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Mumbai’s iconic Gaylord gets a makeover

The 67-year-old fine-dining restaurant blends heritage and legacy with its new interiors and its classic dishes.

At a time with new restaurants mushrooming in Mumbai and with endless debates on which place has better food, service, and décor, very few restaurants fall into only one side of the discussion—the good one. At a time when most restaurants are not able to sustain themselves for long periods, Gaylord in Churchgate, has managed to do so for over 60 years! From 1956 to 2024; Gaylord has garnered itself the title of a legacy restaurant by being the go-to spot for celebrities such as Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandit Ravi Shankar, and many more.

To imagine sitting in this restaurant which has been graced by the presence of such people, and a place that has been serving food for the past 67 years is truly an exciting feeling. But it is not the same Gaylord as before. After decades, the outdoor patio and the indoor space went under renovation to reveal a Gaylord 2.0! Entering the revamped Gaylord was like watching your parents enter the social media world for the first time and slowly falling in love with it. 

It wasn’t my first time visiting Gaylord. The bakery has been my go-to place for years but it was my first time at the mezzanine floor. To add to my experience, managing director, Sunil Lamba, the second-generation owner of this legendary place sat on the same table. We chatted about the weather, social media influencers, and his favourite restaurants to eat at when in the Maximum City. (P.S: Americano is one of them).

A new avatar

The last time this almost 70-year-old restaurant underwent renovation was in the ’80s. “Gaylord’s revamp wasn’t just about a fresh coat of paint,” say Dhruv and Divij Lamba, the third-generation owners of Gaylord. “It was a thoughtful journey to embrace the future while staying true to our roots,” they add. The renovation came after they noticed a shift in the city’s demographics, with the younger generation seeking new experiences.


Photos: Gaylord

The golden hue that adorned Gaylord until last year is now replaced with sleek black and white-themed interiors. A floor-to-ceiling glass façade creates a look of opulence and grandeur paired with quintessential art décor arches, sparkling gold accents, old black and white photos, and other artifacts retaining the old-world charm it is known for. The mezzanine floor boasts a plush bar with red couches, giving the space a modern, chic look. The upstairs section also provides a panoramic aerial view of the newly renovated space. The alfresco area has a new look with its Parisian-chic aesthetic. Delhi’s Highlight Studio is the firm behind this new look of the iconic restaurant.

The walls are lined with 150+ black and white photographs by renowned photographer Madan Mahatta and are a testament to Gaylord’s rich legacy.

Anyone who has visited Gaylord in the past year must have noticed that half of the space is under renovation. “The renovation went on in phases where we did one section and the other section was functional and vice versa,” confirm Dhruv and Divij. General Manager, Noel D’Souza, who has worked with all three generations adds that they were unable to shut down the restaurant even for renovation because diners kept coming. The renovation work took almost a year and started last April, D’Souza tells us.

Tracing the legacy

Started in 1956 by Pishori Lal Lamba and Iqbal Ghai, Gaylord derived its name by combining the last names—Ghai and Lamba. Gaylord came much later for the two Delhi-based food entrepreneurs who were the force behind the capital’s popular spot—Kwality Restaurant—at Connaught Place in 1947. Among the photo frames at present-day Gaylord, one can even spot a picture of Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi at Delhi’s Kwality enjoying their famous ice cream.

During a conversation with Sunil Lamba, when he joined us at the table, he fondly recalled how Gaylord had expanded to almost 14 countries back in the day. Gaylord could be found even in Japan but the London one was where George Harrison of The Beatles frequented. Eventually, these franchises were sold or shut down over time.


Photos: Gaylord

However, Gaylord in Mumbai is also not short of creating history. Besides the famous faces being regulars at the restaurant, Gaylord has carved a special place in the hearts of Mumbaikars for being a place for family gatherings, dates, and even business meetings. But that is not all, think live jazz music and ballroom dancing during the era of jazz in Mumbai during weekends at this legendary establishment.

Gaylord 2.0 is upholding this with a grand piano, which is very hard to miss when you enter the restaurant. “We will have performances every evening from 7:30 pm onwards,” add the third-generation owners. “We are planning special themed nights with other instruments such as bass and saxophone soon.”

Staying relevant for almost 70 years

With more and more restaurants focusing on creating an “Instagrammable” décor, we wondered if that was something the team kept in mind. “We definitely considered the “Instagrammable” factor!” exclaim the owners. “We wanted the new Gaylord to be a visually stunning space that people would love to share with their friends and followers. But for us, it wasn’t just about aesthetics. The design elements have a story to tell, reflecting Gaylord’s long history and heritage. It’s a space that captures the eye and sparks conversation,” add Divij and Dhruv. However, they admit that they see the rise of these “Instagrammable” places as an “opportunity to innovate and keep things fresh.”

“On the cusp of completing 70 years,” says Sunil, the second-generation owner, “Gaylord has been in the fabric of Mumbai’s glorious history and culture for three generations,” he says. “The mantra for our success and longevity is consistency, commitment to staying relevant,” he says on the night of the media dinner.


Photo: Gaylord

All about food

Besides the baked goods and desserts from the bakery, Gaylord is known for its Indian and Continental cuisine. We started off with a masaledaar soya chaap, followed by a paneer tikka and mushrooms on toast which was the highlight. Helmed by Chef Vikram Abhay Deshmukh, the menu included their timeless classics and new additions as well. The Indian mains included their classics. The Kwality Chana Bhatura was straight from Delhi and a crowd favourite! The bhatura, unlike most places, was light on the stomach and the chana was as authentic as it gets. The Dal Makhni didn’t live up to the hype we had heard but the hidden star of the main course was the Khatte Mithe Baingan. The sweet and tangy brinjal in a semi-liquid style gravy stole the show after the chana bhatura.

After trying the continental mains, we realised why they were classics. The famous Chicken Ala Kiev was the epitome of an old-school dish that Gaylord is known to serve. Soft tender fried chicken with mushroom and cheese was complimented with rice and perfectly grilled and sauteed veggies. Another dish that Gaylord has maintained all these years is the Vegetable Au Gratin. Perfectly baked, cheesy, and flavourful veggies – no complaints!


Photos: Gaylord

We ended the meal with the classic Caramel Custard and a Tiramisu which had a slightly chocolate-y taste than what we are used to.