An East Indian in Bandra

11 February,2024 08:35 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Tanishka D’Lyma

Chef Freny Fernandes opens her latest all-day dining and bar whipping up traditional East Indian recipes, European dishes and timeless desserts

Indyal (vindaloo) jackfruit tacos

You can't cook East Indian food from a book; recipes are family secrets, heirlooms almost, that move through generations. Naturally, dishes taste different in every household and more so as you move across different gaothans. This was the case with chef Freny Fernandes' newly-opened Bandra eatery, Freny's, which serves a fun mix of European dishes and East Indian fare with flair. Walking into the space is entering Fernandes' part of town, and pulling up a seat for a meal inspired by the East Indian dishes she's grown up eating, interspersed with influences from her travels.

The ambiance on the first floor and ground floor

We get straight to business and order a bowl of fugiyas (Rs 250), this is right after a complementary bowl that every table receives. The chef isn't fooling around with this traditional fried balloon bread. The eggless variant arrives piping hot, fluffy and slightly on the sweeter side, just the way we like it. Eggless fugiyas aren't as moist as the ones made with egg, and many East Indians might be used to the latter.

But Fernandes extends the famed bread to vegetarians. And for this EI, whose grandmother always prepared the bread minus the egg, it's a bite full of memories. A contemporary twist comes in the form of a bottle masala dusting which is tasty, and an intense garlic-ey dip on the side whose texture and pairing we do not prefer. We say our goodbyes to peri-peri and hop on Fernandes' bottle masala trend. We get fries with the dusting (Rs 320) that comes with a tomato jam hinting all of sweet paprika and makes for a great combo. The Brazilian lemonade (Rs 275) is refreshing despite the more-than-usual bitterness and being unstrained.

While we wait, we soak in the busy interiors on the first floor, an all-day dining vibe with powder blue panelling on the walls, a fabric chandelier, and couch and wooden seating mismatched with lovely homely accents including doilies and family photographs. We prefer the ground floor décor comprising a large French door with a border of blue glazed tiles, lemon tree ceiling wallpaper and a peninsula table surrounded by high chairs. You also get a view of a functioning candy floss machine outside. Brownie points for the retro playlist that have us grooving throughout the meal.


Giving the European parts of the menu with pizzas, pastas and salads a miss, we try out key East Indian dishes starting with cutlet pav sliders (Rs 450), a Vasai-style potato-heavy chicken patty, with tomato, caramelised onions, and a peri-peri sauce that brings a kick of heat. We would prefer less of the sweet spread on the jackfruit variant of the indyal (vindaloo) tacos (Rs 375) for the vindaloo flavours and tomato salsa to shine through. It comes with purple cabbage to lift every bite with freshness and crunch. There are pork and chicken variants of the taco, too; the overall menu has a good mix of vegan options. For mains, Peter's mutton curry (Rs 650) with potatoes gives us an earthy and thick gravy. The puris fish curry (Rs 620), a coconut milk-based yellow curry, also called kujit, is a much more fragrant version of the usually tangy and spicy curry, with garlic-ey and gingery accents.

Peter's mutton curry

The highlight was the desserts from Fernandes' dessert bar Moner. The personal touches and memories in every dessert make the dishes sweeter. Every Sunday sundae (Rs 600) comes with layers of custard cream, vanilla bean gelato, raspberry jelly and fruit; Matilda cake (Rs 500), makes chocolate-y goodness from the eponymous movie is a cinematic dream come true; and the Fernandes Rocher (Rs 600) has salty and sweet notes with chocolate mousse, salted caramel and hazelnut praline and a crunchy tuile; it is a much-elevated version of the popular chocolate.

The desserts are a must-try

Freny's holds up to the promise of a cosy dining and bar space with excellent desserts and more than a handful of gems on the menu. It warrants another visit for the politest staff, Monica's chicken roast and fluffy fugiyas.

At: Waterfield Road, Opposite China Gate, Bandra West.
Time: 12 pm to 12 am
Call: 7770014123

'''' Exceptional, ''' Excellent, '' very Good, ' Good, Average. Freny's didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals

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