Dhaba flavours in Kalina
The quintessential fine dining scene is exploding in Mumbai. Fancy-themed restaurants, expensive and exquisite culinary experiments, exclusive ambiances, European and Mediterranean fare on the menu — the list is endless. So, it’s a refreshing change when a new, unassuming dhaba opens in the middle of a bustling Kalina landscape and offers simple, almost home cooked-style fare without the frills and fancies.
When we entered Fatang, there was a definite kitschy charm about the place. An unsophisticated, desi ambiance, khatiyas to sit on with lots of people engrossed in sequestered conversations. The restaurant was bustling with an earthy vibe and we instantly ordered away. The service was prompt, very dhaba-like. So, don’t expect a fancy butler with a nametag.
The Prawns Koliwada (Rs 195) was the first to arrive. This not-so-spicy fried prawn dish, tasted more like pakoras and less like prawns. Sad. We weren’t too excited. It missed the smattering of chaat masala on top, and the green chutney that could have accompanied it, was missing. What could have been our star appetiser, turned out to be a damp squib — not bad, but not too great either.
The Kerala Mutton Masala (R160) delivered where the prawns failed. The masala, lemon juice and salt were effortlessly browned and the tender mutton pieces were of melt-in-the-mouth variety. Accompanied with a thick gravy, the dish had a dry consistency. We felt it lacked a bit of zing in the spice department and while it was tasty, it could have had a more typical “dhaba” flavour to it, which is to say, more zesty and curried. Good, but we were expecting more.
The Kulcha with Butter (Rs 25) and The Cheese Naan (Rs 70) did their job proficiently and delivered as advertised. Smooth. Soft. Not overloaded. Sadly, the place doesn’t serve chapati. The Veg Tava (Rs 135) was decent, like a masala flavour using readymade tawa masala. The spice mix with yogurt complimented the mixed vegetables well. But we missed the smoky texture to ingredients that usually emanates from a barbeque-like grill, which could have happened, with a buttery lacing. This tasted good but like the previous dishes, not spectacular. Also, we were handed a bill with Masala Chaas added to it, which we never ordered. All in all, it made for a robust, value-for-money stopover. No frills attached.
At CST Road, opposite Bharti Workshop, Kalina, Santacruz (E).
Fatang — The Taste didn’t know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.
The reviewer can be followed at @tansworld