Le Mill’s Cecilia Parikh moved from New York to the bustling city of Mumbai over three years ago. Co-founded with Julie Leymarie and Aurelie de Limlette, her store has brought a colourful fashion flair to Mumbai’s industrial shipping district. Speaking of her love for the city, Cecilia revels in its vibrancy - ‘I love the energy’ she says. ‘I also love that you spend a lot of time with your friends and family at home. I love this cosy atmosphere.’ Housed in a former rice mill, Cecilia’s store is changing the face of Mumbai’s retail landscape; supporting the finest in Indian and international fashion and homeware. ‘I really love being part of this dynamic city and a spectator to the amazing changes it is undergoing’ she tells me. As a Superstore contender, we asked Cecilia to give us an insider’s guide into Mumbai’s best places to eat, relax and soak up the sights...
Britannia & Co
Located in the colonial business district of the Ballard Estate, the Britannia Café was opened in 1923 by Rashid Kohinoor. One of the last of its kind, this family run business is an emblem of Parsi café culture and serves a fusion of Indian and Iranian cuisine. Seated at rickety wooden tables laid with checked gingham tablecloths, customers can enjoy Britannia’s signature Berry Pulav, a dish created using saffron golden rice, curried potatoes, fried cashews and Tehran imported red barberries. With each days specials scrawled on a blackboard, this is no frills dining of the highest quality, and a worthy education into a dying Parsi tradition.
‘This is one of the last Iranian cafés in the city. In these cafes, the Iranians made wonderful dishes that are a beautiful combination of Indian and Iranian cuisine.’
Tucked inside one of the old lanes of the white-washed Colaba district, gallery space Project 88 exhibits the best in modern Indian art. Housed in a century old printing press, the gallery was opened by Sree Banerjee in 2006, and supports emerging and long term artists including Rags Media Collective, Tejal Shah and Hemali Bhuttoz. Keen to create an international platform for Indian talent, Project 88 champions experimentation and innovation across a wide range of media. It is the perfect space for a lesson in the future of Indian art.
‘This is a cutting edge gallery that shows fantastic Indian contemporary art. I visit once a month and sit to chat with my friend the gallerist Sree Banerjee.’
Housed in a beautiful 19th century colonial building, Ellipsis provides the best in luxurious modern-American cuisine. With interior design by California-based German designer Thomas Schoos, the space mixes modern with vintage: a private dining area comes complete with a kaleidoscopic Zoolander wall print, giant wrought-iron lamps and a vintage drinking cart. Opening only a year ago, owners Rohan Talwar and Ranbir Batra have created an exclusive yet relaxed space with an original approach to dining. With a menu based on local ingredients, diners select from an innovative menu categorised by Garden, Farm and Sea, with dishes including Baji fish tacos, aubergine puffs and dark chocolate soufflé.
‘This is almost the only place in the city where you have a chef in the kitchen working with local ingredients to make tasty and inventive food.'
The Dome Bar, Intercontinental City Hotel
Situated on Marine Drive, one of the the largest single art deco boulevards in the world, the Dome Bar is an elegant and romantic setting for enjoying a thirst-quenching cocktail. Accompanied by the tinkling sounds of live music and with a refreshing dose of salty sea breeze, this is the perfect spot for watching the sun set over the Arabian sea.
‘I go there whenever I have had a long day or on a Saturday evening to unwind with a friend.’
Bhau Daji Lad Museum
Established in 1872, The Bhau Daji Lad Museum is located inside Mumbai’s Jijamata Udyaan or Victoria Gardens. Re-opened in 2008 after an intensive restoration process, the museum is a symbol of lavish Victorian grandeur. Housing a collection of clay figurines documenting city life, and huge installations by major contemporary Indian artists, the museum is a visual history of India’s past and present. Artist Reena Kallat’s installation Cobwebs/ Crossings currently covers the outside of museums’ walls. Created using hundreds of rubber stamps, the piece bears the names of streets that have changed throughout Mumbai’s history and creates a visual dialogue about Mumbai’s indigenous and colonial past.
‘The result of the museum is a beautiful fusion of Victorian architecture, maquette art in the form of the figurines and contemporary sculpture. I go whenever a new exhibition is announced.’
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