cottage. My friends, the couple, used a room with a king size bed on the upper level of the Poolside Cottage. I used a room called the Glass Cottage with views over the Revdanda Valley with my son and my friends’ son and his friend (they took a friend of their son) slept in the Gatekeeper Cottage which was a bit away from the main area .

They accept 10 guests. My son who is 3 years old was counted as one in this number as well. If you have any questions, please ask the Firefly owners, Martin & Sagarika, directly on this.

If you go to Firefly with younger kids of age 10 and under, you might have to be creative with your room assignment because the rooms are not located all close together. There was one room that all girls slept together with a queen size bed and a sofa bed that spread to be a queen size bed that was perfect for them.

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Meals & Cooking

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The owners of Firefly encourage their guests to bring their food and drink from Mumbai and cook. To read more about cooking and meals at Firefly, please click here to see their descriptions and House Rules.

To be honest with you, if I have a choice to not cook during the holiday, I go for that option. It’s just one thing less to worry about as a mother of 3 when I travel with kids and more time to spend with them. I went to Alibaug a couple of months ago and stayed at Ccaza Ccomodore. The best thing about Ccaza Ccomodore was the food. They serve lovely full course meals and the warm food would be waiting for you on the table at every meal time.

That being said, I can tell you that if you prepare well in advance, it is not that bad. My friend, Kati, cooked delicious BBQ chicken and I brought some already cooked gyoza dumplings (pot stickers) for the first dinner. We brought mac and cheese boxes, ramen noodles, marinated teriyaki chickens and sausages to grill, some vegetables for salad, fruits, lots of bread, peanut butter, cheese, dips, crackers, banana bread, chips, snacks, wine, juice boxes, a cereal box, and so forth. Thus, the preparation for meals did not take much time. I got lucky that my older kids and my friends’ kids were wonderful about looking after my youngest monkey son while I was cooking.


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The website says pets and children are welcome, but they have two dogs at the farm. They also have many roosters that came out in the morning. The owners also warn that the farm is built on a steep hill and it is not suitable for unsupervised children.

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I agree with the owner. I also got lucky in a sense that I had older kids around to watch my son. Since my son had a falling incident in Goa in 2014 (you can read about that here), he is pretty good about not jumping off from a very high place and scared of the deep water, so he would not jump into the deep end of a swimming pool. I also realized that I was probably banking on the belief that during our stay at Firefly no injury would happen to my kids.

Other Thoughts

Firefly is located 30 minutes away from Alibaug town and is standing on a hill in the middle of the fields. There is no lodging for drivers near Firefly according to the driver I had that day. There is no extra space at Firefly, either, if you have 10 guests staying.

We let our drivers take the cars to go to wherever they needed to go to stay. One idea that I might suggest is that if you have multiple cars to get there, keep one car at Firefly in case of an emergency.

We had one injury during our stay. Luckily it did not require us to go to the doctor’s, but in case we had to, it would have been difficult as it would probably take at least 30 minutes to the doctor’s. We also did not have information for any doctor’s there and our cars were gone with the drivers. It might not be a bad idea to check doctor’s information in Alibaug.

I do not mean to scare anyone, but as a mom, I cannot help thinking of all possible scenarios when we travel. If you are a group of all grown ups, there is nothing to worry about, right? Wink, wink.


It was 32,000 Rupees (USD 500+) per night to stay at Firefly.

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This was my first experience using Airbnb. Airbnb is an amazing concept. It was founded in 2008, only 7 years ago, and Airbnb seems to have become a huge trend for travelers these days. Just in case if you are wondering, this post is neither requested or sponsored.

Villa Vandre ☆ Mumbai

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I found a cute cafe called Villa Vandre and had a lovely breakfast with my friends. I learned about Villa Vandre thanks to this article published by brown paper bag. If you live in Mumbai or New Delhi, I recommend checking out brown paper bag website because they really tell you new hip places to go and what’s happening in town. I subscribe to their Facebook and Twitter and through Facebook I found out about Villa Vandre. Brown paper bag also issues The Coup Card, which is a discount card you can use at partnered restaurants. I have paid to get one and use The Coup Card all the time.

Villa Vandre is a tiny place that has about 4 tables inside. Two of the four tables seat 4 each and the other two seat 2 people, so they can’t seat too many at the same time. I didn’t make a reservation and had a table right away, but I thought it might be better to call in the future. I loved their yummy western style breakfast with a little Indian twist and they offer reasonable prices for Mumbai (it’s not cheap to eat out in Mumbai if you go to westernized restaurants). I always love a neighborhood hole in a wall type of places and I hope many of you will like Villa Vandre as much as I did. I need to go back for their tuna bagel recommended by brown paper bag! By the way bpb reviews candidly and pays for their own meals. That’s really cool for a company to do that and you know that their opinions are authentic which is what we would love to have for recommendations, don’t you think?

Villa Vandre has a Facebook page if you are interested in seeing more photos.

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Villa Vandre

New Kantwadi Rd, Pali Hill, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050
PHONE:022 6527 9009
HOURS: 8:30 am – 11:30 pm


Villa Vandre Map