What the hype is all about: The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai

Everything Indian with a firangi twist

Why The Bombay Canteen- Modern Indian is one fancy term, which I believe even the Shiv Sagars of the world will start using soon, albeit understanding the same or not. But The Bombay Canteen aims at creating ‘fusion’ and does it successfully so. Be it presenting tacos made of theplas, or multi grain khichdi, or serving starters in the forgotten pattals (leaf plates), everything is downright desi, with a subtle firangi twist.

Frankly, a restaurant opens in Mumbai every fortnight but not many create a stir and a haul as anticipatory as The Bombay Canteen, which recently opened in Kamla Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Opened by a New York returned chef Floyd Cardoz and Thomas Zacharias, the simplicity and intricate ‘Indian-ness’ of it all, comforted us as we dug into our delicious staple food.

The Menu resembles registers we scribbled on, commencing our tryst with everything Indian, as we observe buzzing tables and bar stools on a Tuesday evening. We spot Rahul Akerkar (Indigo) being ushered in, as perch ourselves atop their high chairs and browse through their crisp, intrinsic Indian menu. Kept interesting and intriguing, the menu is not a barrage of endless pages, with overbearingly ‘creative’ dishes, seen at most restaurants, which just seem to try too hard.

The Indian-ness
The dishes aren’t of course your usual butter chicken and dal makhani, as the chef took an Indian road trip to discover dishes that define India, right from a Mallu drumstick soup to a Tamil kuthu roti, street dishes, from the interiors of India have been thrust under the spotlight of the South Bombay fine dining scene.  A first, which is barely scene at any Indian restaurant, you are served from an assortment of chintus, more like farsan or chaknas, which are priced at Rs 40, while you wait for the main course. The multigrain khichdi comes with the masaal daan (spice-box) carrying an assortment of pickles, chutney, onions, etc. followed by the must try-Arugula salad. Paneer bhurji comes with pao, a Parsi typical, nudging me to stop writing and dig into this creative play of simple dishes. The food is exactly ‘ghar-ka-khana’, as we try dish after dish without feeling heavy or bloated.

The Bombay-ness
At this India inspired café, the décor is a lot like old Bombay buildings and hospitals, with stained glass windows and different mosaic flooring.

The hype- Ifsomeone comes to Bombay,this is one place, where I would really want to take them. Not because it’s totally Bombay, but because it’s completely Indian, in a city that celebrates and shelters the diversity which we call India.

Fact File
Where- Kamala Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Cost for Two- Rs 1500, excluding alcohol and taxes
Must try- Mallu drumstick soup, Kuthu roti, Paneer bhurji, Gulab Nut
Dress code- Smart casuals

Text- Avni Mehrotra; Pictures: The Bombay Canteen



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