18, crabby and proud
Having hosted its popular crab and wine festival into adulthood, Mahesh Lunch Home relives its best memories
Any purist crab eater will tell you the only way to enjoy a crab is to take the effort to de-shell the crustacean and relish the meat from each part. "But not everyone wants to make the tedious effort and get their hands dirty," says Suraj Shetty, partner at Mahesh Lunch Home, which is hosting the 18th year of the Crab and Wine Festival at the Juhu outpost.'
"For them, the menu has five to six de-shelled dishes," he adds.Mahesh Lunch Home at Fort is 40 years old and the Juhu outpost is 19. The restaurants have been an institution since, and a go-to for crab and seafood lovers. The accurate rendition of crab dishes from all parts of India put it on the tourist must-visit list.
Every year, from Navratri to Diwali, the restaurants hosts The Crab and Wine Festival. You cannot miss the bright orange crab installation at the entrance. "We are a seafood joint and in order to give something more to the customers we started this festival to curate regional dishes. For the past five or so years, we have gone international and contemporary too," Shetty tells us, adding that the menu changes every year.
Crab meat pairs best with dry white wines. The festival menu offers wines by Sula's Dindori Reserve. Pick from chenin blanc, chardonnay and dessert wine zinfandel rose.
A few dishes are constant—like the Honey Coconut and Indonesian style Kitam Bunkus, in which the meat is steamed in a banana leaf. This is by popular demand, general manager at the Juhu outlet, Paresh Bhanushali tells us. With the Durga puja celebrations on, one dish on the festive menu is the Kekra Jhal (Rs 950), a Bengali homestyle dish.
On the other hand, contemporary additions include crab candy stick served with a tartare sauce and a Pesto Crab (Rs 975) in an Italian preparation. Shetty recalls instances where guests have flown down from Delhi for an afternoon lunch at the restaurant. "One gentleman came down just to eat our butter pepper garlic crabs and caught a flight back in the evening." What started as a simple lunch home for office goers in Fort turned into a spot for savouring delicacies. "You could finish your lunch in Rs 10. Slowly, our Mangalorean fare became popular. We were the one of the first ones to introduce the cuisine in Mumbai."
Then there have been "vegetarian" customers who had their first fish at Mahesh Lunch Home. "In a group, there was one vegetarian, and he tasted fish for the first time. He's till date a regular customer," laughs Shetty, adding that they get regular delivery orders from Ajay Devgn, Aditya Chopra, Saif Ali Khan, Govinda and Sushmita Sen.
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