Seekh and you shall find
We went on a trail of kebab stalls in Bandra that pop up in the evenings only, and here's the delectable from among them we want to recommend
Bandra. The Queen of the Suburbs. The place where commoners gawk at film stars' houses and where nattily dressed party people buy balloons from impoverished kids. It's also arguably the city's food hub north of Mahim. And outside of celeb favourites, the neighbourhood's gastronomical map is dotted by a few kebab stalls too, which open around sunset and cater to the night owls flying into the area from different parts of the city. We go on a trail of four such places, and it reinforces the fact that real taste doesn't always have to emanate from a fancy kitchen. Often, you can find it on a pavement in the form of juicy pieces of meat being cooked over a charcoal grill.
1 Devoted to serve
The first stop on our trail, after we head west from Bandra East, is Jama Masjid, the ornate place of worship located near the famous Lucky Restaurant. There are a number of small eateries selling Muslim delicacies there that are so greasy, though, that you might think someone drizzled some diesel on them. Of these, Laziz Seekh Kebab Corner is located right next to the mosque and starts selling its wares at 6 pm. There is a basic seating area that can house about 20 people. But the place's USP is its kebab grill placed on the street, which serves people looking for a quick fix after their evening prayers. We try their seekh kebab. Frankly, it isn't the best we've had (they should have gone easy on the salt). But then again, since they are priced at '40 for two sizeable pieces, we aren't really complaining.
At Shop 1, SV Road, near Jama Masjid, Momin Nagar, Bandra Talao, Bandra West.
Time 6 pm to 4 am
2 A creamy pick
We turn left on to Hill Road from Lucky Restaurant for our next destination, Salim's Shahi Sigdi. The pavement stall is located next to A1 Bakery, but was earlier situated further up the road, near St Andrew's Church. The shift seemingly hasn't made a jot of difference to their standards. The place has a bunch of patrons waiting patiently when we arrive, who are testament to its popularity, which is validated in the order of malai tikka kebab ('160) we place.
Each piece is dripping with a creamy flavour and is charred ever so slightly, without the meat being rendered dry. The black bits in fact provide an added layer to the texture and taste, offsetting the malai flavour with the smokiness of charcoal. That's just how we personally like our kebabs to be, and 10 points to this joint for getting the balance spot on.
At 89/B Warden Hall, Hill Road, near A1 Bakery, Bandra West.
Time 7 pm to 1 am
3 Aiming to please
Having launched around five months ago, Al-Kababish is the newest entrant to the scene. The servers thus display a sense of enthusiasm that is presumably aimed at weaning patrons away from competitors with the warmth of hospitality. But the proof of the pudding lies in the eating. So the question is, does the chicken tikka roll ('100) we ask for please our taste buds to the extent that we will return here, ignoring the similar places in the vicinity? Well, it's definitely one of the better ones we have had. The roll makes minimal use of subsidiary condiments like onions and other veggies. The kebabs ensconced in the paper-thin roomali roti are allowed to bask in their own glory. But till we try the stuff at the joint that's just over an arm's length away, we will reserve judgment on whether Al-Kababish is the best in the business in this neighbourhood.
At Anzar Villa, near Yacht, Bandra West.
Time 6 pm to 2 am
Pics/Ashish Raje and Shunashir Sen
4 Old is gold at the end of the day
Ayaz's is a true veteran of sorts. The nondescript stall has been around in the area for over a decade, going on to open other branches in places like Juhu and Andheri. They thus have a certain pedigree, which we test with an order for a kebab that is often easy to get wrong — mutton khiri ('160). You might as well stop reading from this point onwards if the idea of udders makes you queasy. But if you're made of sterner stuff, here's good news. Ayaz's version is, in one word, excellent. Each piece is soft and chewy, without being rubbery. The flavour is almost cheesy, and the texture is such that you wouldn't guess that you were biting into the grilled mammary glands of a goat. The only complaint is that the quantity is such that our order disappears in the blink of an eye. But still, given our experience, Al-Kababish needs to really keep its consistency going if it is to challenge the familiarity that people in the area have about this old favourite.
At Old Rajaram Wadi, Hill Road, Bandra West.
Time 6 pm to 1 am
Sit down and eat
Khane Khas, opposite the wildly popular Mini Punjab's, has a loyal fan base devoted to its tandoori delicacies.
Pal's Fish Corner, as the name suggests, is synonymous with sea food. Go there for their tandoori prawns and pomfret fry.
Out late at night? Head to Sigdi for kebabs, served till 6 am.
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