It’s been a slow revolution of the gastronomical kinds but well worth the wait.
As Mumbai’s meat-loving foodies sharpen and shine their forks, spoons and knives before they embark on another adventure at the newest restaurant, chances are, they might find mentions on the menu that celebrate meat in all its mirth and warmth. Yes, the recent past has witnessed some truly interesting and arresting developments that have brought immense cheer and hurrahs to the city’s meat-eating folk. Beef, pork and lamb have begun to share decent (and deserving) kitchen space alongside the old favourites — chicken, fish (and seafood) and mutton in standalone restaurants across the city.
Ask any restaurant chef worth his/her salt about the reasons behind these delish additions to their menus and their replies vary from increased customer knowledge to well-travelled foodies but essentially the focus being on a refreshing evolution among city’s diners where they prefer more experimental inclusions on menus. It’s a good thing. After all, if the city wears its tag as India’s only truly cosmopolitan city, shouldn’t it reflect in its eating choices as well? And restaurateurs are doing well these days to cash in and go all out in giving the foodie all that he/she wants.
Gone are the days when meat lovers would have to make that trip to Bohri Mohalla and its eateries, to swish Colaba or Bandra’s tony cafes and home-bred caterers for their beef, pork or lamb fixations. All that has changed — from Beef Vindaloo to Nalli Nihari (mind you, at reasonable prices) served in cheery spaces and some, even family-run enterprises (the most recent addition recently opened in Bandra, where else!) there’s enough of sizzle and buzz to greet these entrants on our city’s foodscape.
We could do with more of these too — the city offers a delightful potpourri of meat-eating communities; now, imagine if they were to come forward and showcase their best and lesser known dishes. It will do wonders for Mumbai’s tag as Food Capital of India. We’d love to savour and discover dishes from the rich, and sadly, rarely displayed culinary traditions of our communities including the Konkani and Khoja Muslims, Bohris, Bene Israelis, Kolis and much, much more of the spread from the vast repository of Irani, Parsi and East Indian kitchens and long-lost cookbooks.
We must strive to keep alive and showcase our home-grown flavours, recipes and culinary traditions alongside the buoyant onslaught from overseas cuisines and trends – be it Pan Asian, Italian or just about any Continental flavour that has survived the seven seas to satiate Indian palates.
Surely, a case of an overflowing platter would be welcome with the humongous appetite of the quintessential Mumbai foodie thanks to that long standing love affair with food. Food for thought, surely.
— The writer is Features Editor, MiD DAY