An eatery in a Khar bylane is serving delectable whole wheat rumalis, Kashmiri dishes and winning hearts
In a small lane behind Khar West railway station, a tiny eatery called The Bombay Curry opened six months ago. Its frontier comprises a few tables and blue chairs and a desk set-up before a semi see-through kitchen. On the desk stand three antique Persian-style jars, one tall, and two smaller. That, along with the overall make-do nature of the interiors reminds you of the neighbourhood silversmith's shop back in the day.
The desk is manned by chef Kunal Nagpal's father Rajesh, a warm and amiable man. As a small family-run joint that focuses predominantly on delivery, the ambience, however shabby, is unimportant. Nagpal, who has worked with ITC, JW Marriott and a cruise line between 2012 and 2017, is as keen as an owner as he is a chef. And it's hard to miss the fact that this is someone's labour of love.
Murgh Rogani Tangdi
The menu offers a glimpse of the kind of fare that keeps North Indians satiated; it embraces the culinary heritages left behind by the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal empire. If you visit/order from this eatery on a hungry stomach, be prepared for a delay, considering the space is short-staffed and the food is made from scratch. At the same time, it is necessary to say that the offerings are worth the wait.
After 40 minutes of anticipation, a serving of the murgh rogani tangdi (Rs 340) graces the table. A bite into the well-marinated appetiser and the heart is filled with joy. The curd and spice coating has seeped deep into the meat, which is so tender that you need to cup your chin to ensure your clothes aren't stained. The dripping juices and the redolent flavours of this dish have hardly settled on the palate, when a cook, who doubles up as a server, brings a mini cauldron of murgh kadai Peshawari (Rs 299) with two whole wheat rumali rotis (Rs 40 each). The rotis are a winner, in that they're supple instead of being stretchy — a problem that is commonplace with regular maida rumalis that are often rendered unpleasantly taut within minutes of cooling, an effect brought on due to the presence of gluten.
Lucknowi Murgh Biryani
These delicate rumalis are the perfect accompaniment to the piquant serving of the Peshawari murgh, which is brimming with flavours that come from the tempering of masalas and cooking the dish for long, rather than OD-ing on the cream and butter, a quick fix most desi haunts rely on. This is also why the Awadhi treat continues to be light, boasting of a charming piquancy that sets it apart from many usual suspects (think dahiwala murgh, tikka masala and rogan josh).
An inviting aroma emanates from the Lucknowi biryani (Rs 280 for small) as soon as you remove the lid, but a bite of the otherwise tasty delicacy reveals a few shortcomings, too. A good biryani, like a good cake, is the result of astute precision. That is ensured when you can foresee the result and balance each ingredient accordingly. What is lacking here is that the masala (the mélange of onion, tomato, the residue from the meat marinade and the caramelised onion) supersedes the rice, which in effect is supposed to absorb the flavours rather than be overwhelmed by it.
Lucknowi dal shirin
But what wins the heart is the last dish that's served — a yellow, Lucknowi dal shirin (Rs 260) with an ambrosial perfume. Unlike most variants of restaurant dals, which rely on ghee and jeera, this version dives into the disciplines of Awadhi cooking that makes use of berista (caramelised onion) for the chonkk, which elevates the dish more than any regular spice. The use of ghee has been discerning, too, such that it lends a smooth and pleasant aroma. And it's in this dish that chef Nagpal's skills — that he picked up during his stint at Rahims in Lucknow and Pistahouse in Hyderabad (2017-18) — come through.
It is important that you're alerted of the state you're sure to be in after a meal at this place. Because if you do take pictures and post them online, for once, perhaps, you could justify the use of the words "food coma".
At The Bombay Curry, Patel CHS, Govind Dham, Khar West.
Time 11 am to 4 pm; 6 pm to 12 am
EXCEPTIONAL EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD AVERAGE
The Bombay Curry didn’t know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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