Mumbai’s hospitality industry seems to be getting a facelift of sorts. After a lounge in Khar, Ren, and a pub, The Hungry Birds (also in Khar), opened this month, there seems to have been a spate of new seafood restaurants. In the last few weeks, three new seafood restaurants have mushroomed in Mumbai — Twisted Fish in Khar, Chaitanya and Mamta D around Prabhadevi.
Even though the popular belief is that fish is best avoided in the monsoon, there seems to be nothing holding these entrepreneurs back. Varun Salian, managing director of Twisted Fish, a new restaurant that is located near Khar (west) railway station insists that the rainy season had nothing to do with his decision to launch the eatery now. “This is a long-term plan for us. Having said that, the footfall for seafood is low right now, but things will get better,” he says. “Once this month passes, I’m sure people will venture out to new seafood restaurants. We’ll also have a lot of north Indian cuisine on offer.”
Surekha Walke (53), who started off with a small takeaway joint, has now expanded her eatery to make way for a 30-seater restaurant. Chaitanya is the latest seafood eatery in Agar Bazaar, Siddhivinayak. She admits, “The problem is that during the rains, fishermen are not encouraged to venture too far, so we can’t get fresh fish like pomfret and mackerel, which have to be fished from the deep sea.”
Most of the fish served at these city restaurants is either imported or preserved in cold storage. “It’s all good fish, I assure you; that is also why we make it a point to inform the customers before serving them fish that is from our cold storage,” says Walke. “But what we do get fresh at this time are prawns, so we recommend those dishes as much as possible.”