Mumbai Food: Just how good is the Maharashtrian cuisine in new Oshiwara eatery? Our verdict
Oshiwara's new eatery fails to live up to its promise of authentic Maharashtrian fare as the name suggests
Last month, we drooled over author and culinary consultant Saee Koranne-Khandekar's Maharashtrian food pop-up — rightly named, Lai-Bhaari, at Pot Pourri outlets in Vashi and Chembur — where, on the bar menu, desi sabudana poppers replaced the jalepeno variant and nachos had become mirgunda squares with sprouted moong. Keeping true to the rustic authenticity of the cuisine, the playful representation had pleased our palate.
So, when we hear of a new eatery, Baiko'z, in Oshiwara, we invited Khandekar to break bread with us. "I am usually sceptical when trying Maharashtrian fare at a restaurant because most of them miss out on the nuances and risk becoming copies of each other without any specialisation. Dishes from Konkani Muslim cuisine, for example, see more of coconut milk compared to rest of the Konkan region where fresh grated or ground coconut is more prevalent," she tells us. We begin with sol kadi (R55), packed with the punch of pepper and coriander. But, "The kokum is too sharp and masks the coconut milk," Khandekar, a Mumbaikar with roots in the Konkan as well as the Deccan regions, points out.
The table tops are unkempt even though it has been around for one and a half months, so we hope the food will do the talking. The owner comes by to take our order and we learn that his wife as well and his partner's wife are Maharashtrian. "I am a Muslim from Hyderabad and my partner is Jain," he adds. The menu reflects this, with a seafood and a Maharashtra specials section, and a majority of the dishes belonging to Lucknow, Hyderabad and North India.
A Hyderabadi vegetable dish, dum aloo Hyderabadi (R249), we order on the owner's recommendation turns out to be a bland palak gravy with veggies. The mutton thali (R299) comes with rogan josh, mix vegetables, dal makhani and rice. The meat is well-cooked in a flavourful broth. The dal makhani is like any other.
The surmai fry (R310) is a let-down. "The masala has not seeped into the fish, and the crust is too thick," says Khandekar, adding that the slightly spicy prawn curry (R335) is palatable and well executed. "Unlike what you get at most Malvani restaurants, our home food is simple like this," she explains. We skip dessert as the only available item is gulab jamun. A confused menu doesn't do justice to the cuisine or the customer — a lesson for all start-up restaurants.
Time 11.45 am to 12 am
At Meera Tower, Oshiwara, Andheri West.
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