It’s a journey that floats on centuries of history. Marco Polo waxed eloquent about this region in his travels. In its heyday, the town of Khambat (Cambay) in western Gujarat was a thriving hub that traded in silks, chintz and other exotic fabrics. It was also famous for the tiger prawn — a delicacy that’s fished out of the Gulf of Khambat, the water body that lies at the mouth of this bustling town.
While this much sought after crustacean delight has found its way into culinary hotspots across the world, it wasn’t easily available to the seafood-craving Mumbaite, beyond the fine-dine experience. All of this seems to be slowly changing thanks to entrepreneural brainwaves like Cambay Tiger Prawns — this venture, popular for their exporting tiger prawns internationally, and for offering frozen versions, are now offering the same to the city in a fast food-friendly avatar. Their third outlet set up at Bhandup’s Neptune Mall demanded a dekko from this incorrigible seafood lover.
Get your directions in order once you step into this multi-level mall. We were pleasantly surprised when the security on the third floor (home to the food and entertainment sections) seemed clueless about our area of interest. Undeterred by this hurdle we spotted our Everest after several false turns, only to come face to face with an unmanned counter. After several calls to the mobile number that was printed on the take-away menu, two attendants arrived, a good ten minutes later. Not the best of starts to our prawn prowl.
We ordered for the Prawn Salad Wrap (Rs 129, plus taxes), Prawn Burger Combo (choice of two dips and fries, Rs 129, plus taxes) and Prawn Torpedo Combo (4 pieces, choice of two dips and fries, Rs 129, plus taxes). While the ergonomically designed food court will make for a great spot to savour the aromatic flavours that had begun to emanate from our goodie bag, we opted for a takeaway that arrived ten minutes later; the rigours of less joyous endeavours beckoned.
The torpedoes were batter-fried generous servings of prawn. It won our vote, instantly. Our tip: It will make for the perfect bar snack or finger food at house parties. The Salad Wrap wasn’t too bad either. Stuffed with iceberg lettuce and delicately-spiced prawn fingers, it could have done with more veggies; it’s a good mid-day, on-the-go snack. We saved room for the piece-de-resistance, the Prawn Burger. Light and juicy without any overbearing desi flavouring, it rounded off our takeaway meal with a double thumbs-up.
Even better news is that these folks also serve prawn snack variants including spring rolls, crackers, skewers, salads and sandwiches. This prawn invasion will come as welcome relief if you’re looking for respite from fast food joints that seem to have run out of options beyond chicken and fish.