Romantic hotspot Bombelli’s at Breach Candy, with its van in the foreground. Picture Courtesy: Anita Bombelli

In the month of Valentine’s Day, here’s a throwback to how the mid-20th century city romanced.

Wooing and wedding changed after Bombay’s inaugural swing show on September 15, 1948. The highlight was Frank Fernand’s original piece, Prabhat, inspired by an audience with Gandhiji. Pacing musicians for genres classic to cabaret, Mickey Correa became the first Indian to form an independent orchestra, roping in Chic Chocolate, George Pacheco, Johnny Baptist, Eddie Tavares and Leslie Weeks.

The young in love hung out at a much-adored cafe. The soaring passions Freddy and Betty Bombelli indulgently witnessed, at both their Breach Candy and Churchgate branches, delighted those Swiss restaurateurs. Propelling plenty of prem kahaanis, Bombelli’s cast a spell over everyone walking in. When its Polish pianist paved the way for a three-piece band, the dance floor livened up with jazzy jiving at packed “jam sessions”. Georgie the singer-pianist, Darryl the guitarist and Philip the drummer made a melodic trio, for bopping collegians who pestered them for request songs.

A veritable haven away from home, Bombelli’s was where lovers locked looks, passed perfumed notes and dared dangerous liaisons distanced from prying parents. It was where my parents celebrated when mum accepted the pater’s proposal. Cheers!


This article has 6 comments

  1. Scheherazade Mody Reply

    I loved both Bombelli’s though the Churchgate one was my favourite. Loved their chocolates, their marzipans and their french fries

  2. Zinnia Khajotia Reply

    So so many fond memories of Bombelli’s for a certain generation! Bunking college to attend the jam sessions at its Churchgate location….being taken on a first date by the childhood sweetheart one went on to marry! And then for ol’ times’ sake having Georgie enliven the gathering at one’s 40th birthday party at what was, the Supper Club! Such good fortune to have enjoyed Beautiful Bom-Bahia in all its glory!!

  3. Aspi Minoo Forbes Reply

    They had the best marzipan not got that taste anywhere after they closed down

  4. Abie khambatta Reply

    Loved Bombelli, Those long tins with chocolate bars & their stakes . The music man @ the piano. What fun celebrating nights filled with love & laughter.Lovrd both the venues. Do miss the old days.

  5. Elizabeth Virkar Reply

    Lovely thank you! I’d almost forgotten about Bombellis. Used to live next door when I was in school and keep peeking from outside to get a glimpse of the beautiful life!

  6. Dilnavaz Variava Reply

    Delightful was the earlier one I read. Thanks Meher for capturing our memories so skilfully!

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