A much needed break from Mumbai city was required and hence we decided to make our way to the beautiful hill station of Mahableshwar. We booked our stay at Club Mahindra in March and headed out for 4 days. Since the last stretch of the drive is up hill it takes about 4-5 hours to reach this gorgeous hill station. The best way to reach Mahabaleshwar is by either car or bus but I recommend traveling by car as it give you the freedom to move around city at your convenience. Mahabaleshwar is a hill station famous for strawberries.
We started off at about 8am from Mumbai and on the way stopped off at the the food court just after the expressway toll booth. After fueling up make your way to the back where the food court has delicious Mahararashtrian food and is relatively empty.
Since it was breakfast time we had the usual vada pav, missal and poha along with black tea. The food is typical Mahararashtrian fare and delicious. I would recommend you try it all.
On the way into Mahabaleshwar we stopped off at Mapro Strawberry Farms. Just outside the farm there are vendors selling gorgeous strawberries, baby carrots, raddish and rasberries. You should stock up on all these on your way back home.
Mapro has a product section where you can buy all the stuff that they make right there. Chocolates, jam, syrups, fruit jellies, honey and anything strawberry. We picked up whole strawberry crush, honey and some mixers for our drinks.
Since it was lunch time, we ate there. Please note that Mapro is completely vegetarian but the food is delicious. They have wood fire pizzas and lip smacking sandwiches. But the best thing by far is the strawberries and cream. A tall glass is filled with a scoop of house made strawberry ice-cream, a layer of whipped cream, a layer of strawberries, some more whipped cream and a topping of strawberry crush. I just died and woke up in heaven.
The Stay – Club Mahindra
We stayed at the Club Mahindra property. Since it is alittle away from the main market area and surrounded by greenery it is much cooler here. Infact we needed sweaters is March!. The property is huge. They have a swiming pool and a large activity area which houses a pool table, carrom, table tennis, archery, badminton and alot more. They also have a spa which we used each day we were there. Infact on the last day we checked out late because we got held up at the spa (:)
The rooms are quite large and have their own balconies.
I have stayed in alot of Mahindra properties and this by far has the best food.
Walk around the property and you bump into monkeys and little strawberries growing everywhere 👇
An Evening at Venna Lake
In the evening make your way to Venna Lake. You can ride paddle boats on the lake (my legs were not strong enough to paddle for an hour hence we skipped this part), play the slot machines, shoot some balloons and gamble for fun. They also have a small amusement park (really small) which is mostly for kids
There are numerous stalls where you can grab a bite to eat. Do try their corn pattice and strawberry & cream while you play the slots there
Brightlands has a beautiful property on a higher level. Do stay here if you can as their rooms overlook the valley. We headed to their bar called “Olive Garden” for drinks and dinner post our little gambling session at Venna Lake.
They have a really nice bar which is full glass and from where you have a breathtaking view. The chinese and continental food is very good. They also have an Italian restaurant which serves buffet meal or a la carte.
This is an absolute gem in Mahabaleshwar and you should not miss eating here at any cost. Raiomand -the owner and chef, runs this quaint restaurant and the food is 💯 👍👍👍.
We loved the food so much that we ate lunch and went back for dinner the same day. The owner is a Parsi so there is no doubt that the Parsi food is fantastic but the other food on the menu is even better. The day we went we got lucky as he had just got a delivery of soft-shell crabs. We had the hakka noodles and soft-shell crabs in chilly garlic sauce. The crabs were fresh, sweet and cooked till crispy. We ordered the lamb shanks too which were falling of the bone. This was served with mashed potatoes and a side salad. The portions are substantial for 2 people.
We saw alot of tables ordering the burger. It looked massive and the husband and me decided to come back to Mahabaleshwar another time.
Down the lane from The Grapevine is the local market. You can buy really pretty Kolhapuri chappals for Rs 300/ pair, eat pakoras at Bageecha restaurant (this is also quite famous), buy strawberries, rasberries, black channa (gram) and generally stroll about and pop your inquisitive nose into all the shops…. that’s what I did 😄.
Next to Mapro Farms is the cheese factory. You can take a tour of the process, sample and buy cheese and even eat some food here. I cannot speak about the food as we were there mainly for the cheese. We picked up the garlic cheese spread (after tasting) as it was unlike any cheese i have had. It was really super delicious. They also have a bakery where we bought really fresh… as in straight outta the oven…. Shrewsbury biscuits and strawberry cake. I know that Pune is home to Shrewsbury biscuits and some of you must be thinking I am crazy to buy this from here, but i’m glad I did. I had them the next day during tea time and these biscuits were light, buttery and delicious…even better than Pune. So if you stop off here do buy them and let me know what you think.
Happy Traveating! (Travel + eating)