New Diamond Café, Pahad Ganj

Somewhere on the Main Bazaar Street of Pahad Ganj, between Sang Trashan Marg and Chitragupta Road, is a dingy eatery called New Diamond Café. The narrow entrance is easy to miss if you don’t know it exists; I would have ignored it as well, had it not been for billing counter that sits neatly at the edge of the road, and the stack of menus parked precisely along the periphery. And anybody who evinces a slight interest in the petite joint is thrust with a carte du jour, one look at which will be enough to get hungry stomachs inside.

The restaurant is divided into two parts with a glass partition separating the smoking section from the air-conditioned regular section, which also doubles as a shop with an assortment of junk jewelry on display. A make-shift bench with stacks of CDs and a music player sits in front of the billing counter overlooking the street, and the constant cacophony of the chaos on the Main Bazaar dissolves into nothingness with the soothing sounds of classical and yogic tracks being played over and over again.

It offers a variety of international cuisines and has a respectable choice of dishes under each selection on the menu. I ordered the Pizza Marinara, a cheese base with mushrooms and dollops of olive oil, and a bottle of Carlsberg. This was followed by a mushroom hummus and locally baked pita bread, a consequence of my desire to defy gastronomic propriety. And despite my obvious disrespect for fine dining science, both the preparations were exquisite and appeasing.

With a cheap paperback, some beer, and a few cigarettes, the waiting time will not bother you. The restaurant is run by a certain Mr. Sharma, a jolly fellow with a warm and welcoming demeanor, who claims that his place is recommended by Lonely Planet.

Sitting on a wooden bench at an obscure café in Pahad Ganj, I found the peace that I never could in Mumbai. And if a quiet evening meal without the distractions of companionship is what you want, try New Diamond!

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