Despite its hole-in-the-wall appearance, Masalchi Ustad, a new takeaway service in Bandra, is a treasure trove of flavours, fresh ingredients and generous servings
Aromas of fried garlic and smoke from the tandoor greeted us as we waited for our order at Masalchi Ustad, Bandra’s new takeaway place. Started by the folks behind Juhu’s popular Jantar Mantar takeout service, this space is sandwiched between two photocopy shops in a bylane. Spotting Masalchi Ustad can be a hassle; luckily for us, the owner’s directions helped and we were in time to pick our parcel (we dialed them 30 minutes in advance to avoid waiting). The eatery delivers between Khar and Bandra but we carried our goodie bag for a working lunch at our office in Parel.
The Chicken Achari Tikka with Herb Roti was satiating and was one of our favourites. Pics/Sameer Markande
The vast menu includes options in seafood, chicken and mutton, vegetarian and non-vegetarian mains, rice, breads, desserts as well as a section called Cruise Bowls that promised to be ideal car snacks. However, we learnt that several items like Basa With Orange Malta Sauce and Tandoori Water Chestnut Roll were unavailable. So, we opted for Fish Amritsari Tikka (Rs 290), Tawa Chicken Baghdadi Wrap (Rs 160), Kadai Paneer Naan Turnover (Rs 200), Herb Roti (Rs 30), Afghani Naan (Rs 80), Kabuli Tarkari Biryani with Fried Garlic Raita (Rs 225) and Garlic Kheer (Rs 120) for dessert.
Kabuli Tarkari Biryani with Fried Garlic Raita was a vegetarian’s delight
To our surprise, the owner threw in a complementary Chicken Achari Tikka and Mutton Nalli Nihari as the bill exceeded the Rs 1,000-mark. When we enquired about this gesture, we were told that being a new eatery, this was done for every order. Smart move.
As we began our feast, we were delighted to discover that the food was still warm, sans spillage, thanks to the sturdy, neat packaging boxes. While the Fish Amritsari Tikka comprised soft, semi-smoked tender fish pieces with a hint of spice, the leg pieces in the Chicken Achari Tikka were coated in a tangy marinade and made for a better starter. Packed with succulent meat, the traditional, rich gravy of Mutton Nalli Nihari tasted best with the Tandoori Herb Roti that was sprinkled with chopped coriander. A tad sweet and stuffed with different dried fruits, the Afghani Naan was of a melt-in-the-mouth variety, and complemented the savoury dishes.
All items came packed in sturdy containers and boxes, without any spillage as they were not filled to the brim
The unique Kadai Paneer Naan Turnover included two triangular portions of naan stuffed with vegetables. Cooked to perfection using fresh and soft paneer and a hint of cheese along with other veggies, the neatly stuffed naan can be a meal in itself. The Kabuli Tarkari Biryani, topped with fried onions, was thankfully low on chickpeas, with the right blend of spices. Complemented by the delicious fried garlic raita, it tasted heavenly. For an eatery that serves non-vegetarian fare, pre-dominantly, the attention to detail in their vegetarian cooking impressed us.
While the Tawa Chicken Baghdadi Wrap was packed in marinated chunks of grilled chicken, the unconventional Garlic Kheer, with just a hint of the pungency, made for the perfect tinge to this delectable meal. Filling portions, bagfuls of flavour, well-done marinades and gravies that tasted different from the other, and total value-for-money — the master mixer (as Masalchi Ustad is known) made our weekday afternoon meal a memorable one.
Time: 12 pm to 12 am
At: Sherly Rajan Road, near The Bagel Shop, Bandra (W).
Masalchi Ustad didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.
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