Hungry for the 1990s? Here’s where to eat
A few restaurants in Mumbai that shone in 1990s are still as good as you remember.weekend Updated: Feb 25, 2017 15:18 IST
Gallops has been riding over newspaper speculations of its closure for a decade. They still serve north Indian and ‘Conti’ food with a view of the race tracks like they did 30 years ago. “Our clients are the same as they were decades ago,” says Gangadhar, senior manager. Parsis, and international visitors drop in for prawn cocktail, chicken a la Kiev, baked Alaska, and lots more from the 21-page menu.
The food is consistent because Gallops’ cooks and servers are fiercely loyal. One head cook has been there for 20 years, some staffers have been there for 27. There is a table by the French windows that’s perfect for a rum and cola at Gallops when it’s raining. And diners come from Colaba, Andheri and with the freeway now Chembur too. “It’s not like these places don’t have restaurants,” says Gangadhar
Where: Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mahalaxmi. Call 3015-1130
Still tastes good: Dori kebab in mutton and chicken, paya and nalli, jalebi cheesecake, prawn thermidor, chicken a la Kiev, chocolate truffles with whisky ice cream.
When Ramesh Purshottam Potnis was passed over for a promotion at work in 1992, he didn’t think twice about what to do next. He opened Highway Gomantak. His wife, Shashikala, was locally famous for her family’s Gomantak recipes. So they set up four folding tables in their highway-facing Bandra East garden, and got to work.
It was a family venture from the start, Shashikala’s brothers (one a PhD in pharmaceuticals, another an engineer) waited tables sometimes. Today the restaurant is busy, but there is no distinction between the home and restaurant kitchen. Ingredients are still bought fresh every morning. And classics get a seasonal twist in summer, the prawns sukke gets a dash of raw mango.
Where: 44/2179, Gandhi Nagar, Service Road, Bandra (E). Call 2640-9692
Still tastes good: Bombil fry, bangda tikhle, surmai curry.
In 1925, 11 Bank Street housed Cafe India, an Irani cafe serving kheema pao and brun maska chai. Then owner Aspi Irani decided to convert it into a restaurant for lagan nu bhonu, the food of Parsi weddings. “The only Irani thing on the menu now is berry pulao,” says the owner’s nephew Sherzad Irani who manages Jimmy Boy. Their menu has Parsi favourites like patra ni machchi and an egg section with Bharuchi akoori. JB added a bakery section seven years ago. “The owners are bakers by blood,” says Irani.
Where: Vikas Building, 11 Bank Street, Off Horniman Circle, Fort. Call 2266-2503
Still tastes good: Patra ni machhi, mutton berry pulo, saas ni machhi.
In 1996, the Taj President replaced its north Indian restaurant Gulzar with one serving homestyle coastal food. For years, the masala paste for the fish curry came from the mother of the now-retired chef Ananda Solomon, until he got the hang of it.
“We started out serving Goan food,” says chef Uddipan Chakravarty. “But slowly included the food of the Konkan coast.” Two renovations later, Konkan Café looks like a traditional Kerala bungalow. The food – sol kadi, fried crisps, veg and meat thalis and raw mango curry – still tastes the way old timers remember it.
Where: Vivanta by Taj, President 90, Cuffe Parade. Call 022 6665 0808
Still tastes good: Thalis, latande ki bhaji, maanga kozhambu, fish tawa fry, kombdi vade, appam and attirachi ishtew (moplah mutton stew).
Khyber opened in 1958, but burned down in 1984. When it reopened in 1988, it was the only restaurant in the world with interiors by Parmeshwar Godrej and paintings by MF Husain and Anjali Ela Menon. It had decadent, full flavoured North-West Frontier cuisine. “It was Godrej’s first public project,” says owner Sudhir Bahl. “She created lots of energy around it.”
Everyone wanted to eat at Khyber: expats, families, business owners, professionals. They still come for kebabs, raan, and navratan korma and new additions like tandoori raan, coriander prawns and lamb chops. Bahl’s son, Ishaan opened 145 Kalaghoda upstairs last year to cater to younger people. “Kids grow up, start going to bars, and to eat Mediterranean food,” says the senior Bahl. “Then they get married and come back to Khyber.”
Where: 145, Kala Ghoda. Call 6665-0808
Still tastes good: Raan, paneer korma, tandoori pomfret, butter chicken.