Mumbai food: The best iftar eats on the other side of the Sea Link
Ramzan is synonymous with Mohd Ali Road. Our foodie gang took a detour to the suburbs to select the best of iftar eats at Yari Road, Bandra, Kurla, Mira Road and Jogeshwari
Shami Kebabs on SV Road
In the lane adjoining Bandra’s Lucky Restaurant at the SV Road junction, Ramzan fever picks up post 4.30 in the evening. We made pit-stops at the pop-up stalls and couldn’t resist getting our hands messy.
Chicken and mutton boti at Lazzat Hotel restaurant in Bandra
Mohammed Ali, who runs Lazzat Hotel, along with brother Umer Sheikh, sells over 15 different items at a stall that will only last the Ramzan period. Delicacies include chicken and mutton kaadi, chicken roll, schezwan and tikka, alongside the staple deep-fried samosas (Rs 5 a piece). The neighbouring eatery, Shanu Seekh Paratha Corner, sells seekh kebabs (Rs 15 a piece), hot off the coals. It goes well with pooris (they call them parathas) and mint chutney.
Shami Kebabs at Shanu Seekh Paratha Corner
Shanu is also known for its shami kebabs, sold at Rs 5 a piece. To dig into something sweet, we suggest adjoining eatery Gulmohar, where you can enjoy malpuas layered with rabri (Rs 80) and phirni at a mere Rs 25. Ali tells us that business in the lane wraps up by dusk. Our suggestion, take off early from work for an evening of hogging.
WHERE: Junction off S V Road, Behind Lucky Hotel, MRS Marg, Bandra (West)
WHEN: 4.30 PM – 7 PM
Soothing haleem at Persia Darbar
We arrive at Persia Darbar in Jogeshwari (West) at 9 pm on a Wednesday, armed with a ravenous appetite, only to learn that the Iftaar items are almost over. But its owner, Faizan Jawed, a fresh-faced 22-year-old, offers to prepare the dishes afresh.
(R) Owner Faizan Jawed. Pic/Sameer Markande
Within 20 minutes, the table is laden with an elaborate Ramazan fare; mutton cutlets rolled in semolina giving it a crunchy textured coating, Haleem (Rs 150), a rich Mughlai mutton-lentils wheat stew dish, which traces its origins to Arabia, crispy mutton samosas and chicken butta (corn) kebab.
“We prepare about 35 iftaar items each day, and have more than 130 customers to relish it,” says Jawed, heir of the 40-year-old brand. Comprising beautiful, dark wood carved furniture and a huge painting that captures ancient Arabia, the restaurant sees a footfall of more than 120 customers during iftar. “Our highest selling item is the haleem.” Try it.
WHERE: Shop No - 6/7, Lily Tower, Jogeshwari (West)
Seekh parathas on Yari Road
Dynamites, we’ve heard, come in small packages, and small food pockets are a must visit during Ramzan. By 7 pm, the stalls, scattered in and around Yari Road, are thronged by empty stomachs. We started our evening at owner Asad Lashkarya’s Yari Chote Miyan in Zohra Aghadi Nagar. Chicken roll (Rs 40), seekh kebab (Rs 50), chicken/mutton bhuna (Rs 70) and naan sandwich (Rs 50) are hotsellers here. While you can’t ignore the sheen, the food here is least oily of the lot.
Chicken Tandoori Tikka. Pic/Prabhanjan Dhanu
The workers have been preparing for hours to skew the meat, marinate it for the bhuna and knead the dough for the naans.
The phirni, on the other hand, is served cold. Down the road, off Yari Road, eateries Seekh Paratha Inn and Treat Way Inn have set up tables along the lane for iftar and sehari. We bite into the oil-laden seekh kebab paratha (Rs 50), and the marinated chicken hits all the right notes. The aftertaste, we realise, is of fire. But, there’s phirni for a sweet ending. Treat Way Inn is our stop for Malpuas. A bit too much ghee, and generous on the mawa, it’s only recommended if you can ignore the calories. Try their tawa specials, mutton sandwich (Rs 50) and spicy gurda kalegi (Rs 200). If you care to walk down the long lane that opens on JP Road, Shaheen Biryani Corner is a must stop for its dum biryani (Rs 750 per kg) and chicken tikka (Rs 100) and Murg kali mirch tikka (Rs 120). Chef Mustafa Ansari, who learnt the tricks of the trade and popular Tosha Biryani in Versova, tells us his garam masala, that he learnt to make from a bawarchi in Raigad, is his success secret.
Mutton samosas at Shahi Pakwan
If you’re daunted by the location, the mutton cutlets at Shahi Pakwan in Mira Road (east) will ensure you forget the distance. Although it offers a variety of cuisines from Mughlai, desi Chinese to North Indian, its biggest draw is the wide array of Ramadan dishes.
Mutton Samosas. Pic/Sameer Markande
“You should come at 4 am (pre dawn meal) when we have more than 20 dishes including mutton khichda (Rs 110), kheema (Rs 75), firni (Rs 35), and malpuva laden with rabdi (Rs 120),” says owner Abdul Aziz, who set up the 100-seater eatery four years ago.
Although the restaurant sees a steady flow of Muslims during this season, it has an equally large non-Muslim clientele, who line up for takeaways. The demand for the mutton cutlets and mutton samosas, both priced at Rs 15, surpasses the haleem. “We prepare about 1,000 cutlets and samosas per day, and they fly off the shelves,” says the 40-year-old.
Malai Drum and Dal Gosht at Janata
The narrow road of LBS Marg near Kalpana Cinemas in Kurla West is a hotspot for anyone looking to treat their tastebuds. There is one restaurant that stands out from the rest: Janata (Tawa & Grill). And this one is open till 4 am.
The dishes to try are the Malai Drum (Rs 200 per plate, 4 pieces) which is four leg pieces drenched in a platter of thick, white, masaledar malai. No meal that includes jeera rice or rotis, can be complete without a sumptuous serving of dal. A thick yellow dal brewed with pieces of mutton in it, Janata’s Dal Gosht (Rs 180) is one to savour, even by itself.
North of Janata, right at the end of the queue of restaurants and bang opposite Kalpana Cinemas, is a JJ Jalebi stall. Their jalebis (Rs 60 for 250 gm + Rs 50 for a bowl of rabidi) are crispy hot, and are very much required after a heavy carnivorous meal. This, dipped into their cold, sweet, rabidi, is nothing less than sinful.
WHERE: Kurla West, LBS Marg, near Kalpana Cinema