This little cafe in Bandra, Mumbai is a hidden gem. Gostana owned by Arpana Gvalani maybe tucked behind a regular building but once you discover this place you’re sure to be a regular there, not just for their delicious yet healthy burgers but also for the warm and friendly ambiance AND if you are a Beatles fan then definitely for George Harrison’s electric guitar which is on display there!
Gostana specialises in burgers and is one cafe where the taste and quality of the food served has been consistent over the years. HotFridayTalks.com spoke to Arpana and she said, “That’s because we have a centralised kitchen and everything comes from there in portions. All the recipes are standard from day one. Even five years later, our portion size will be the same. At Gostana we only assemble everything. Our burgers are healthy since they are either whole wheat or multigrain and they’re steamed and not fried and greasy.”
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Being a huge George Harrison fan, Arpana also decided to name one of the burgers after George. The filling of this burger called George is made of seven pulses and is very popular among the regulars at the cafe. Arpana says,”The new menu post the renovation is going to be crisp and our main dishes will of course, be burgers and hummus for which Gostana is also known. Even the Israeli’s get the hummus packed from Gostana and that’s such an honor.”
I ask Arpana the story behind how George Harrison’s electric guitar landed up at Gostana.”Around the 60’s and 70’s when George Harrison would visit Mumbai to learn the sitar from Pandit Ravi Shankar who was staying at Pali Hill. George did not want to be noticed by people and wanted to stay away from public eyes, so he preferred to stay in a smaller non-celebrity-type of a hotel. Hotel Oscar ( known as Shatranj today) was perfect since it was close to Pali Hill. Just across the restaurant, is Padamsee House where my friend’s grandfather, Ismail Padamsee lived and when he got to know that George Harrison was staying there, he invited him over for tea and George loved it so much, he went to the Padamsee house everyday while he stayed in Mumbai and when he was leaving, he wanted to gift him something. George is known for gifting Ukuleles, but on this trip, he had just two guitars; one was an acoustic and one an electric. He gifted the acoustic guitar to someone he used to jam with and he gave the electric guitar to my friend’s grandfather as a token of appreciation. My friend’s grandfather knew that I was a huge George Harrison fan so he gifted it to me and it is proudly displayed at Gostana,” shares Arpana.
Image Credit: Arpana Gvalani
Gostana in the earlier days had only about three tables and one-floor seating and later they increased their seating space with collapsible tables as their popularity and patrons increased. The cafe was also known for being pet-friendly and people were often welcomed by Arpana’s pet dog Zizou.”Over a year now we have stopped being pet-friendly as my dog is almost 9 years old now and unwell,” Arpana tells us. Gostana is a favorite with many celebrities too among them Freida Pinto was one celebrity who used to be a regular.
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At the moment the cafe is under renovation and will be ready and open soon in a week’s time. Speaking to HotFridayTalks.com Arpana who is enjoying a much-needed break said, “We’re renovating the cafe to make a larger space for the events we host regularly.”
If you’re a music lover and burger is what you dig, Gostana is just the right place for you to go to.