Princess Nalli Nihari... A Royal Indian Feast at Gallops, Mumbai

Most landmarks in our family are characterised by food, travel and taking a break from work. Seems like our eight anniversary today is only going to be about food.

We went to Gallops for lunch. Gallops is really a special occasion place with its old world charm and exceptionally good service. Chandeliers, leather backed chairs, high ceilings, heavy wooden doors and waiters who keep an eye open to ensure that your side dish doesn't reach you without the main course and that there is a finger bowl by your side the moment you are done with the gravy, all are part of the Gallops experience.

As is staring lazily at the green race course through the boughs of the trees through the huge windows. Gallops is at the famous Mahalaxmi Race Course after all. An oasis of green peace in the middle of the concrete desert of Central Bombay. This is particularly a treat during a wet monsoon afternoon. (And no, you don't have to be a member of the race course to eat here)

Birthday celebrations, Valentine's nights, wedding dinners (and a guest list which didn't reach double digits) ... Gallops has been a big part of our lives together. It was an apt place to go to for our anniversary. Shared memories. And new discoveries. And wonderful food as always. A good suggestion from the wife.

And I am not speaking metaphorically when it comes to new discoveries. Gallops earlier meant continental highlights such as prawn thermidor (A MUST HAVE), liver pate, batter fried prawns, roast pork and double chocolate deserts to us.

And then we discovered the Indian fare at Gallops. If the continental dishes are sublime then the Indian fare here is regal and epic.

The shammi kebabs are definitely the best in town. They take time to come to your table, especially for a starter but are worth every minute of the wait. Juicy, mushy, squishy ... Mills and Boons meets a gossip rag.

And then there is the nalli nihari. A dish which I strongly think should be brought out on a cavalcade of elephants accompanied by royal pomp and fanfare. It is a dish meant for a Mughal Emperor and not mere mortals like us. Lamb shanks which are huge and yet soft as candy floss, a gentle giant. You get six to a plate and you would need the five Pandavas to finish it... and their half brother Karna too. Three people can make a meal out of this with rotis. It is served in an astonishingly delicate sauce, creamier than the best of silks. We are not too fond of curries in most Indian restaurants in Mumbai. The gossamer gravy of the nalli nihari at Gallops is an exception.

A nice malpua with rabri is a good way to finish an Indian feast here. The malpuas are light, slightly crisp and sweetened just right in a perfect marriage with the milky, calm and cool rabdi. The harmony of crunch and cream.

Note: My trouser waistline wants to put in its two bits and says "you ate too much".

(A main dish, two soft drinks, rotis and a dessert come to Rs 750 odd or 15 USD and is enough for two and the doggy at home)

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