Ascot Hotel, Colaba, a top pick for sleeping in Mumbai


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The Ascot Hotel  is in a great central location in a leafy street in atmospheric Colada. The deluxe  rooms are very large, and at least some have a sunny balcony overlooking the daily life in the street below. Accommodation is expensive in Mumbai, so at around $AUS 152 including breakfast, the deluxe room is good value. (Superior room is about $AUS 138).

There are plenty of good eating spots nearby like, Kailash Parbat, Paradise Restaurant, Olympia Coffee House, Bademiya, as well as Theobroma for coffee, light snacks and cakes, and the Colaba Sweet Mart. The Ascost is also within walking distance of major sights like the Gateway to India, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Prince of Wales Museum. Other ‘must sees’ like Victoria Terminus, Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, Sassoon Dock and  Mumbai High Court are only a short taxi ride away.

Staff are very helpful, friendly and personal. They do everything they can to help. Breakfast is ordered from a small menu but is nicely presented, tasty and more than you can eat.

The only downside to be aware of is that is can be noisy. But nevertheless, it’s a perfect base to go to and from, between sampling Mumbai’s many dining opportunities, enjoying the fine architecture  and exploring life in Mumbai.

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Deluxe Room 102

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Mumbai’s morning street scenes and markets by bike


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It is a very special and peaceful feeling to cruise Mumbai’s early morning street scenes and markets, by bike on a Reality Tours and Travel’s bike tour. Sadly Sassoon Dock is closed in monsoon season, but a few fish sellers still conduct business outside the gate. For about $Aus 22 per person, it includes a delicious breakfast at Kailash Prabat Restaurant at the end of the tour. The dal pakwan is fantastic !!(Chick pea dal with crispy chapatis).

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Mumbai Public Transport Tour – Dabbawallahs, local food markets, and more










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Reality Tours and Travel’s Public Transport Tour offers a range of unique and interesting experiences including the dabbawalla lunch delivery system, Victorian Station (the last scene of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’) at rush hour, the Dadar flower market, Null Bazaar fresh food market and the Dohbi Ghat (vast laundry service). Highly recommended at just $16 per person, for 3.5 hours.

Mumbai Street Food Tour – Reality Tours and Travel


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Sev Puri

Sev Puri has an interesting balance of sweet, salty, tart and spicy flavors, and different textures as well, including crispy and crunchy from the fried sev thin noodles. It also s includes tomatoes, onions, chillis as well as tamarind.


Pani Puri has similar sweet, tart, salty and spicy flavours but in a liquid form in a crisp shell.


Pao Bahji at Chowpatty Beach (mashed vegetables, red chilli and spices cooked with plenty of butter, scooped up and eaten with the fresh Pao bread bun)


Kulfi at Chowpatty Beach (an ‘ice cream’ made with condensed milk, delicious!)

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IMG_0017_2 IMG_0018_2  Jalebi sweets on Mohamed Ali Road (made by deep frying wheat flour batter shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup.)

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Taj Icc Cream on Mohamed Ali Road ( fantastic Alphonso Mango Ice cream)


CST Terminus at night (Mumbai’s largest train station) (The scene of the finale in the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’)

Mumbai is famous for its street food and a great way to be guided through some of the best  is to join one of Reality Tours and Travel’s Street Food Tours for around $AUS 24 per person. (This of course covers you for the cost of a very generous dinner, so you really only need a snack for lunch as well.)

The three hour tour starts at 5:30pm and first takes visitors to Chowpatty Beach to enjoy snacks with local families out for a treat. Don’t miss the ‘Famous Rabdi Kulfi’ stall for delicious layers of cream, pistachio, mango, orange and strawberry kulfi. Chowpatty Beach is also a great chance to try Mumbai’s signature street foods Pao Bhaji and Pani Puri.

The tour continues to Bendi Bazaar, a wonderful for street food in the Muslim area of Mumbai. Mohammed Ali Road was really buzzing during Ramadan as people broke their fast and enjoyed their favourite foods from busy stalls. This stop included the popular Taj Ice Cream shop – in business for over 120 years.

Second and third serves were generously offered and our guide Nilesh was terrific – thoughtful, friendly, engaging and knowledgable. As it was low (rainy) season, we had the tour all to ourselves, a special privilege.




Mumbai by Night Tour – Mumbai in a whole new light!



The Mumbai By Night tour that Reality Tours and Travel runs is a good way to see lots of scenic spots that are particularly lovely at night. It includes Marine Drive at dusk, very popular with couples, Chowpatty Beach if you missed Reality’s Street Food Tour, as well as the great view from the Hanging Gardens, wealthy Malabar Hill ( with its 27 floor 2 billion dollar house, for just five people… and their 200 staff), busy Bendhi Bazaar and Mohammed Ali Road and Victoria Station.

About $Aus 18 per person, travelling from point to point by car (nice at the end of a full day), for around 2.5 hours.











Mumbai Market Tour – local food and textile colour galore!



 Reality Tours and Travels Market Tour is another great Mumbai tour, with excellent local guides, taking in heritage markets like Crawford fruit and vegetable market, Mangaldas textiles market, Flower market alley, as well as Mumbadevi Temple, and Bombay Panjrapole, the old cow shelter.

Great value fun and fascination – 2.5 hours at about $Aus 15 per person.







Parsi Cuisine at Mumbai’s Paradise Restaurant


Looking a bit like a country town cafe or old style milk bar, as Charmaine says in her Penguin Food Guide to India, the Paradise Restaurant really is an old fashioned style, waistcoated waiters, Parsi cuisine restaurant run by a charming Parsi couple’ who still remember the Aussie writer. As Charmaine says, the chicken and cheese patties are very good. It was also great to try the Sal Boti ( boneless mutton cooked with tomatoes and apricots, served with potato straws) as well as the Parsi celebration dessert, Lagan nu custard.

Not quite as much fun as a trip Britannia & Co. (frequently visited by TV and radio crews, celebrities and heads of state), but if you are staying in Colaba and short on time, it’s a convenient spot to try some classic Parsi dishes.

It’s tricky to find, so best to look for the Kailash Prabat Restaurant on the opposite side of the road. (FYI The gorgeous Colaba Sweet Mart, is almost next door too!)

Sind Chambers, Colaba Causeway
(022) 22832874
9am-2pm, 3-9pm (7days)













Brittania and Co. – perhaps Mumbai’s most fun spot to eat




 Brittania and Company is definitely larger than life. It has become more than Mumbai’s most famous family run, old style Parsi cafe, it’s a real experience.

Mr Kohinoor, 92 years, engages customers with his experiences of famous visitors of state and his keen mind is great fun. We left with well wishes for Mr Abbott and a re-telling of a bold letter of life advice to Julia Guillard. 

We tried the famous mutton berry pulao, the Parsi dish  of Chicken Dhansak, the ‘to die for’ caramel custard ( it was very good) and took a generous fellow diner’s pic of their Sali Boti (which I will have to go back for, it looked so good).

But most of all we left having had a great time.

(This three minute ABC Radio National Britannia & Co. spot says it all, well worth a listen).








Wakefield House 11, Opposite New Custom House, Near To Grand Hotel, Sprott Road 16, Ballard Estate, Mumbai
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India 400038
Phone 022-22615264, 022-30225260
Mon – Sat: 11:30 am – 3:30 pm

(Can get very busy so worth booking ahead.)