#MumbaiList: Konkani Cuisine In Mumbai

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Highway Gomantak Sign
Sadiccha, Bandra
Sadiccha, Bandra

Malwani and Gomantak cuisine is often confused, they are actually two distinct food cultures. Malwan is a region in the southern coast of Maharashtra, whereas Gomantak refers to the Goan coastal region. We could broadly categorize them as Konkani. Being Goan myself, I’m touchy about this distinction.

Let’s begin with Malwani food. I was most recently introduced to Malwani Khalwan, a simple little restaurant on the Versova Sea face. The facade has a hard-to-miss mural of an underwater scene. The staff is extremely pleasant and helpful. The best way to enjoy this place is the by eating a thali: either fish, chicken or mutton. I wouldn’t opt for the chicken, but the other two are excellent. I was a little disappointed that Kingfish (surmai) and Pomfret (paplet) are the only fish available in a thali.The others can be ordered separately. Don’t get so lured by the fish that you ignore the delectable vegetarian selection of bhajis. I know this recommendation isn’t exactly Konkani, but when you go here end your meal with a caramel custard, theirs is superlative.

Teesrya Masala,Gajalee Courtesy Finelychopped.net
Teesrya Masala,Gajalee Courtesy Finelychopped.net

Malvani Aaswad is a very small, slightly dodgy looking khanawal located in Vile Parle east. The hygiene might be questionable, as might be the company. As a rule though, if you speak to the server in Marathi and ask what’s fresh you are more likely to have a great meal, than if you look at the menu. Sindhudurg behind Shiv Sena Bhavan is also very popular, and always crowded. It is a hot favourite among the Dadar office crowd.

I know quite a few people who swear by Sadichha, in Bandra East. The menu is a bit odd and interspersed with definitely north India sounding dishes, steer clear. Order the standard fried fish and curry, you won’t go wrong.

Gajalee, Trishna and Mahesh Lunch home have been around for decades and all had somewhat humble beginnings. Early patrons will now grumble that these places have deteriorated since they started serving the rich and the famous. They probably have tweaked Konkani food to better suit the North Indian palette. They aren’t really authentic, nor do they focus on any one culinary region. The food is konkan inspired. But they still manage to draw in a crowd. The same can be said of Jai Hind, near Todi Mills in Lower Parel.

Goa Bhavan Thali, Courtesy www.thisissheena.com
Goa Bhavan Thali, Courtesy www.thisissheena.com

Now coming to my beloved Goan cuisine. I will start with Goa Bhavan, a government guest-house mess tucked away in a residential building in Juhu. For years I refused to share this little secret with anyone, with the aim of keeping it from the throngs. But of course, a good thing cannot be hidden for too long. It is now very popular but has still maintained it’s humble interiors and prices. Don’t expect much in terms of variety, you only get a thali, with a standard fish curry and whatever fish is fresh. This place makes the most authentic sol kadi in the city.

Surmai at Highway Gomantak Courtesy: Spicyfoodguide.blogspot.com)
Surmai at Highway Gomantak Courtesy: Spicyfoodguide.blogspot.com)

Highway Gomantak, located off the highway in Bandra East is one of the (relatively) fancier Gomantak joints. The place is decorated with informative fish charts, that display the biological names, English names and local names of fish. Sets the mood! On any given day you will have to stand in a queue to get in. This place has a pretty extensive menu. Apart from the usual yellow coconut fish curry, they make some rarer preparations like Udamethi ( made with udad dal and methi) and Ambotik (a bright red tangy curry). They make a lovely Kishmur or roasted baby prawn salad. When I come here I always end a meal with Kharwas (a steamed milk pudding).

Gomantak, in Dadar is also another joint which serves very similar food, but definitely does not have as much character as Highway Gomantak or Goa Bhavan.

Now I request you dear readers, all the food I mentioned in this blog post must be eaten in a relaxed, laid back state of mind. Go with stretchy pants, be ready to eat with your fingers and don’t even think of going back to work after your meal. Plan a nice long siesta, so you can burp and belch at ease.

Know of other finger licking good Goan, Malvani or Konkani food joints in Mumbai? Tell we would love to know more. Comment below or mail us at [email protected]

Post By Salonee Gadgil (86 Posts)

I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.

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Salonee Gadgil

Salonee Gadgil
I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.