Blogger turned author Kalyan Karmakar gives us the lowdown on the city’s underrated restaurants.
Popular city food blogger Kalyan Karmakar has spent a lifetime being obsessed with food. In his recently launched book The Travelling Belly, he takes the reader on a delectable journey through the Mumbai’s crowded lanes as he distinguishes the good, the bad and the ugly multifarious urban foodscapes. While these quiet corners aren’t as celebrated or known, Kalyan says that these handpicked restaurants offer meals worth remembering. We got the food blogger to investigate the city’s hidden gems to unearth culinary havens for the foodie.
Sadichha, Bandra East,
Sadichha may not be as well-known as Highway Gomantak but it has it’s loyal set of fans. The Malvani restaurant is clean, but is always crowded, thanks to a list of lipsmacking dishes on the menu. “I visited this restaurant for the first time when I was in the vicinity for work. This has been one of my best discoveries ever since I have stepped in at Sadichha for work,” explains Kalyan. The ever-so helpful owners have earned brownie points from Kalyan. While the seafood thalis are a favourite here, Kalyan recommends to opt for the Bombay Duck fry, and vade, which are Maharastrian puris. “Their food has always been fresh. I have never fallen ill after eating here.”
Snowflakes, Dhobi Talao
While Dhobi Talao in Mumbai is famous for housing Kyani & Co., the family-run Snowflake restaurant isn’t to be missed by those who love pork. “This tiny place is has a quiet lazy vibe to it, but you wouldn’t mind it once you enter the restaurant,” informs Kalyan. What makes this a favourite for Kalyan is the home-like vibe that the place lends. He recommends trying the chicken cutlets and pork sorportel. He says, “Everything on the menu is home-styled. The pork sorportel and vindaloo, for instance, are less oily as compared to, say, New Martins at Colaba.”
Cafe Colony, at Dadar East
Cafe Colony may not be the first name that pops up when you think of a Parsi restaurant, but Kalyan maintains that it remains one of the most underrated places in the city.
Approximately 80 years old, the Irani provision store and café run by the Aga Family remains a local favourite. Even as Irani restaurants have bit the bait and introduced popular cuisines on their menu, Café Colony has stuck to traditional Persian recipes.
“The kheema (minced meat curry) is fresh, and not as runny as you’d find elsewhere. Even the omlettes are perfect. The bun-maska comes with a generous sprinkling of sugar,” he explains.
Sai Balaji Stall in Bandra East
While Udupi restaurants are known for their South Indian fare, Kalyan’s go-to for South Indian fix remains the humble Sai Balaji Stall run by a Tamilian couple, Pandyan and Gomati. “Every morning, Pandyan fries medu vadas and dal vadas. The dosas served may be Udupi restaurants are crispy but the couple makes smaller, fatter dosas. Even the sambar here is tangy and has a spicier kick to it — very different from your Udupi sambar which can get overwhelmingly sweet at times,” informs Kalyan. He recommends visiting the stall for a dosa by afternoon, but not later than 3 pm. “The couple packs up as soon as they are through with their first batch, by 3 pm. Visiting the stall early afternoon is the best bet to avoid any disappointments,” advises Kalyan.