The Bombay Canteen
Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel
Meal for two:?Rs 1,800
The Bombay Canteen is Mumbai’s hottest restaurant at the moment. And when we manage to snag a table, it’s easy to see what the media buzz is all about. The water is served from old Rooh Afza bottles, the iced tea comes in jam jars, and the lassi in milk bottles. The posters on the wall are old ads from our childhood; the atmosphere is a mix of nostalgia and trendiness. While the menu is an unusual celebration of regional Indian dishes—street food, a twist on a Goan snack, Gujju theplas with unexpected toppings, multigrain khichdi....
On a hot afternoon we start with the excellent Peach Iced Tea, flavourful strawberry lassi, orange juice garnished with tulsi and watermelon juice (Rs 200 each). Then comes a bada pao sandwich (Rs 250) filled with melt-in-the-mouth tandoori pork. This is a hit, as is the Chargrilled Chilli Calamari (Rs 300). But the starter I adored is the Seafood Bhel (Rs 300)—a punchy chaat tossed with finely sliced vegetables, seafood and sev. The Vegetable Kothu Roti (Rs 350)—a Tamil street food in which a shredded roti is mixed with vegetables, roasted cauliflower, disco pumpkin and then topped with coconut gravy—is a winner. The Kerala-style Red Snapper wrapped in Banana Leaf (Rs 500) is enjoyable too. Only the Shrimp and Kairi Biryani (Rs 600) is disappointing. That, and a sense that the meal is a bit heavy on coconut. As for the desserts, the Old-Monk-soaked Gulab Jamun (Rs 200) is spectacular. The flaky Guava Tart topped with chilli ice-cream (Rs 250) is exemplary. And the St Andrews Mess (Rs 300)—chopped mango, meringue, vanilla ice cream and aam panna—feels like a home experiment gone right.