Chilean Sea Bass
This deliciously meaty, perfectly flaky fish isn’t really Chilean. The exotic sounding sea creature, technically known as the Patagonian toothfish, was rechristened to make it more marketable in the early 1990s. At Two One Two Bar and Grill in Worli, one frozen sea bass is flown in from the Caspian Sea every three to four days.
Even though the restaurant charges an exorbitant Rs 2,700 for the fish, it is still one of their most popular dishes. The fish is first pan seared, which helps lock in all its juices, adds colour, flavour, and gives it a a beautifully crisp texture, then placed in the wood fired oven. It is served with asparagus, mashed potato, hollandaise sauce and flakes of truffle. Sea Bass, which was was taken off restaurant menus across the globe in the early 2000s, is rumoured to be endangered. Perhaps that is what makes it so expensive!
Also available at: Koh (InterContinental, Marine Drive), Aurus (Juhu)
The Tandoori Lobster at Mahesh Lunch Home, according to assistant manager Russel Raphael, is one of the most popular dishes at their Juhu outlet. The lobsters served here, sourced from the Gulf of Kutch, are trawled in from the deep seas every day. Once you’ve placed your order a lobster, 15 to 20 minutes is the least you will have to wait as lobster meat is typically boiled for that long before it is served.
While the tandoori flavour is popular for obvious reasons, lobster meat is delicious served with just butter, pepper and garlic too. And the best part — lobster is available all year round.
Also available at: Mahesh Lunch Home (outlets across the city), Aurus (Juhu), Trishna (Fort)
Not so much a ‘sea’ food, this river fish so synonymous with Bengali and Oriya cuisine, is also known as Ilish. But a word of warning for those not so familiar with this variety — beware of the tiny bones! True blue Bengalis complain about city restaurants’ lack of expertise when it comes to getting the hilsa right.
Most often served steamed with mustard and chillies in a banana leaf, the flavours might seem too strong for the uninitiated palate. Oh! Calcutta serves a boneless version — a great place to start. But Calcutta Club and Bhojohori Manna, both in Oshiwara, are good too and far cheaper.
Also available at: Bong Bong (Bandra), Hotel New Bengal (CST)
If you’ve lived in Mumbai long enough, you will be able to recognise the smell of dry bombil. Lines of the fish drying on bamboo logs is the quintessential picture of any of the city’s Koli zones.
The skin-and-bone fish, misleadingly called the Bombay Duck, is typically eaten salted and dried. Not everyone may have the stomach for this slightly slimy fish. But the batter-fried version, served at most seafood joints in the city, could win over even the most squeamish.
Also available at: Gajalee (across the city), Highway Gomantak (Bandra East), Fresh Catch (Mahim)
From faraway waters