Mumbai Food: This coastal seafood experience in Bandra gives true value for money
Ferry Wharf delivers on the coastal seafood experience, all the while staying value for money
There's something about hailing from the Konkan coast, and being a crazy, seafood lover - the association is never far-fetched. Those from this region, who've had the good fortune of witnessing their grandmothers pound spices and coconut on the traditional stone grinder, will still have an impassioned, mouth-watering memory of the fish curries they'd make with the ground masalas. It's with this anticipation and desire to revisit the meals cooked in my grandma's kitchen in Kundapura, Karnataka, that I usually make a dash to any Mangalorean restaurant.
Green masala basa tikki
That's also how we landed at Ferry Wharf, the newly-opened coastal seafood restaurant in Bandra West, on a sultry Saturday afternoon. For someone who totally digs the seafood at Mahesh and Apoorva in South Mumbai, and whose only grouse is being forced to pay through the nose to enjoy a hearty meal, we wanted to see if Ferry Wharf threw up any surprises.
The ambience, to begin with, is light and refreshing. Much of the problem with my favourite seafood eateries in town is the tacky decor - the predictable aquarium brimming with albino sharks and goldfish, loud interiors and cloistered space have never done much for me. While Ferry Wharf doesn't really stand out as a big winner in that department, the ocean blue-grey-mint green walls, ador-ned by coir-framed fish and starfish canvases, wooden replicas of the anchor and glowing lant-erns, make for a cool, family dining experience.
This restaurant has branded itself as one strictly for "seafooders," but it was reassuring to have chicken and mutton on the menu - just in case you don't have a fish-eater in your crowd. What we, however, most liked about the beginning of this gastronomical experience was the sampling platter that came at our table, when we mentioned we were here for the seafood only. Even as we were debating what to pick from the menu, we were treated to six spoonful servings of varied seafood, primarily prawns. We loved almost everything, but found the prawns pickle alarmingly spicy for our taste buds - must mention, we were warned - and the clam sukka tad too sweet. The pomfret gassi was great too, but we couldn't help want more of the prawn ghee roast. Also explains why we placed the order for the main course - prawn ghee roast and neer dosa - before we could check on the starters. That's not how our order came, fortunately.
For the starter course, we opted for the green masala basa tikki (Rs 350). One can't say if it's traditionally Mangalorean, because except for the green masala, this one is unique in preparation as the fish is shallow fried. It's best enjoyed with a sprinkle of a juice of lemon, and it's crispy exterior, is sweetly complimented with the well-cooked fish. The chutney that came with it was equally delicious. Here, we must add that the dish took some time to make an appearance, and had it not been for the samplers, we could have been a hungry lot. Next, we tried the squid butter garlic (Rs 350). We had previously sampled the prawn butter garlic, and so our expectations were really high. Unfortunately, it didn't come close, but the texture of the squid rings felt just right.
The best part about our lunch was the prawn ghee roast (Rs 600) and neer dosa (Rs 30) - it's a good combination, and one that we hadn't tried before. The dosa was light and fluffy, and the prawn, smeared in a red paste, made for a juicy dish. While really full now, it wouldn't have been fair (on us) to not try one of the fish thalis - the restaurant offers three varieties: clam, prawns and surmai. We opted for the surmai thali (Rs 400) and got a methi preparation, two rotis, rice, a tangy saar, along with fried surmai and fish curry. This was the most Mangalorean our meal could get, and the curry, which brought to the mind the meals of our memory, was the perfect end to this satisfying lunch. And, the bill - well, we will never complain again.
Ferry Wharf didn't know we were there. mid-day reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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