Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bhelcome Bandra

No, this post is not about having Bhel in Bandra, but the two new places in Bandra (not counting the home deliveries) that have not disappointed at all. But apart from my liking the food, there is very little the two places have in common.

Bembo’s is a Burger place on S.V.Road, more towards Khar, which is a South American chain apparently. Now I don’t know how South Americans make their burgers, but these guys are pretty good. Though I have a lot of McBurgers of various kinds, I stopped liking the place after they discontinued their mutton burgers and the Maharaja Mac became a Chicken Maharaja Mac! Wimpy’s is one place that does have a lamb burger, but the one that opened at Churchgate is very disappointing. The buns are drier than the Pav used in Vada-Pav, and unlike the one at CP in Delhi, these guys don’t put gherkins in their burgers!
Back to Bembo’s. What I have had and what I also recommend is the Argentinean Mutton Burger. The mutton patty is properly grilled and there is a greenish sauce that makes this burger very different. The sauce dispensers also have a Mayo option (I don’t understand why McD doesn’t do that as well). Though the food takes more time than the usual fast food joint, the mutton patties being freshly grilled are juicier and tastier than the standard fast-food fare. The outside seating area is a problem – when it’s not raining, there are lots of flies, and when it’s raining, the employees are more concerned about the fancy retractable tarpaulin type cover than the customers.

The second place is not so fancy, slightly shady according to some, but having an excellent location – I don’t know what the crossing is called, as Lucky is a famous landmark by itself – immediately when one enters Bandra (W) from Mahim on S.V.Road, the first major crossing with the station towards the right and Hill Road towards the left, there is a white building on the left – that’s Lucky Hotel, and beside it is the Restaurant.
The best biryani I have had in Mumbai till now. Most of the places, especially the home delivery options, keep the layers of the biryani intact, and if one has to mix the rice and the curry-ish bit on their own, why not serve it separately?!
At Lucky, they mix it up, at least before serving. Also, the curry-ish bit in biryani is not meant to be a curry, and by mixing it up, one can’t really make that out. The best bit about the biryani here, and perhaps the most neglected by most small eateries, is the quality of the rice and the mutton – I can’t emphasise how much of a difference it makes!
Try the Mutton Dum Biryani and the Phirni. (I’ll suggest the best Phirni I have had in Mumbai later because this post is about Bandra, and that place is not in Bandra.)

(Note to self: 1. There should be some sort of a signature sign-off line, so that I don’t have to write notes to self anymore. 2. I should concentrate on the food bit – the location description sucks!)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Alvida Andheri(e)

Shifted from one Mumbai suburb (Andheri) to another (Bandra).
Andheri (East) wasn't exactly a foodie heaven. The daily fare was generally restricted to two places close to home - Sai Krishna for vegetarian and Sai Punjab for non-vegetarian. There was a Chindian (Chinese food Indian style) shack that I did try with Bhonpu, but not really thanking him for that.
Pepperoni pizzas from Domino's were something we could always fall back upon; a Kebab Corner that was thankfully much better than the Sai restaurants; Pop Tate's for a drink and a steak; a Subway sandwich once in the entire year; and an occasional "family restaurant & bar" - all put together did not go a long way in helping me achieving my target of 150 eateries by June (as I had written here in April)!

Now that I am in Bandra, and armed with the new food guide, I have more places to explore, albeit very expensive ones! But how can I leave Andheri (East) without mentioning my recommendation - Maharaja!
Maharaja is located at the crossing of the Western-Express Highway and Andheri-Kurla Road, and looks like one of the shady restaurant-bars that serve a very different sort of exotic fare after nightfall. But the food is fantastic! Coastal cuisine with appams, neer dosas and lightly spiced curries, and good service, make up for the location, decor and everything else that goes into a restaurant's rating.
Looks are really deceiving, and I would suggest that you try it out before the Mumbai Metro construction blocks it from not-so-observant eyes.