The Mobile Way of Life

It’s 8 a.m. – you’re on your way to work
10 a.m. – you’ve decided to take a coffee break
1.30 p.m. – you’re taking a little break after lunch
7 p.m. – you’re on your way back home. Maybe you’ve chosen to take the train
11 p.m. – you’re in bed

In all of the above scenarios, what is the one thing that remains common? Not surprisingly enough, it’s your mobile phone! Whether you’re on your way to work, taking a coffee break, taking a lunch break, on your way back from work, or in bed getting ready to end the day, you are incessantly checking your phone.

With our ever fast, ever on the move generation, mobile phones have found a place in lives as our constant companions. Whether you’re checking your social media, emails or even surfing the web, it’s all happening in the palm of your hand. You no longer have time for the desktop. This, my readers is the reason why companies are now focusing more on the mobile platform rather than the desktop. Hence, this outburst of apps on every app store available.

The obvious reason for this is of course is the convenience of a mobile phone. It began with surfing websites through mobile devices. However, websites had to renovate themselves in order to become mobile friendly. The next step was the development of apps for these sites allowing users to deal with a friendlier interface. Statistics too support the theory that 89% of mobile users spend more time on apps over websites (Nielsen).

Mobile marketers are trying to give customers as personalized an experience as possible. The key challenge here however is to remember that there is a fine line between personalization and intrusion. Tailor-made experiences should be derived from past shopping patterns, search history, etc. Other trends also include, but are not limited, to mobile email marketing. This proactive strategy is designed to send consumers product offers depending on their shopping behaviour rather than waiting for them to log onto the company website. For example, in the case of groceries, instead of waiting for the customer to log onto the website each month, the company sends them an email a week before the due date with product offers, depending on the items that had been selected in last month’s basket. Consider this – the lady of the house is on the move and the grocery store she shops with has a great, friendly, app that allows her, her preferred items on the go, without her having to worry about getting access to a computer and logging onto the website when she returns home at the end of the day. A win-win situation for both.

In a not so surprising turn of events, e-commerce giants like Myntra.com have decided to shut their website operations, depending now only on personalization through the mobile platform. They owe 80% of their sales through this platform since ‘fashion shopping is quite impulsive’. Their app has a great interface, with looks decoded by occasions, international fashion, current trends, DIYs, audio/visual help, stylist picks, celebrity styles, etc. In my opinion, what more does one need?

Taking into account personal experiences, I started off being a weary user of online shopping, but of course, the idea of having clothing and accessories delivered to your doorstep soon changed everything 😉 My personal favorite is swiping through apps on the go and filling my shopping basket with all the things I love. This includes mainly bake ware and hygiene products like heavenly smelling lotions.

On another note, it’s rather interesting how just about everyone has an ‘idea for an app’ and believes that something small can maybe go viral someday and why not? A few days ago I was having a conversation with a home baker and when I told her I worked in the IT sector, her face suddenly lit up. She wanted to know if I could develop an app for her. She pointed out that the demand for her cakes was huge and her desktop website couldn’t possibly do what a personalized app could.

Overall, with the influx of apps, the frenzy that is social media, and the convenience of the mobile phone, an increasing number of consumers are expecting companies to curate content directed intentionally towards them, making the mobile experience personal, albeit, taking care of privacy.

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Blogger’s Meet at Harry’s Bar & Café Fun Republic

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Great company – ✓
Excellent music – ✓
Decent food and alcohol – ✓

What more does one need for a Friday night? The newly opened Harry’s Bar & Café at Fun Republic (Andheri) part of the chain started not so long ago by Jim Gelpi (along with 13 of his friends) in the year 1992 is a quaint place to spend an evening after a long day’s work. Besides, well-priced alcohol and food are hardly an offer to refuse. The infamous Chef Vicky Ratnani and the Food Bloggers Association of India (FBAI) came together to give us bloggers a fun evening at Harry’s.

On the (vegetarian) menu, were stuffed mushrooms, Vietnamese spring rolls, nachos, cottage cheese in Moroccan spices, marinated olives and feta in a jar, wasabi cottage cheese squares, Thai curry and crispy potatoes.

