Mumbai Food: Andheri restaurant with a unusual menu serves till 3 am
The combination of a burger and fries is a culinary match made in heaven if both are done right. A simple one made with care and precision is all it really takes, as is reaffirmed to us at a new Andheri eatery called Honest Buns
The combination of a burger and fries is a culinary match made in heaven if both are done right. We are not talking here about the blink-and-your-burger-is-served variety. We are talking a fat, juicy patty with the right glaze tucked between buns that smell fresh, served with crunchy fries you struggle to keep your hands off. And it doesn't need to be a gourmet version. A simple one made with care and precision is all it really takes, as is reaffirmed to us at a new Andheri eatery called Honest Buns.
We reach there post midnight on Thursday and find a small place tucked behind a glass door, just off the footpath in a Lokhandwala lane. There is a dimly lit outdoor area with a few occupied tables. But we prefer being inside, at the lone seating in the matchbox space, settling down under better light with a menu that's small, but high on surprises. For, it's unusual to come across a fish dish starring kasundi outside of Bengali restaurants. Also, the Creole-style grilled rawas (Rs 249) that we ask for isn't a staple on menus in this suburb.
Classic chicken momos
The burger we choose is tenderloin bun (Rs 249), which has a minced beef patty glazed with teriyaki sauce. We ask for quinoa salad too (Rs 175), since we are with a friend who's vegan by choice. And as an afterthought, we get classic chicken momos (Rs 175), just because we are on a constant quest to find quality versions of it in a city that doesn't seem to do full justice to the Tibetan dish.
The quinoa salad arrives first, and our friend's bland expression tells us that it hasn't done wonders for her. A spoonful of it makes things clear. It's the chaat masala-kind of seasoning that seems at odds with lettuce, red and yellow peppers, baby corn and quinoa. The burger, however, looks like the real deal when it's served. The buns baked in-house have a promising gloss and one bite into the generous patty reveals a sweet relish so no-frills in nature that it oozes with a sense of comfort.
Creole-style grilled rawas
What's more, a taste of the fries makes our friend's face light up. They are the right shade of brown and make a crunchy sound between our teeth similar to what you get when you crumple up an empty packet of chips. Andheri West, actually, has had a clutch of solid burger joints mushroom in the 4 Bungalows-Lokhandwala area over the past couple of years or so, and Honest Buns is now a worthy addition to that growing list of places.
The Creole-style grilled fish, though, doesn't look very southern American when it is served, consisting of fillets of rawas nestled together next to a pile of sauteed vegetables. But the seasoning in it is conservative without boring the palette, while the veggies have a pleasant dressing that — Creole or not — gives the item the type of balance that an Olympic gymnast would be proud of.
The interiors of Honest Buns
That leaves the momos. And here's the big question: Have we found a place in Mumbai that does an authentic version? The answer is, yes we have. The steamed packets of flour have a minced chicken filling with such minimal flavouring that it's reminiscent of eateries in the small towns and hilly retreats of Sikkim, for example. Thankfully, it doesn't have any of the ghastly garam-masala kind of spices that afflict many of the city's street-side versions. The ones here are served in the style of dumplings, in a closed wicker basket. And the filmy flour casing is firm enough for it to hold its shape without revealing the contents inside. So everything put together, Honest Buns gives us more reason to go back there than just their burgers. But that's mainly because we eat non-vegetarian food, because if you're vegan, stick to the fries would be our honest suggestion.
TIME: 12 pm to 3 am
AT: Shop 7, Greenville building, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West.