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Grand Trunk Call: Taftoon’s food is from all over, but retains focus

This new restaurant at Bandra-Kurla Complex focuses on cuisines from along the Grand Trunk Road but in a modern and stylish setting.

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 10:01 IST
Raul Dias
Raul Dias
Hindustan Times
Taftoon,Grand Trunk,Traditional food
Taftoon at BKC, Mumbai, servies cuisisnes from the Grand Trunk Road, but is thankfully lacking in the kitschy decor that usually accompanies restaurants serving food of a particular region or community.(Aalok Soni/ Hindustan Times)
  • WHERE: Ground Floor, Unit 2, Naman Centre, G Block, BKC, Bandra East
  • WHEN: 11 am to 12:30 am
  • COST: About Rs 3,500 for two, with one cocktail each
  • CALL: 2653-0253 / 6565-6100
  • RATING: 3.5 / 5

At first glance, Taftoon seems like yet another BKC eatery that the office lunch crowd has discovered with a vengeance. Inspired by the food along the Grand Trunk Road, which runs from Chittagong in Bangladesh to Kabul in Afghanistan, it serves everything from Kashmiri to Rampuri cuisine.

But there are none of the themed clichés in the décor. The slightly cramped space is devoid of the usual brass elephants / horses / camels. Instead, a neutral palette dominates, bringing plenty of natural light streaming through its floor-to-ceiling windows. This makes the overhead phalanx of pendant lights seem almost redundant.

The Bihar-Jharkhand staple litti chokha gets a contemporary makeover with mashed potatoes, smoky eggplant bharta and coal-baked wheat dumplings. (Aalok Soni / HT Photo)

Taftoon is packed the day we visit and we are quickly offered a seat at the bar, with cocktail recommendations rattled off by an enthusiastic bartender. The Botanic Blend is weak. We seek in vain the promised lavender-rosemary-infused gin. A free replacement arrives and the jammy, vodka-based Buzzed Murabba packs a tasty mango punch, leaving behind a tart hint of tamarind and salt.

A taftoon is a kind of leavened, milk-yoghurt-and-egg-based Persian bread. It shows up in the taftoon pe harissa, and is accompanied by gucchi, pulled lamb and chicken. (Aalok Soni / HT Photo)

The restaurant is named after the leavened, milk-yoghurt-and-egg-based Persian bread that’s kissed with a hint of saffron. The bread shows up in our taftoon pe harissa, a platter of coin-sized harissa-smeared taftoon disks, with various toppings. The gucchi is paté-like, the pulled lamb and truffle-scented chicken go perfectly with our complimentary Kashmiri kahwa.

Referencing the hearty Bihar-Jharkhand staple, Taftoon’s litti chokha is a happy threesome of mustard-tempered mashed potatoes, smoky eggplant bharta and coal-baked wheat dumplings — all topped with a drizzle of pure ghee. Our other main, the bataer mussalam features a whole quail cooked in a rich, Awadhi, tomato-almond gravy that’s heavy on both taste and kewra water. We pair it with a crisp Raampuri paratha and happily mop up every last spoonful.

Among the standout picks at Taftoon is the bataer mussalam — a whole quail cooked in a rich, Awadhi tomato-almond gravy. (Aalok Soni/ Hindustan Times)

For dessert, we take a detour to Kashmir for the shufta, a thick dry-fruit, apricot and nut stew perfumed with saffron and cardamom. It’s accompanied by a quenelle of mango ice-cream sitting atop a crumbly biscuit – a winner. We’d happily journey miles for food like this. Mercifully, BKC is just a short ride away.

(HT reviews anonymously and pays for all meals)

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 20:40 IST