Not the guide book: Anjali Joseph’s favourite places in Paris, London and Bombay

• Jun 8, 2012 • Tags: , , ,

The writer of Another Country, whose protagonist Leela lives in each of these cities in turn, talks about some of her favourite places to visit or eat and drink in each…

Another Country is out now, and is the superb second novel from the author of the multiple-award winning Saraswati Park.

Paris, London, Bombay: three cities form a backdrop to a journey through Leela’s twenties at the dawn of the new millennium, as she learns to negotiate the world, work, relationships and sex, and find some measure of authenticity. Sharp, funny, and melancholy, Another Country brings a cool eye to friendship, love, and the idea of belonging in its movements through old and new worlds. As with her debut, Saraswati Park, Anjali Joseph’s beautiful, clear writing captures exactly both emotions and surroundings…

 Some PARIS cafés for dawdling

L’Apparemment Cafe – 18, rue des Coutures Saint-Gervais, Paris 75003

This spacious, pleasingly dim cafe in the heart of the Maris, near the Musée Picasso, has comfortable armchairs, delicious and enormous salads, and you can play chess and other board games, read a book, sip a kir or a coffee, or chat with a friend. It’s located on a street so small that its name doesn’t fit into the street on the map, but it’s just off the rue Vieille du Temple, one of the arteries of the trendy Marais.

Apparemment Café ©L’Internaute Magazine / Yan Callier

Café de l’Industrie, 16, rue Saint Sabin, Paris 75011

This nice bistro just off the place de la Bastille feels less like a restaurant and more like Captain Haddock’s museum of ethnography, but there’s a great plate of tagliatelle with smoked salmon ribbons and crème fraîche to be had amid the African masks.

La Fourmi Ailée

Not ‘the garlicky ant’, sadly, but ‘the winged ant’. If you haven’t had a mad, slightly esoterically-inclined aunt with an old house, the sort of library that has its own stepladder, and a gallery in it, and who’d also left you a collection of wonderful teas and great cheeses, then you can come here, consume both, and sit looking out on a pleasantly intricate part of the 5th arrondissement, not too far from the rue Saint-Jacques or the place Mouffetard (near the Paris of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast).

Three nice LONDON pubs

The Grapes

Charles Dickens used to stop in here, but don’t let that put you off. The beer isn’t bad and you can sit in a bay window and watch ducks dodge industrial craft on the Thames in historic Limehouse.

The Red Lion, 1 Waverton Street, London W1J 5QN

A tiny pub in Mayfair with an open fire in winter and a cosy feel any time of year.

The Trafalgar Tavern, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NW

This is a lovely place for an evening pint, or a meal near the windows that give onto the river. There are fires in winter, and all year round a lovely feeling of coasting along the water as though in a comfortable ship.

Two places to go in BOMBAY

Banganga

Visitors often find Mumbai overwhelmingly populous, expensive, and loud; this is the antidote. The quiet temple tank at the heart of this little village in Walkeshwar, South Mumbai, dates originally from the 12th century, though it was rebuilt in the 18th. Temples belonging to different communities surround the serene tank, and there are old trees, birds, and the calm of a village temple, just a stone’s throw from the bustle of Marine Drive. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sun go down.

Bhel

Bhel puri, a savoury snack made of fried potato vermicelli, puffed rice, boiled potato, raw onion and a few different, mouthwatering chutneys soaking it all together, is often used as a metaphor for Mumbai, which is itself a conglomerate of multiple heterogenous peoples, activities, styles of architecture, political leanings, and notions. Vithal Bhelwala in Fort is one of the safer places to eat bhel puri – you might also try Swati Snacks, in Tardeo, or Soam, near Banganga, which has a range of delicious vegetarian Gujarati food. The best bhel comes from streetside vendors, and is served in a cone of newsprint, but this is probably best not broached by any visitor with tender digestion.

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