Mumbai’s iconic restaurant Gaylord gets a makeover

Gaylord, the iconic 67-year-old restaurant in Mumbai, gets an upgrade — its interiors tell tales of its star-studded legacy and the menu has been updated with 15 new dishes

Updated - May 13, 2024 12:25 pm IST

Published - May 10, 2024 02:36 pm IST

  • Restaurant Gaylord
  • Cuisine Continental
  • Cost ₹₹₹₹
  • Address SEE MAP
The revamped Gaylord

The revamped Gaylord | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Mumbai’s vibrant culinary scene, dotted with new restaurants, Instagram-friendly dishes and trendy pop-ups, could not steal the thunder of Gaylord, a 67-year-old restaurant located in Churchgate. Unlike many iconic restaurants in the city, which are considered touristy, Gaylord commands attention for its delicious food, affable staff and convivial atmosphere. Its nostalgic charm has not just allowed it to survive in the business of hospitality, but also made it prosper. Dhruv Lamba, the third-generation owner of Gaylord, says, “We hadn’t renovated in nearly 40 years. So the idea was to elevate the space with modern offerings while keeping its legacy and history intact. We want the current generation that used to come with their father and grandfather to Gaylord, to now visit with their friends.”

Gaylord in Mumbai gets a facelift and new menu
Breakfast spread at Gaylord

Breakfast spread at Gaylord | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Grand beginnings

Gaylord was launched in 1956 by Delhi-based Pishori Lal Lamba and Iqbal Ghai, who had also established the Kwality restaurant chain in Delhi in 1947.

Pandit Ravi Shankar and George Harrison at Gaylord 

Pandit Ravi Shankar and George Harrison at Gaylord  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It quickly became the go-to place for Bollywood legends like Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, BR Chopra, Lata Mangeshkar, Rajesh Khanna and Asha Bhosle. While sitar virtuoso Pandit Ravi Shankar conducted most of his meetings here, music director duo Shankar-Jaikishan would visit the restaurant nearly everyday for their evening tea. Interestingly, Gaylord became the venue for most Bollywood castings. “Big-time directors visited the restaurant to hangout and discuss scripts. So, the patio would always be full of Bollywood aspirants hoping to catch the eye of famous directors,” says restaurant general manager Ashley Pires.

Till the early ’80s, Saturday and Sunday mornings at Gaylord were reserved for jazz, with performances by musicians like Ken Cumine, India’s sole jazz violinist, and his daughter, vocalist Sweet Lorraine.

A musical night at Gaylord

A musical night at Gaylord | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

History meets contemporary chic 

The sleek, dark wood and glass dining room festooned with opera style curtains and crystal chandeliers

The sleek, dark wood and glass dining room festooned with opera style curtains and crystal chandeliers | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Gaylord, in its new avatar, is almost unrecognisable. The time-warped (read jaded) interiors have given way to a sleek, dark wood and glass dining room festooned with opera style curtains and crystal chandeliers. Plush booths are decked with ambient lighting, sepia-toned pictures of Mumbai’s landmarks like Gateway of India and Rajabai Clock Tower, and Gaylord regulars (the first man to summit Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay, in 1953, Edmund Hillary, and the lead guitarist of British band The Beatles, George Harrison). A saxophonist serenades guests with jazz classics while a pianist matches his tunes. There is also a bar with rattan chairs.

The revamped Gaylord

The revamped Gaylord | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Along with the décor, Gaylord’s menu too got an upgrade with 15 new dishes being added. Old favourites, like chicken ala kiev, prawn cocktail, vegetable au gratin, chicken cecilia, Kwality chana batura and dal sukhi, now sit in the company of newcomers like kasturi kabab, Lucknowi galouti, khatte meethe baingan, Japanese egg sandwich, Caesar salad, mushroom cappuccino and others.

Testing the taste

Lamb chops and other kababs

Lamb chops and other kababs | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Masala lamb chops, a new starter, , has four chunky chops marinated in ginger and garlic. Grilled to perfection, the meat falls off the bone with the gentlest of prodding. Half a lime adds acidity, whereas coriander brings fresh aromatics to the party.

Lobster Thermidor 

Lobster Thermidor  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The first thing you want to do when the lobster thermidor arrives is post the beauty on Instagram. Dressed in a decadent cream sauce and baked in its own shell, the succulent crustacean is showered with dainty nasturtium flowers and some good, crusty bread to mop up all that delicious sauce at the bottom of the plate. After the palate-tickling foreplay, come the full-blooded flavours of the Rampuri taarghosht. This Awadhi specialty of slow-cooked mutton blanketed in a rich gravy hits 9.9 on the umami scale. Liquid pleasures come in the form of refreshing gin and tonic and smoked bourbons. 

Rampuri taar ghosht

Rampuri taar ghosht | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The menu also roams Italy and France withpasta and buttery pomfret meuniere. However, you cannot come to Gaylord and not give in to the chicken ala kiev — a continental classic that the restaurant is best known for. Happy to report that the deep-fried fillet of chicken still detonates with a gush of melted cheese when pierced with a fork or knife. Despite being stuffed, it is impossible to leave even a morsel of the judiciously sweetened custard, which comes in a lake of caramel sauce.

Chicken ala kiev

Chicken ala kiev | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The service is still laid-back but on point — it’s peppered with the comfort of familiarity. And while new experiences are great, old things can be so much more comforting, as long as they are done with commitment and panache.

Smoked bourbon in Royal Mysore cocktail

Smoked bourbon in Royal Mysore cocktail | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A meal for two costs ₹2,200 without alcohol and ₹3,000 with alcohol at Gaylord, located Mayfair Building, V N Rd, Churchgate, Mumbai. For reservations, call 8657280340.

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