Located on the ground floor of an old commercial building with a potholed-flooded entrance at CST Road in Kalina, Kitchen 98 comes across as a misfit in its neighborhood, which reeks of formality — car showrooms, corporate offices and a few relatively unknown industrial buildings like Deepak Industries, which houses this eatery. On an overcast July afternoon, we dropped by unaware of what was in store. We were in for a surprise, no doubt.
First, the appearance had a very formal appeal, mostly exuded by its visitors who were from nearby corporate offices, dressed in formals. Apart from the dining tables and lights we didn’t spot even a poster or frame on the wall.
There is an AC room that can accommodate 20-25 people at a time; it was booked for the day, so we had to make our way to the stand-and-eat corner. This is the only informal section and is located opposite the main entrance and the manager’s desk.
The second and perhaps the best surprise, was its food. Served as a buffet, Kitchen 98 offers two options — Veg Lunch (R99) and Non Veg Lunch (R149) — with unlimited servings. The Veg Lunch included rice, chapatti, dal, papad, mango pickle, green salad, and two vegetables — Chana Masala and Aloo Bhendi — whereas the Non Veg Lunch included everything in the Veg Lunch with the addition of two non-veg dishes — Chicken Curry and Egg Chilly. The menu changes daily.
The food had us satisfied, not just for its quantity, but also because of the home-cooked taste. While the Egg Chilly (we’ve never come across this dish before) was okay, the rest — Chana Masala, Dal and Chicken Curry and several thin chapatis — was gobbled down until our tummy said “enough”. We left with a question — how often does one find a place like Kitchen 98 that serves good food at a low price in pricey Mumbai? Your guess is as good as ours.
At Deepak Industries, Parekh Compound, next to Excel Cars, CST Road, Kalina, Santacruz (E). CALL 26542748
Kitchen 98 didn’t know we were there. The GUIDE reviews anonymously and pays for meals.