A version of this review was originally published on Lettuce Review.
Frankly, a restaurant opens in Mumbai every fortnight but not many create a stir and a haul as anticipatory as The Bombay Canteen, which recently opened in Kamla Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Opened by returning New York chef Floyd Cardoz and Thomas Zacharias, the simplicity and intricate ‘Indian-ness’ of it all comforted us as we dug into our delicious staple food.
The menu resembles registers we scribbled on, commencing our tryst with everything Indian, as we observe buzzing tables and bar stools on a Tuesday evening. We spot Rahul Akerkar of Indigo being ushered in, as we perched ourselves atop their high chairs and browsed through their intrinsically Indian menu. Kept interesting and intriguing, the menu is not a barrage of endless pages with overbearingly “creative” dishes as seen in most restaurants, which just seem to try too hard.
The dishes aren’t, of course, your usual butter chicken and dal makhani, as the chef took an Indian road trip to discover dishes that define India, right from a Mallu drumstick soup, to a Tamil kuthu roti, and signature street dishes from the interiors of India have been thrust under the spotlight of the South Bombay fine dining scene.
Rarely seen at other Indian restaurants, you are served from an assortment ofchintus, more like farsan or chaknas, which are priced at 40 Rs (.62 USD), while you wait for the main course. The multigrain khichdi comes with the masaal daan (spice box) carrying an assortment of pickles, chutney, onions, and more. followed by the must try-Arugula salad. Paneer bhurji comes with pao, a Parsi typical, nudging me to stop writing and dig into this creative play of simple dishes. The food is exactly ghar-ka-khana (good, home-cooked food), as we try dish after dish without feeling heavy or bloated.
If someone comes to Bombay, this is one place I would really want to take them. Not because it’s totally Bombay, but because it’s completely Indian, in a city that celebrates and shelters the diversity which we call India.
Must try: Mallu drumstick soup, Kuthu roti, Paneer bhurji, and Gulab nut.
What to wear: Smart casuals.
Cost for two: 1500 Rs (23.30 USD), excluding alcohol and taxes.
Foodie tales from the modern Indian. Lettuce Review is a weekly capsule of food fables from the Indian subcontinent, our culture and hospitality. Join us as we give insights into our country, break myths about our cuisine, while welcoming you this colourful land of diversity! Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.