I don’t know about others, but there is something about being in an airport that gives me an acute case of the munchies. It’s probably the pre-emptive dread of being forced to chow down on inedible mulch served under the guise of airline food by canny carriers who cut costs by dishing out hideously unmentionable nosh!
So, on a recent trip to the UAE, when I found myself flying out of our very own Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai, I decided to investigate the myriad dining options fliers flying out of the city can look forward to at the international airport. And I must say, I came away mighty impressed with the results…
Just next to Gate 3, at the west end of the airport terminal building, is the bustling-with-activity kiosk of Coffee & More that serves up a limited, but adequate range of coffees and teas that one can have hot or cold along with the ubiquitous sandwich, samosa and muffin trio at quite reasonable prices. The Celebrations snack bars with their many varieties of potato chips, patties, soft drinks and cake slices are also very popular kiosks that are scattered around the terminal. Average fare at average prices.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf outlet near Gate 7 has all the usual favourites one sees at its many outlets across the city. Here one can sit and browse through the many magazines placed there or make full use of the complimentary Wi-Fi till the flight is announced.
Café CCino near Gate 11 is a smallish counter selling bottled water, pastries, quiches and a neat little selection of coffee and tea infusions.
Still on the coffee shop trail, the neighbourhood of Gate 14 sees Café Coffee Dayestablish its presence with an outlet done up in dark wood with comfortable seating, offering an extensive array of CCD regulars on the menu, including those cute and surprisingly filling mango, strawberry and chocolate mousses in shot glasses all for a mere Rs 20 each.
For those in the need for libations more potent that coffee, I’d suggest a saunter down to Gate 10 where the Noir Bar will soothe all those pre-flight jitters with a range of desi and international beers, spirits and wines along with nibbles.
A little further down, next to Gate 13, one can get lucky at The Martini Bar that serves up an array of stylish cocktails in a setting that is straight out of a sci-fi movie with its fluorescent lighting and chrome bar stools.
Desi khana fans can get their final fix of Indian food before they fly off to foreign lands at the Spice Bazaar Bar & Indian Café near Gate 9 that will placate all those tough-to-get-rid-off 3am rajma-chawal cravings. When I was there, they had a very good Indian buffet breakfast deal on for Rs 249.
But for a lighter option, there is always the choice of either a hot dog at the Hog Dog kiosk or some steamy corn in a cup at the Hot & Juicy kiosk both of which are side by side and next to Gate 11.
When really hungry, you can never go wrong with a good old sandwich. And the perfect spot for some bread-cheese-meat-veggies action is the Subway counter near Gate 8. Coming in a close second is the Swich outlet near Gate 6 that claims to put a healthy spin on the sandwich.
Last but certainly not the least, the airport’s official food court Food Boulevard, between Gates 7 and 11 has a smorgasbord of yumminess on offer, from the fried chicken at KFC to oriental wonders at Noodle Wok to idlis at idli.com and from chaat at Chaat Wala to pizzas at PHD or Pizza Hut Delivery. Curry Kitchen too at the boulevard is a superb place for combo meals dishing out both veggie and meaty options.
And for a sweet ending, I’d like to suggest a detour to either of the two Brijwasi Sweets kiosks near Gates 3 and 7 for some yummy sohan halwa and other goodies that you can even have packed up for your onward flight, lest you’ve got to put up with a boring and tasteless piece of stale fruit cake up in the sky!
All pics by Raul Dias