A bit of history always warms the heart. Food that is prepared to salute the indelible presence of a community intrinsic to Mumbai, only serves to add flavour. The Bagel Shop’s Quiemada menu that whips up East Indian khana tempted us into the quaint, cosy interiors of the popular Bandra eatery which allows patrons to take it slow.
The recently renovated space, has introduced an East Indian dinner menu as a salute to Mumbai’s very own East Indian community. We dropped by with a fellow foodie who happens to be an East Indian cuisine home chef to taste the fare. Anil Kably, Neale Murray and Lester Pereira run the Bagel Shop. While the three are foodies, Pereira doubles up as chef. We had walked in at noon and asked for the East Indian menu that is served only at dinnertime. Yet without knowing who we were, Pereira put together all that he had in the kitchen. Brownie points for treating the customer as king.
There are a couple of soups to get into the mood, but we ushered our evening with a starter: Potato Chops (Rs 200) that the East Indians are famous for. The chops stuffed with peas and grated coconut, served with salad and mustard sauce was good, but we've eaten better. For the mains, we tried Beef Olives (Rs 375), Pork Vindaloo (Rs 350) and Pickled Chicken
(Rs 350). Each dish was outstanding. The Beef Olives arrived with chopped bacon, carrots and potatoes wrapped in escalloped beef. The meat was well cooked and tender; all the textures and flavours intact. An absolute delight. Cooking Pork Vindaloo is an art. Balancing the taste, the meat and the vinegar is about knowing finer flavours.
The chef friend was all praise, revealing that she had never eaten a tastier version before. The Pickled Chicken was pure delight. The chef explained that when he cooks chicken he chooses to cook it with the bones because only thus does the flavour of the meat to come through.
The vegetarian fare is served with spaghetti but you can ask for paav, fugias bread or rice. We loved the Fugias (Rs 50) and ate the Veg Pourish (Rs 600) with the Wedding Rice (R 200). The Veg Pourish was interesting because of the use of both Indian as well as English vegetables, and especially because of the Oriental kick, courtesy the Thai herbs that we could taste; we also liked the coastal vibe that the masala bought in. The Wedding Rice was fragrant and light.
The long grained rice was tempered with ghee and sprinkled with deep fried onions and reminded me of the Nai Choru that the Malabar Kerala people cooked to eat with their mutton stew. We finished it all with two cups of tea and Warm Coconut Pan Rolls and vanilla ice cream (Rs 175). We will be back to savour more from the kitchens of one of the city’s oldest communities.
At: The Bagel Shop, No.30, Pali Mala Road, Pali Hill, Bandra (W).
Time: 7.30 to 10.30 pm (while the restaurant starts at 9 am, the East Indian menu is served for dinner, from 7.30 pm)
The Bagel Shop didn't know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
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