Mumbai is a city of dreams – they say and frankly for a foodie like me, that holds true. Maybe the competition is so high here, or let me put in this was, there are so many restaurants, that either you are good or you die- it’s a super cut-throat competitive world. So, it was a short stay for me here and after work, all I did was to find places (my friends helped a lot in that) and eat around mumbai food. I was staying with Lalit Mumbai on this trip and as every five star goes, they are impeccable in their service. Thanks a lot team Lalit.
So, there is this place called Razzberry Rhinoceros. Yes, please don’t laugh, I am not drunk. Located beside the majestic J W Marriott, juhu, this is the restaurant inside a strange hotel called juhu Hotel. The hotel, maybe good actually, but on the face value, looked kinda dark and shady and while we entered the place cursing the referring friend, after that long winding alley, came one of the best located restaurants I’ve ever been in a long, long time. It’s bang on the Juhu Beach and with a nice lawn. Maybe due to the rain, the open air area was closed, but nonetheless, we chose the first row. Let me warn you, it’s not a typical mumbai food joint, but more of a swanky cafe cum lounge.
Frankly, we were bowled out by the view and didn’t expect the food to be something great. And, as it was a late afternoon, so, the food choices were pretty limited, But trust me, I don’t know what came upon us, we ordered Mojito for everybody and that was the sexiest looking mojito I’ve ever tasted in my life. Much to the surprise of the waiter, we’ve ordered Kulcha platter along with it. The waiter was hell bent on stopping us from the same … (“saab, woh toh pura sukha hai, aap dono kha nahin payenge”), but when did we listen to advise ? Surprisingly, The kulchas were pretty decent- nothing great, but with the chutney served along-with, they can be had as a stand alone dish.
And as we didn’t plan to leave the place soon and for that, something needed to be ordered. Somebody told me once, that whenever confusion arises, go for the biryani and same thing happened here. We ordered for the Gosht Hyderabadi Biryani and what came was good. Now whether that’s authentic or not, is a debatable issue. But the biryani was good in taste and one portion (with 4 large meat pieces) was good for two hungry souls. The surprise element was the salan that came along with. It was fully loaded with those harmless fat green chillies (just like me at this age) and was damn good, with no potato problem (pun intended) off course.
Now, surprise was awaiting for us over dinner. our good friend Yummraj had promised us to take to some place in the famous Bohri Mohalla in mumbai and who could’ve been better than him in this matter ? He sent us the link for a place called Surti 12 Handi. It was located at Vahanwati chawl, Saifee Jubilee Street, 2nd lane between M S Ali road and Khara tank road. The place is running for some 80+ years by a bohri muslim family with the same cooking style and is strictly strictly non-veg. Where we went, is a make-shift arrangement and they’ll be back to their original position after the building, where they originally were, is made.
Now, coming to the concept, 9 handis with different gravies were placed in one big elevated bhatti and fire in there continuously below them. With one small hook, the fire is getting positioned under different handis. It’s basically a slow cooking method where each dish takes a minimum of 8-10 hours of cooking and only chhota (mutton) and bara (beef) are made. Even rotis are purchased from a nearby shop.
Like all masters, Gulam Mustafa ji doesn’t believe in too many items. There are only 6 dishes with just one variation- with or without Nalli. Here, by nalli, they meant the bone marrow and not the nalli piece we are used to. So, whatever we ordered, meat was put in the plate, that specific gravy was poured on it, some rogun (heated cooked oil) was poured on top and you’re good to go. The rotis were huge and fully covered the plates they were served on. Regarding service, there is only one boy who was serving, and trust me, we pissed him off royally by asking one dish at a time, repeatedly. As the dishes are mostly made for breakfast, they’re very less spiced and I felt, a sprinkling of salt might enhance the taste. I’d suggest, go for the picchota and bhel. Picchota is the ass-portion of the animal and was literally the showstopper, while bhel was a mixup of whatever was there on the menu. You can easily skip the rest and won’t regret.
More than the taste, the experience is something that I’ll cherish here for a long long time. Being a bong, how could we miss the iconic Taj Ice-cream parlor in that same vicinity. They’re a 130+ year old ice-cream parlor and they still follow the same process. Frsh fruits are used with hand churned milk and that makes all the difference.
Though we were served around 9 flavors including chikoo, guava, mango …… my personal favorite was the pineapple one and the dry fruits and chocolate version. Lychee was also good, but these two were simply divine. Pocket pinch was not much, but the experience was mindblowing. And let me tell you, I am starting to love Mumbai food.
Another day was left for me in the city of dreams and somehow I had a vibe that it won;t disappoint me and I am sure that my friends will come out with even better options.
Bon apetit !!!
Comments and critics welcome.
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