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Mid-day madness

At noon daily, Nariman Point comes alive with the aromas of fish curry-rice, biryani, Mumbai-style sandwiches and greasy, crisp dosas. Chesta Wadhwani savours...

india Updated: Mar 17, 2009 18:25 IST
Chesta Wadhwani

At noon every weekday, Vidhan Bhavan Marg Road in Nariman Point comes alive with the aromas of fish curry-rice, biryani, Mumbai-style sandwiches and greasy, crisp dosas.

At lunchtime, this otherwise-quiet commercial hub transforms into a bustling khau gully with office-goers gorging on the
fish biryanis, spicy chaat, deep-fried pakodas, fruit salads and truckloads of street food fare.

Going by the insane energy of this jam-packed lane, the scorching sun, certainly doesn’t deter either the fastidious stall owners (who sit under colourful umbrellas) or the famished, formally dressed executives to break loose and eat nonstop.

Biryani bahar
The salivating biryanis by Ajay Singh at the corner of the road is the star of the gully. His egg biryani is immensely popular. The massive degchis with piles of spicy chicken and the prawn biryani makes the whole affair resemble an elaborate buffet. For a quick bite, the Ravi Kumar’s stall next door serves delicious burji sandwiches with all kind of sauces.

The entire lane has about 10-15 stalls, with some being a permanent fixture for three to four years. The dosawallah Venkat, who has a stall at the extreme corner of the lane, doesn’t have a minute to spare. With the help of his smiling assistant, he lays out the thick batter and whips up Manchurian and rawa masala dosas in minutes. There’s Manchurian dosa, onion, Mysore masala and more. The poison here is the orange chutney he serves with the dosa.. absolutely lip-smacking.

Shyam, the paranthawalla, right next to the dosa stall is a popular guy. His ghee-laden paranthas served with aloo ki sabzi and tamarind chutney are a hit with the women. And amidst all the eating, cries of the chaatwallah and the juice seller, shouting crazy slogans “Aao mast juice piyo.. thande ho jao..” rent the air.

Jhunka Bhakhar time
The options are endless: there are idlis, bajiya pavs, papaya and watermelon salads to appease one and all. And then there are the jhunka bhakhar outlet that burn no hole in the pocket. While Sachin Jhunka Bhakar outlet that specialises in only veg items, Aaswad Jhunka Bhakar outlet that takes pride in its Malawani, Konkani, and Punjabi fare.

At Sachin’s pav bhaji is the bestseller. And given in, that the whole shack is occupied, the office canteens sure miss the madness. Jeera rice, vegetable pulaos, five different kinds of raitas, gajar ka halwa, custards and the regular thalis— all at a very cheap price, make this outlet, a rather preferred joint.

Paranthas and more
At the Aaswad Jhunka Bhakar outlet, most tables have the place’s specialty: omelette with parantha, pickle and extra serving of onions. The owner, a woman, dressed in a simple saree spends the whole day taking orders and suggesting prawn curries know her customers by name. They all smile as soon as they step in for a simple lunch.. the outlet like other stalls shuts by 6 pm. “I started it about 10 years ago.. and I am loving every moment of this chaos..,” she smiles.