You shouldn’t judge a restaurant by its entrance. Mirza Ghalib, the newest Mughlai eatery near Khar station seems like the kind of place you’d visit with an armed escort, but the various random people hanging around the hotel fade away once you step inside and smell the gulabari.
You’re immediately greeted by the plaintive singing of ghazals, courtesy two musicians seated in a corner of the restaurant. The 1980s experience continues when you take in the opulent décor- gold and silver flashes in your face like being inside Ali Baba’s cave. The waiters are eager and excitable, and as you’ll find out a little later, can’t bear to see your plate empty if there’s still some food left on the table. They’ll rush over to pile up your plate, unless you firmly tell them to STOP.
For starters, we order Khatta Meetha Kumb (Rs 185), which we expected to be melt-in-your-mouth bites of cheese-stuffed mushrooms. What we got instead were deep-fried sticky blobs covered in tamarind sauce. Nothing subtle about that. The Sharaabi Kabab (R 235) doesn’t look half as potent as its name, but just one bite revealed the strong flavour of the wine it had been marinated in. Sometimes, you should trust your instinct and not experiment too much- a lesson we learnt as we experienced the full blow of the Imli Ka Chataka (R 65), an oddball concoction with a particularly medicinal aftertaste. Jal Jeera also makes an appearance on the menu, so you wont be stuck with nimbu paani or a Coke alone.
For the main course, we decide on Kheema Boti Sali (Rs 275), a decidedly Parsi sounding dish in this Mughlai joint, to be accompanied by Dal Makhani (Rs 225), that the menu assures us has been cooked overnight. Laced with ghee and fragrant to the point of attracting stares from nearby tables, the dal wipes out any bad memories you’d have of preceding dishes. The kheema isn’t too bad either, though it could do with a few more crunch potato straws on top to tease the texture. Pair your dal with Mirza Ghalib’s near perfect roomali rotis (Rs 40), or if you’ve stopped counting calories, the cheese chilli naan (Rs 95) is worth the bite and adequately sized not to require a second round.
As we pay up, the manager informs us that Citibank customers will get 15 per cent off on their bills from next week. One more reason to return.