Restaurant Review – Bombay Canteen
I was planning to try out this new eatery for quite some time but due to various reasons could not end up visiting it. Tried reserving a table on phone but was not lucky. I was told they are sold out but I could walk in and try my luck.
Trying luck is not out of place, me and my friend walked in without a reservation into the pleasant interiors of Bombay Canteen restaurant located at Kamla Mills Compound, Lower Parel. Quite a no nonsense kind of modern décor, not to miss the well garlanded, predominantly pink bicycle kept on its doorway. The receptionist waitlisted me and suggested to use the well-stocked bar while we wait.
I thought to myself that this is a fantastic policy by the restaurant. People waiting for a table would order a drink or two before they settle down to their table – the drinks sale certainly can go up. While waiting for my table, I ordered a ginger and basil margarita. One great thing I noticed was, like Tapas bars in Spain, they had tiny plates (costing Rs40) to go with the drinks. Thought what a brilliant idea was that!! Tiny plates of deviled eggs and crisp fried lotus stems. The eggs tasted great but the fried lotus stem (recipe adopted from Thai cuisine but the spices were all Indian and the fusion worked perfectly) were addictive enough to ask for a second and a third.
Looking at the menu I did expect the food to be fusion. While trying out a fusion recipe, the thumb rule is, if it tastes good, it works – howsoever weird the combination may sound.
45 minutes and still no table, decided to eat standing on the Bar table. Ordered the signature dish “Pulled pork taco” (the uniqueness here was the tacos were no normal tacos, they are ‘theplas’), and the famous Nigerian African dish ”Bani pao”. ‘Theplas’ were wonderful. And served with ‘pulled pork’ the slow cooked pork. But I feel pulled pork tastes the best with a soft and bland bread. For me, although both the elements, the thepla and the pulled pork was perfect in their own right, but unfortunately the marriage did not work in Bombay Canteen.
Loved the ” Bani Pao”. It is a huge bread bowl, where the insides of the bread is scooped out to make it hollow. A spicy curry is poured into the bread-bowl. The curry is soaked into the bread and makes a very filling hearty meal. The bani pao here was quite a delight. The accompaniment had farsan, chidwa, vinegar, onions, spring onions, methi leaves. It worked. The farsan gave a nice texture and made it taste ‘desi’. The curry was made with goan sausages, broad beans and hold your breath ‘pui saag’ (a type of green-leaves popular in Bengali cuisine). Fusion in its ultimate form.
I found on the menu some more interesting and weird combinations. ‘Tandoori pork spare-ribs’, and ‘Uncle’s mutton curry with lotus root and lemongrass.’
Just when the main course got over, and all of it standing, a table was offered to us. Hurrah, the fact that we could sit and eat, ordered one more appetizer. That was ‘‘char grilled calamari or squids’. The smoky flavor was excellent but squid was rubbery and the gravy was too salty.
Then to make a sweet ending to our meal, Ordered desserts. I must confess the desserts were one of the best I have had in a long time.
We ordered Guava ‘tan ta tan’. I am sure the inspiration came from the French ‘Tarte-tatin’. This tan-ta-tan was puff pastry tart base with guava, perfectly caramelized, topped with insanely tasty lal-mirch ice-cream. The red chilli hits your throat as you have the creamy ice-cream. Very unusual but very tasty combination.
The second dessert was ‘gulub nut’. The gulab jamun shaped like a donut, deep fried and soaked in old monk rum and sugar solution. Cut and filled with a pistachio cream. The combination was heavenly and totally sinful. It was like you sin and still go to heaven.
The bill for two came up to Rs 4,000. That included the cocktails and a whole lot of food. Not too light on the pocket.
I am going to go back again to try and see whether the other unusual flavor combinations works or not.
Rating on a scale of 10: (i) Ambience: 8; (ii) Food: 8; (iii) Price 7; Overall: 8
(I visited the restaurant anonymous and paid my bills)