Amidst the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, right in the heart of Lower Parel at Kamala Mills, finally a space where you can toast the old times and celebrate the new! Welcome to The Bombay Canteen, an Indian Café and Bar that promises you an exciting journey on a plate (and in a glass), albeit in a refreshing new avatar. Possibly this year’s most awaited restaurant, The Bombay canteen is started by Top Chef Masters’ winner Floyd Cardoz, who brings his signature mark to the food served with retro Hindi film tunes that hum sweetly in a nostalgic, old Bombay-style fit-out.
I have heard such good reviews about this less than a quarter-old restaurant, but never got the chance to visit. The visit finally happened on a Friday afternoon, when my lovely team decided to leave the #FridayTeamRitual venue decision upon me, and I chose Bombay Canteen without thinking much.
Taking inspiration from cultural cues and eating habits like sharing various sized portions around the dining table, The Bombay Canteen has introduced the Chintus, Chhotas, Badas and Patialas – a selection of mini, small, large and extra-large dishes intended to be shared at your table. Each dish on the menu has a story to tell. The space has been artfully created, rich in warm wood and muted earth tones, offset by the traditional patterned tiles and low walls, reminiscent of the old Bombay.
My recommendation is that you pair the innovative dishes with an alcoholic or a non-alcoholic drink. The drinks here include classic cocktails such as sours and fizzes that have been given a whole new lease of life with a touch of Indian flavours, and a selection of reimagined Colonial Punches.
We reached The Bombay Canteen at 1 pm and the place was full, but we got our table in less than five minutes. After flipping through the quirky menu and being highly impressed with the variety, we decided to start off with the Desi Tacos (3 methi theplas topped with refried rajma & charred Shimla mirch salsa). This was Bombay Canteen’s very own desi twist to the famous tacos and was an awesome start to our gastronomic journey. So light on the palette, the rajma-thepla combo surprised me on every bite and the crunchy chewda topping just added to the magical start. You could either choose Rajma or go for thepla topped with pork vindaloo or chettinad chicken.
The next was the Black Pepper Prawns. Served with some grilled nimbu, the prawns were well marinated and rightly cooked. Though I know that the dish is called ‘Black Pepper’ Prawns and the pepper was adding good crunch to the dish, I found the dish to be a li’l too peppery. The size of the prawns was really impressive, but paying about 500 bucks for four pieces of overly peppery prawns was kind of a bummer.
The next was the Teekha Meetha Chicken Wings (With jaggery & nimbu glaze). This was a complete flavor riot and one of everyone’s favorite.
Next up was the Brown Butter & Green Chilli Dosa. As unusual as it sounds, this was again very innovative and different. Normally when you think Masala Dosa, you think dosa filled with spicy potatoes. But this one was stuffed with grilled shimla mirch, turai, ashgourd & potato chilli fry. I leave it upto you to imagine how awesome this dish was!
After devouring on the innovative dosa, it was time for Tava Chicken Kothu Roti. Served with spicy cabbage slaw, coconut gravy & single fried egg, this was so light on the palette and at the same time so rich on flavors. The Tava Chicken Kothu Roti was clearly the star of our gastronomic journey.
I was told, dishes such as the Seafood Bhel and the Nargisi “Scotch Egg” were some of the creations to look out for. While I didn’t try the Nargisi Scotch Egg, we did order for the Seafood Bhel, which is served with kairi-date chutney & sev. I had some expectations about this dish, after listening to so many fellow bloggers talking about this dish, but for a seafood lover like me, this was plainly okay and didn’t fit in well with The Bombay Canteen’s list of innovative dishes.
Next was the Kheema Bheja Ghotala (served with soft cooked egg). I’m not really a mutton fan, but I really liked this one. The meat which melted in my mouth was nicely paired with butter roasted Pao.
Like most of the sections in the menu, the sweet dish section too, with quirky dishes like Masala Chai Popsicles to a Coffee Rasgulla, got us confused while selecting the ‘happy ending’ to our gastronomic journey. But what really caught our eyes immediately was the Gulab Nut- which could be the next big thing in the fusion dessert industry. This was a Gulab Jamun Doughnut, dipped in some old monk flavored sugar syrup and topped with pista cream. We totally loved Bombay Canteen’s version of Gulab Jamun and this was a perfect twist-y end to our meal.
All in all, warm hospitality, efficient service and an inimitable space to match, this Indian Café and Bar, has everything you need to have a good time.