My personal favourites were the Ratatouille stuffed mushrooms caps – delectable, juicy, and incredibly tender, and the wasabi cottage cheese squares. Normally I shy away from wasabi considering it can get a tad spicy, but this dish brought together the texture of the cottage cheese and the wasabi beautifully. This item is a must have. Crispy chilli potatoes are always a delight for anyone that enjoys the taste of so called ‘Desi Chinese’ food. The nachos unfortunately were a huge let down. Served cold and all mushy, I’m not so sure that the refried beans were too fresh either.. or at the way they tasted told me so. If there’s one restaurant that does great nachos, that has to be Sanchos. Not to digress, but in case anybody was wondering 🙂 The Vietnamese spring rolls were raw cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts (I think) and toasted peanuts, wrapped in rice paper served with a soy chilli sauce. I’d like to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt that it probably wasn’t served to me at the right temperature, but these didn’t do anything for me. It’s a great, healthy dish, and I’m a sucker for soy chilli sauce, but somehow this just seemed to lack flavour, despite the chilli sauce. The cottage cheese with Moroccan spices didn’t seem to do much for me either. It was an overdose of spices. The Thai curry was served last and brought a smile back to my face. Served at the perfect temperature, this was a delight. The marinated olives and feta in a jar kept me great company as I waited for the next dish to arrive.

With so many new additions to Mumbai’s nightlife circuit, Harry’s definitely stands out owing to their pricing and great vibes, so this one is definitely worth a visit.

Restaurant Review: The Bombay Canteen

Address: Kamala Mills, Lower Parel
Tel: + 91 22 49666666
Reservations: Recommended
Open Tuesday through Sunday and currently closed on Mondays
Timings: 12 noon to 1am
Lunch: average meal for 2 without alcohol: Rs.800; with alcohol: Rs.1,100
Dinner: average meal for 2 without alcohol: Rs.1,600; with alcohol: Rs.2,400
(excluding taxes)

Located in a corner of Kamla Mills, The Bombay Canteen is everything Indian with a twist, quite a twist if I may say so. I was one of the food bloggers invited to a preview of the lunch menu introduced by the restaurant and I’m really glad that I got to be one of the lucky few.

CEO Sameer Seth and COO Yash Bhanage greeted us warmly and took us through a little tour of what was previously a bungalow. Blending together Indian and modern décor perfectly, I fell in love with the old school tiles and open kitchen.

Lunch (for me) started with a deliciously prepared hot toddy as a relief for my sore throat. Thoroughly infused with honey, cardamom and cinnamon sticks, this was much needed. My fellow bloggers had the opportunity of picking a drink off the menu, but that gives me a good enough reason to visit the restaurant again ;). Every item on the menu is an amalgamation of Indian flavours and classic cocktails like the Jugaad (bourbon, rose tincture and fresh, tart pomegranate juice) or the Rim Zhim Masala Soda. For my non-drinkers, the Passion Fruit & Star Anise Iced Tea was pretty popular on the table.

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Here’s all that I tried and boy did I eat!

We were served the methi & arugula salad, pumpkin & paneer seekh kebabs with a mooli, apple & walnut raita, Kutchi dabeli, spicy sabzi paratha roll, Tamil ‘Kothu Roti’, multi grain khichdi, and the hero of the afternoon, vegetarian Canteen Tiffin box. And this is only the vegetarian stuff!

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I was a tad bit sceptical about the methi and arugula salad, but Chef Thomas has brought in all the flavours and textures brilliantly. This one is a MUST HAVE. The pumpkin and paneer seekh kebabs were an absolute melting moment. The raita especially, was refreshing on a hot summer day. The Kutchi dabeli unfortunately was a bit of a let down since I’ve eaten the ones on the streets of Gujarat, but the parathas made up for it. They were served with a side of incredibly fresh salad as well. Big thumbs up. The Tamil Kothu Roti was delicious, with roasted cauliflowers, disco pumpkin and coconut gravy. It’s also served with a single fried egg but that’s optional. The multi grain khichdi was a bit of a let down because it sounded extremely healthy but was served with quite the tadka of ghee. Good on taste though, nonetheless. By this time I could not eat a morsel further, however when the hero, the Canteen Tiffin box was served I could not hold myself back. It is served with a side, salad and a sweet dish. There are mustard chicken curry, Kerala egg roast and sprouted bean and paneer bhurji options. DELISH!

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I promised myself at this point that I would not eye the desserts to say the least but all my sweet teeth gave in! You cannot leave the restaurant without trying the old monk gulab jamun. I only wish it was served slightly hotter. I’m not a fan of anything rose flavoured so falooda was out of the question. The masala chai popsicles were an interesting take on chai and the guava tan-ta-tan (puff pastry with chilli ice cream) was a little too spicy for my taste. I can’t handle spicy food but if you can, then this must be tried.

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There’s absolutely no doubt that I will be back at the restaurant especially since I’ve been told the vibe is much better at night. Tasteful interiors, top quality food and friendly service make The Bombay Canteen a must visit on my list of Mumbai’s top spots.