FOOD AS A WINDOW INTO THE PAST | Pali Bhavan, Bombay
A coterie of faces stare down at me: Parsi men and women, draped in a black-and-white of the ‘50s, effortlessly elegant as they pose while framed in tones of dark wood; faces belonging to some of Bombay’s oldest Catholic families; a litany of emotions and expressions, spread out across the vast dimensions of this dining playground.
Straddling that compelling space between a royal haveli and a nobleman’s home, Pali Bhavan evokes a bygone era in the most attractive of ways. You step away from one of Bombay’s perpetually crowded thoroughfares, and are, as though instantly, whisked away into a cauldron of heritage, intrigue, and an artistic palette where crumbling walls and unfinished ceilings dance around with lighting set to sensual, chandeliers kissed by age, wooden flooring that exudes a sigh or two, sepia paintings brimming with the feel of yore, and an assortment of curios, heirlooms, and eccentric knick-knacks.
The Industrial Vintage furniture (Ironworks) doesn’t take away from the furtive mounds of heritage. My Galouti Kebab, tender individual portions of lamb meat, melt at their own delicacy. The Kaali Dal – savoured, swiped, and mopped up with Tandoori Rotis and Lachcha Parathas – bristles in its note-perfect rustic truthfulness.
Courting Bombay's old-world charm and treasure-trove of delicious secrets, this is an address that merges flavour, heritage, style, and luxury in the most compelling of ways. The thought hovers that Pali Bhavan could only be the brainchild of Suren Joshi and Mishali Sanghani, the people behind Pali Village Café.
Perfect dining experience accompanied by a perfectly vintage glass of red, I’m compelled towards poetry. Bombay, you're the forgotten echoes of a whisper, I write. You're the crushed afterburn of a cigarette; you're the flailing residue of photographs tossed out into the wind. I bid a temporary goodbye to this, one of the most evocative restaurants anywhere in the world. Pali Bhavan has done its job.
10, Adarsh Nagar, Pali Naka, Bandra West, Bombay | 022 2651 9400