The oil spill off Juhu’s coast needn’t worry the city’s seafood lovers. Most restaurants in Mumbai insist their business hasn’t been affected, and that thanks to a healthy supply of fish from surrounding areas or overseas, your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids are protected.
“We’ve been ordering fish from Visakhapatnam ever since we had a problem with local fish supply last year,” says Ashok Gowda, manager of the popular seafood diner Mahesh Lunch Home in Juhu. “The only local fish we use are Bombay duck and bangda (mackerel), which we’ve pulled off the menu for the time being. Our other offerings like pomfret, ravas and even tiger prawns are all flown in from other fishing hubs,” he adds.
Chef Jaideep Mukherjee of Indigo Deli says, “We do get questions from our guests, but we inform them that our fish is fresh and flown in from Tamil Nadu.”
He admits the only problem is with the local delicacy, Bombay duck, though they’ve identified suppliers from other parts of India. “Besides, Bombay duck is a deep-sea fish, so it’s not really affected by this oil spill.”
At Trishna in Fort, manager Praful Takle informs that they will be checking the quality of local fish, once Mumbai’s fishing season resumes on August 15.
“The local fishing season has still not begun. So for the monsoon, we’ve been getting fish from Gujarat, Kerala and Visakhapatnam. Once the season starts, we’ll take orders for pomfret, rawas and surmai, and serve them only after thoroughly checking the quality.”
Takle adds that customers are worried about whether the fish they’re eating is contaminated. “But we make it a point to explain where the fish is coming from, so they can be without stress.”
At Koh, the Thai food restaurant at the Intercontinental, Marine Drive, local fish doesn’t have a place on the menu, and all seafood including red snapper, Chilean sea bass and tuna is imported.
Ask the restaurateurs if their business has suffered thanks to the recent incident and they disagree. “We get a good crowd who trust us,” says Gowda. “There is always a drop in business during this period, but it’s because of the fasting season of Shravan and Ramadan. I don’t think it’s related to the oil spill.”