MM Mithaiwala (fondly called MM) situated right opposite Malad station has every snack that can be ticked off an epicurean Mumbaikar’s checklist. The stuffing-and-tangy-water-filled panipuris and the lassi with a generous dollop of cream are just two of the must-have items.
Spread across an extensive L-shaped area, along its length and breadth one can find panoply of foodstuffs behind glass shelves glowing under a yellow bulb. From chips, burnt just to the right crisp to salivating desserts, both -- the spice and sweet-loving foodies find common ground here. Teeming with people and bursting with activity, MM is easily one of the most recognizable eateries in the western suburbs. Step in, and the aromas of various delicacies are hard to miss. There are take-away snacks directly available over the counter and those that are whipped up on the spot and can be purchased by redeeming a coupon obtained at the cash counter.
The take-away snacks are presented in great style; meticulously placed on plates, garnished with the right amount of greens and a sprinkling of red. The yellow light above it adds colour to the temptation. After crossing the alley flanked by take-away eats, are counters dishing out various instantly made preparations. Even as one watches, a number of hands cut vegetables, toss them, arrange the puris, slice the bread, grate the cheese and garnish the dish – all like the images in a flipbook. Patrons ‘eat’ the food before eating it. Visually. It is this ability to engage customers that has earned this establishment a marked distinction.
Panipuri and lassi rank highest on the taste and popularity barometers. While the former has an unmistakable tang that stays on the tongue long after consuming it, the latter has just the right flavour and viscosity that titillate the taste buds. MM packs in every slice of the pie called Mumbai – vada pavs, kachoris, samosas, sandwiches, you name it and you will find it here. The dessert roster boasts of an enticing line-up of Bengali delicacies, pedhas, jalebis and malpuas. For all those who love to round up their culinary outings with an ice-cream, a dispenser readily tops brown checkered cones with icy scoops of various flavours. All items are priced between Rs.20 to Rs.200 which is easy on the pocket. Graduating from snacks to meals, is the adjoining restaurant Jalpan – an offshoot of MM. Barely a tenth of the whole area it serves light meals like chole bature and pav bhaji.
The interiors of MM though well-maintained cannot be deemed impressive. They can be summed up as modest. Huge images of foodstuffs adorn the walls and the ceiling is well lit. Long benches line the sides of this outlet. The unseated will have to make do with chest-high eating desks. But what it lacks cosmetically, it more than makes up for in its service. Food served here is fresh and hot. Hygiene and cleanliness find special emphasis here, what with food handlers wearing plastic gloves. The service is quick and with a smile. The place is crowded more often than not. It buzzes with ‘put less better’ demands of the younger generation and ‘add some more cream’ orders of the older generation.
Its location plays a key role in its reputation. While the compulsive foodie will just not miss it, for the uninitiated the blaring megaphones and bright hoardings will do the trick.