There are days when everyone wants to do something different in life. Some think different, some be different, some want to do something different and people like me well they want to eat something different. That’s because when you’re tired of eating the same spice of life eating out becomes monotonous and we search for something that can satiate not only your hunger but your mind and soul as well. This is when the Bombay canteen comes to your mind. A very Bombay style review coming ahead 🙂
Kaisa Canteen Hai Yeh!!!!!!
The Bombay canteen is known for serving indian food in the form of “chotas” and “badas” with a fusion twist. If you’re a fan of makhanis and masalas then this certainly isn’t the place for you but if you yearn to have Indian food which has flavour, texture and style sans the makhanis and masalas then this is definitely the place to visit. Situated in the heart of lower parel in kamala mills it’s a indian café which serves you great tasting Indian food in a new avatar. I decided to visit this café on a Sunday afternoon and despite reaching by 1pm I had to wait and that’s how the story is in TBC. They always have a never ending wait. You need to go there as early as possible and pray that god gives you a seat at least on the bar counter so that you can shift on to a table later on.
One of the things that were noticeable from the onset of my visit was the service. Despite the waiting the staff was catering to you and recommending food to you which was very good as compared to restos which don’t care about people when they are completely packed. They were smiling, chatting and giving their preferences with detailed description of the stuff on the menu. This makes all the difference for people like me who like to not only eat food in a restaurant but experience the restaurant.One of the advantages of being a staff in such restos is that you get to taste all the awesome stuff which is conjured in the kitchen. 🙂
Vintage Styled Canteen
This is another one of those lower parel joints where the place has been opened in a mill. But despite that the place has been done artistically well. The entire resto has been given a very retro type look with vintage tiles, etched glass, vintage type tables and chairs with the occasional bar tool seating section with the usual industrial ceiling that you find in all the restos that have been opened in a mill. The bar section is pretty loaded too with some funny names for fancy drinks like the “Jhoom Jaam”, “Jugaad” & “Chai Chai Chai” LOL. They really had a sense of humour when creating these names up. Full credits there. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Chotu Ordering Chotas (Chota’s aka Starters)
As I got a table I could see the partially open kitchen from my seat where the chefs were duking it out nonstop in turbo mode. They were spamming “Chotas” like there was no tomorrow. So I decided to get some Chotas for myself. Chotu ordering “Chotas” what irony lol. 🙂
Paanch Saal Kejriwaal (Kejriwal Toast)
Now I really wonder whats up with everyone creating a kejriwal line of egg dishes in their menus but that’s been like the trend these days. From the get go I had thought that I have to order this dish because of all the hype it has created on zomato and with my fellow connoisseurs. The chefs were creating some kejriwals left right and centre. It’s like they would be cooking an egg kejriwal even when they sleep. You can get an entire army of Dharna Kejriwals if u sit here. Jokes apart this dish was simply stellar. It’s the TBC take on the eggs benedict. Consisting of a well toasted bread with a sunny side up egg, cheese and coconut chutney. This chota had all of the ingredients in it to make me join “Aam Aadmi Party”
This is another one of those creations of TBC. It’s the TBC version of tacos. These consisted of 3 soft methi theplas loaded with chettinad chicken and veggies to give it a slightly sour and spicy flavour. The result were some amazing desi tacos. Each bite had the goodness of sublimely soft and spicy chettinad chicken with the tang of the veggies. They were not at all dry as some of the reviews I read on zomato. I am a “Thepla bell” fan in the making
Grilled Dhokla Chaat
This dish consisted of soft and warm dhoklas topped with chutney, kachumber and loads of sev. I honestly felt that the amount of sev in this dish overpowered everything else. It wasn’t a dish I would rave about but it was definitely one of the better dhoklas I had and I haven’t had a lot of dhoklas so I really don’t know.. Confusing isn’t it
What do u call a sev puri served in pure Bombay canteen ishtyle. Well it’s called the Arbi tuk. The puri has been replaced with fried arbi chips and that is topped with spiced dahi, imli chutney and a radish kachumbar. Really neat and different take on the sev puri. The warm arbi chips with the tangy chutney and the spiced dahi was well balanced. Unlike the dhokla this dish didn’t have anything overpowering.
Bada hona hai to Bada Khao (The Bada’s aka Main course)
All done with the chotas we decided to head for the badas. While the chotas were great on taste I was dreading about the size of the portions of the chotas. They were rather miniscule for a guy like me and that is something which did leave me a tad disappointed. The badas are where things start to become bigger and better
Machi ho to aisa (Banana leaf wrapped Roasted Fish)
A perfectly cooked fish is something which can satisfy your soul and when the fish has a stellar south indian curry to match it up in its stature you get a lip smacking and finger licking dish which is this fish curry. The catch of the day today was the Asian Seabass also called “Barramundi” in hindi. The fish was roasted in a banana leaf with south indian spices. As I bit into one chunk of the fish I realized this was the fish curry I was yearning for. The curry had the right amount of spices to go with the seabass. I had it with coconut rice and it was wiped clean in one minute. The staff can also get you extra curry if you feel the curry on the plate by default isn’t enough as it certainly wasn’t for me. If I get curries like this I would love to south indian food every day and that’s coming from someone who has his roots from north india
Now we saw a lot of people ordering this particular dish so I went for this specific dish instead of their famous tried and tested mustard chicken curry. One of the mistakes of my meal was to go for a stew which is a bit on the blander side by the nature of the dish after going for the flavour bomb fish curry. The chicken stew was perfectly similar to how a stew is made. It had soft pieces of boneless chicken cooked with peas & carrots in a very subtle curry. But it failed to create a big impression for me as I wanted more of the fish curry. If you like eating stew then you should definitely go for it but I would recommend going for the fish instead.
Going Nuts On The Sensational Gulab Nut
This dessert made me a nut right from the get go. Who had ever thought that a gulab jamun mixed with pista cream and soaked with old monk would taste so good. It was an amazing way to end an already great meal. I was going tipsy with each bite and loved having it till I wiped my plate clean. There are things which leave a long lasting impression on your mind and this dessert is one of them. I couldn’t get over it post my meal and kept talking about it with friends and family. A dessert you should definitely go for
Another indian staple dessert tweaked to perfection by the creative guys in TBC. Soft and juicy rasgullas dipped in esperesso and served with salted caramel icecream and peanut chikki. I was having this combination for the very first time and the sweet Bengal lover in me cleaned the bowl up in no time. Another dessert you should definitely go for but only after the gulab nut.
The verdicts out and TBC is a great place to have some great indian food with some creative and innovative tweaks. Gone are the days when people would only open Chinese and Italian joints across the city. With restos like TBC, TSK and Masala library fusion indian cuisine is finding many takers and that shows how the indian café scene is going to further grow. I give it a thumbs up and definitely recommend you to try it out. Just be prepared for some crazy waiting in case you reach in some odd time. A meal for 2 can lead to Rs 3000 if you dont keep a tab of what you order like me 😦 but was fun nonetheless