Review: Indulge in lip-smacking street-side flavours of Mumbai at Juhu’s newly-opened restaurant, Bambai

Juhu has no dearth of chic cafes and restaurants that offer excellent coffee and Instagram-worthy dishes

Priyanka ChandaniUpdated: Sunday, January 22, 2023, 12:37 PM IST
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Juhu has no dearth of chic cafes and restaurants that offer excellent coffee and Instagram-worthy dishes. But the newly opened Bambai is different from the rest with its focus on making itself the one-stop place for authentic local food of Mumbai. Located on Juhu Tara Road, it boasts of quiet and brightly lit cosy corners.

The design and aesthetics of Bambai are minimal, calming and welcoming. Stark whites, creamy browns and bursts of blue adorned with some beautiful wall art depicting Mumbai’s local life — Bal Thackeray, Gateway of India, shooting camera, Amitabh Bachchan’s famous Coolie poster, Best bus, sea and sand alongside a fish seller. As we entered, the huge artwork of a traditional tea kettle paired with the inscription ‘Ek cutting chai’ quickly made us order one along with crispy Kothimbir Vadi. We took a quick tour of the place before settling down at a table right beside the small kitchen. While our order was in the making we checked out some of the old photographs of old Bombay hanging on the other side of the wall.

We began the sampling session with traditional Pani Puri that came in an interesting corn stand with small bowls for chutneys and mava. The restaurant manager, Saif Ahmed, informed us that all dishes were made with traditional ingredients and style. We moved to their appetiser menu and picked up Pao Bhaji fondue, which was served like cheese fondue, again, full marks on serving. The crisp pao pieces, small papad and potato wedges to be dipped in the bhaji perfectly complemented the bhaji.

Helmed by Chef Anees Khan and Chef Ritesh Tulsian, the menu here is inspired by the chefs’ own experiences during their travel to Mumbai. Each dish is a result of chefs’ various backstories. Bringing local food under one roof, both chefs have curated the dishes that are consumed in households of Mumbai or on streets of Mumbai. Chef Ritesh, who is also a consultant chef, has created a variety of Iranian dishes that highlight the classic flavours of Iranian cuisine that are still consumed in southern Mumbai. Try the Irani Raspberry Soda, it brings back the memories of sitting in an Irani restaurant.

Chef Anees, a seasoned pâtissier, has curated some of his best confectioneries for the restaurant.

In their attempt to serve the street food that’s popular across the city and its suburbs, they serve the popular dish from Ulhasnagar — Butter Papdi Chaat. The butter as in the round, crisp biscuit that we get in a bakery that sells khari biscuit is served slit in the middle and filled with the usual sev puri stuff like onion, tomato, sev, topped with dahi and chutneys. Perfect to satiate a chaat craving.

We also tried the Lasun Chana Fry, a flavourful combination of chickpeas with spices and garlic lobes inpired by the Bhiwandi dhabas, and Naanizzas, a version of pizza using naan as a base, with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. We chose Tandoori Paneer from an illustrious list including Simple Cheese, Mushroom Keema, Bhatti Da Murg. Non-veg eaters should choose the Bhatti da Murg Naanizza.

Non-vegetarians need not worry about options. Kurla Key Kebab Pav, and Mutton Keema Samosa are perfect starters. The chicken kebab in the kebab pav is succulent. There are a host of options for a full meal as well. Choose from regional dishes like Punjabi Chole, Paneer Butter Masala, Veg Biryani, Chicken Curry, Butter Chicken, Baida Tawa Pulao, Chicken Tikka Masala and much more. Their Bread Bazaar section will surprise you with Thecha Humus and Pita Bread, as well as wraps in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.

Don’t forget the dessert, especially Zafrani Berry Shake. You can also choose from Mumbai Ka Chocolate Cake, Masala Chai Chocolate Souffle, Rose Mawa Cake, Warm Apple Crumble Pie.

Average cost for two: `1200

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