The Arabian bites
The surge in Mediterranean restaurants confirms that Mumbaikars have been warming up to the cuisine. On World Hummus Day, here's introducing you to the best versions of the Levantine dip
Is kung pao chicken experimental? It could well be. In fact, even a decade ago, you'd be considered gutsy for ordering the dish and probably also be the odd one out among a batch of safe players who could have opted for anything between butter chicken and gobi manchurian. Things are different today. How else does one explain the opening of eight major standalone restaurants, all located in prime neighbourhoods, and all of them Mediterranean?
But in 2004, Moshe's was the first of its kind, and it became a sort of icon in the city when it came to Middle Eastern food. Today, Moshe Shek, its owner, is thrilled to hear that there is in fact something called World Hummus Day.
"I had no idea that there's a day dedicated to hummus, but I think it's fabulous because it only means that hummus has taken over the world! It's a great dish and so simple to make. I often teach it in my studio and it's interesting, because there are so many myths around it. Hummus deserved this place," he shares, adding that it's heartening to see Mumbaikars take a liking to the cuisine. But is it disappointing to be pioneers, and yet, out of the race just when Mediterranean cuisine is having its moment in the sun? "There were some legalities that have run their course, and by the end of this year, I will be back," Shek reveals. Until then, here's where you can enjoy the Middle Eastern dip.
"We serve the traditional chickpea hummus with tahini. Though there are multiple variations now, we decided to stick to the authentic flavour," Neeti Goel, owner of a newly opened Central Asian, restaurant says. Here, the Levantine dip comes as part of the mezze platter (R375).
At Ostaad, Kamala City, Lower Parel.
Time 12 pm to 4 pm; 7 pm 1.30 am
Getting avo control
"Our avocado hummus [R329] is a combination of chickpea, handpicked hass avocado, garlic and a sprinkle of sumac powder. It is delicious, hits all the right notes and is perfect for someone looking to eat a wholesome and healthy meal," says Sameer Sanghvi, who owns this all-vegetarian eatery in Girgaum.
At Happy House Kitchen, Kilachand Garden, Walkeshwar Road.
Time 11 am to 12 am
More the merrier
Choose from veg (R475) or non-veg (R515) mezze platter at this casual dining place that also has many variants of hummus on offer, such as, edamame, asparagus, chipotle and pumpkin. Owner Prashant Chaudhri elaborates on the health benefits of the dish, "With high levels of fibre and protein, it makes for a great snack for those seeking to lose weight. In addition, it is low in saturated fats and helps improve skin conditions, control cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels."
At Fable (all outlets).
Time 9 am to 1.30 am
Call 8291027766 (Powai)
From the Levant
At this fine-dine, hummus is available in many colours that celebrate the myriad authentic versions of the dish, like hummus Beiruty (Rs 600), which is topped with marinated cherry tomatoes and hummus lahme (Rs 750), which comes garnished with minced lamb, pomegranate molasses and roasted pine nuts. "We have all the glories of the eastern Mediterranean cuisine on offer and hummus is a favourite. Whether it's the classic hummus or the ethnic hummus Beiruty or our signature hummus lahme, they are all a treat," Arja Sridhar, its owner, tells us.
At Rue Du Liban, Sassoon Building, Kala Ghoda.
Time 7 pm to 12 am
Mezze mein jiyo
Make the most of hummus in different avatars like red pepper, basil and jalapeno by ordering the hummus platter (R300) at this café. Its chef, Nikhil Ganacharya shares, "Hummus has a high nutritional value and is rich in protein. Plus, you can play around with the dish, and curate it in ways such that it can serve as a snack with chips or accompany vegetables and meats for a healthier option."
At Le Café, near Natraj Cinema, Chembur East.
Time 9 am to 12 am
It's all about sharing
"Our hummus platter [R325] comprises a selection of the dip in different versions. While we played with flavour, we also tried to ensure that authenticity was maintained. So, for the health factor, we added avocado, paprika to please patrons with spicy taste buds, and pesto, for an Italian twist," explains Shadi Shami, chef at this SoBo eatery, while speaking about the spread that comprises variants like pesto, avocado, chilli and Beiruty.
At Arbab, 28th Road, Bandra West.
Time 7 pm to 1 am
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A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli