An insider's guide to Mumbai: The city of dreams

A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House

Where to eat, play and party like a local in India’s capital

Tuesday 22 March 2022 By Roshni Bajaj

Our House in Mumbai sits peacefully on a calm, clear stretch of Juhu Beach. A place where palm trees sway to the gentle rhythm of the Indian Ocean and the city bathes in an amber glow. Our outpost here is for parties and Picantes, but it also provides an oasis away from the bustle of the city: a quiet spot in a sprawling megapolis where Bollywood darlings take refuge and members come to decompress.

As restrictions lift, the House calendar is teeming with events – longer staying guests will find interactive art workshops, pop-up markets with homegrown brands, local jazz acts, food workshops, and festivals. On the all-day menu at the club and the poolside rooftop are local treats such as Keralan fish curry and eggs akuri, plus international options such as the popular avocado toast or flat iron chicken. There’s plenty to do in Mumbai before retreating to our House bedrooms, all of which have views of the towering skyscrapers or azure waters.

A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House
A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House

Where to eat

The Bombay Canteen

Founded by chef Floyd Cardoz, The Bombay Canteen is a playful restaurant that takes its flavours very seriously. Set within a grand colonial-era bungalow, Bollywood music echoes throughout the venue and vintage adverts plaster the walls. The menu here is a celebration of regional Indian food and reflects seasonality. If you’re planning a trip to Mumbai soon, then expect to see head chef Hussain Shahzad preparing Paya Soup Momos, tender garbanzo salads, and charred winter carrots. In the summer, it’s all about mangoes and lighter, cooler vegetable dishes. An insider’s note: always save room for dessert. 

Masque restaurant

Masque’s 10-course chef’s tasting menu is an experiential joyride. Traditional regional ingredients are foraged or gathered from the restaurant’s farm, and transformed into modern Indian dishes that often look too good to eat, but explode on the palate with flavour and texture. Recent offerings have featured ice apples or oysters with fermented star fruit, and BBQ pork with fiery Naga chilli peppers. 

A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House
A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House


Thali, an unending meal that represents the diverse vegetarian food of an Indian state in all its breadth, is typically served in a multitudinous assemblage of small round steel bowls set in a large steel plate. This is a meal that must be scheduled well, with not much planned after. At Chetana, patrons can choose from one of three state thalis: Gujarati, Rajasthani, or Maharashtrian. Tables groan under the weight of Indian snacks, flatbreads, condiments, vegetable curries, yogurt curries, dals (lentil and legume preparations), rice, and sweets. The meal is a testament to the multifariousness of vegetarian food in India. Servers keep refilling portions as diners go through them, until they sigh from satisfaction and vehemently refuse. Schedule time for a nap after lunch here.  

Sanjay Singh Sandwichwala

Mumbai’s street food culture is famous for its variety. Among the safest foods to eat off the street is a Bombay toastie: a grilled sandwich made with springy slices of white bread painted with butter and coriander mint chilli chutney, and stuffed with onion, potato, tomato, cucumber, green capsicum, cheese, and chaat masala. Sanjay Singh is among Mumbai’s finest sandwichwalas on the strip: he’s been in the business for 28 years and grills his wares over a coal-fired sigdi grill – all served alongside a lip-smacking chutney, which is quite possibly the best in the city. 

A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House
A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House

Where to party 


Enter via a red shipping container into a vast, high-ceilinged club and gig space set in an old textile mill. Even the most robotic of dancers loosen up here. AntiSOCIAL is where live music lives in Mumbai: independent musicians, Dharavi hip-hop artists, DJ sets, and house music – it all happens here. 

The Eau Bar

The views of Mumbai’s famous promenade from this recently refurbished, popular hotel bar are hard to beat. Get a group together for sundown on the terrace and match the limitless ocean vistas with drinks by mixologist Andrew Pearson. A tumbler of Marine Drive is the colour of dusk, with orange bitters, saline, and turmeric-infused gin. Pair it with coarse merguez sausages. When it gets dark, move inside to the Deco-inspired lounge, get a seat at the bar near the Tree of Life, and keep going. Oh, and on weekends it gets hectic, so book in advance. 

A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House
A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House

What to see 

Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

INTACH’s restoration of the Bhau Daji Lad in 2008 renewed interest in the city’s oldest museum. The stunning Palladian exteriors and Victorian interiors are worth a visit as much for themselves as for the exhibits they house, displaying Mumbai’s history and cultural heritage. After a tour of its lithographs, clay models, dioramas and photographs, stop at the gift shop for Mumbai-themed souvenirs. BDL is in the grounds of the zoo – skip the depressing animal enclosures and take a stroll to enjoy the gardens instead.

Alibaug via boat

A short ride on a Ro-Ro (roll on-roll off) ferry from the wharf, or a speedboat taxi from the Gateway of India takes Mumbai residents to Alibaug, a coastal village-turned-affluent holiday seaside town. It’s known for its opulent villas and private estates, boutique shops, cute outdoor restaurants, and beaches that offer both serenity and water sports. Holiday home rentals with pools and beach access abound for those seeking a slower pace away from urban life for a few days. 

A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House
A week in Mumbai: Skyscraper city | Soho House

No Footprints tours

When visitors and locals want to watch the city wake up and mingle with newspapermen, milkmen, fisherfolk and a bridge-load of vegetable vendors, they seek out No Footprints’ Mumbai by Dawn tour. To experience the nightlife via modern gastropubs, historic hotel drinkeries, dance bars and dive bars, they reserve spots on the Bombay Booze and the Bard tour. No Footprints also has tours covering everything else, including (but not limited to) architectural bike tours, late-night street food, Dharavi, dabbawalas, queer culture, and colonial crawls. 

Hype in the City, a skatepark in Bandra

To get a sense of how the texture of Mumbai’s youth subculture is changing, visit this skatepark off Bandra’s famous Carter Road where skater girls, boys, and BMXers perfect boardslides and bar spins. Striking paintwork by muralist and installation artist, Sanskar Sawant and his space-design agency Homework Studio, makes the perfect backdrop for Instagram as much as for real life. This is also a good starting spot to set off on a street art walk around Bandra, stopping at the many cafes and restaurants. 

Planning a trip? Click here to book a bedroom at Soho House Mumbai.

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