It's 2.30 am, and we are at a friend's place in the nether regions of Versova when we decide to order from The Secret Kitchen (TSK), before it shuts at 4 am. First things first. A popular aggregator reveals the Vile Parle takeaway's detailed address. So when it comes to keeping a 'secret', this effort is as bad as your wife's mood when you ask her, "Baby, what's wrong?" and she says, "Nothing."

Paneer Satay with Peanut Sauce
Paneer Satay with Peanut Sauce

Ordering in
Nonetheless, we decide to give it a go and call the number listed. There's a prompt response and we ask the voice at the other end what he'd recommend. "The Paneer Satay with Peanut Sauce ('150) is our best-selling starter," he says, to which we reply, "One of those, please." That apart, we order Cheesy Mushroom Masala Naan Pocket (`235) and, for the mains, Kaju Curry (`230) and Dal Makhni (`170). Then -- given that we are told that the food will take at least 45-50 minutes to arrive -- we wait.

Exactly 47 minutes later, we get a call asking us, "Sir, aapka building kidhar padta hai?" Around three minutes later, the delivery boy is standing at our doorstep with a packet that is hot to the touch. Inside it, three takeaway boxes and a small pizza-box-like carton share space with paper tissues, plastic cutlery and a tiny container with a pickle in it, leading us to give TSK brownie points for their attention to detail.


Cheesy Mushroom Masala Naan Pocket

Satay with me
On opening the box with the 'best-selling starter', we find that it does indeed have long, rectangular slices of paneer pierced with a wooden stick, as you would expect of a satay. The problem, though, is that the paneer, being soft, slips off the stick when you pick it up, giving our friend's cat constant hope of bagging a witch hour snack. So, we end up eating it with a spoon instead.

Cheesy bites
The Cheesy Mushroom Masala Naan Pocket is suitably messy, in that its stuffing is adequate enough for us to risk further damage to the flooring. It's also cheesy enough for his cat to come sniffing at the pizza-box-like carton, which is what it had been packed in, leaving us with no room for complaint.

We do have room for the mains, though, and the Kaju Curry tickles our friend's fancy since he's never heard of the dish. It's creamy, both in colour and taste, and good enough for us to make the magnanimous gesture of leaving the leftover behind for
our friend.


Cheesy Mushroom Masala Naan Pocket

Dal talks
That leaves the Dal Makhni, and it doesn't quite transport us to a dhaba on a Punjab highway. The friend, who is originally from Delhi, the country's Dal Makhni capital, says it's 70 per cent authentic, but agrees when we bring the percentage down to 60. That being said, it's still better than the bland version of the dish that's usually the norm in the city.

Time 7 pm to 4 am (all week)
At Tilak Mandir Road, Vile Parle East.
Call 65566551