Think Mumbai and what comes to your mind?
Chances are it will be seafood especially if you are a food lover. .
What else comes to your mind?
A city that is a motley melting pot of cultures and races?
Fort, the erstwhile Central Business District in South Mumbai is where both these associations intrinsic to Mumbai come together. Fort is dotted with little eateries which represent the folks from the various provinces of India who have worked here. Khao Gulleys for batata vada, pao bhaji, bhel puri, Mysore cheese masala Schezwan dosa, cutting chai from the streets of Mumbai, local Gomantak seafood restaurants, Udipi vegetarian restaurants, Mangalorean lunch homes, Keralite Muslim restaurants, sweet shops dishing jalebis, lassis and kachoris from UP and Punjab in the North and of course the Parsi restaurants, Irani cafes and bakeries. It is a pan Indian food festival at Fort every afternoon.
Now what happens when you take the seafood that Mumbai so loves and put it into Fort, the proverbial melting pot of cultures?
A seafood walk?
How does this sound to you? A walk which starts with a spicy Keralite coconut milk kissed fish curry mopped up with indulgent porotas from the Malabar coast.
Then heading down to a humble local Gomantak eatery where people queue up to eat to have Mumbai’s and it’s favourite son, Sachin Tendulkar’s, much loved Bombil fry or fried Bombay Duck washed down with the addictive sol kadi so typical of the Western coast of India.
From Kerala and the Malvan we move to Mangalore for some pungent fish gassi which British food writer and Iron Chef Judge, Simon Majumdar, makes a beeline for the moment he lands in Mumbai at a restaurant which both him and I just love. If you had the Keralite fish curry with porotas then the Mangalorean prawn gassi is best paired with gossamer soft neer dosas. With this another dish to try is the scrumptious butter pepper garlic dishes typical to the Mangalorean restaurants of Mumbai and my favourite is the version with squids.
Keralite fish curry, fried Bombay duck, prawn gassi, squid butter pepper garlic, porotas, neer dosas….too stuffed…remember this is a tasting and plus this is a walk and as doctor’s will tell you there’s never enough of the good Omega stuff to pump your system with. So let’s walk on some more.
So we walk onto our last stop to taste a dish that all Parsis will give their right arm for, though not a ride on their Yezdis perhaps. This is the legendary Patrani machhi. Pomfret, the king of the Arabian sea, loved by Parsis and Mahahrashtrians with equal fervour. The patrani machhi is the one dish that makes or breaks a Parsi laganu bhonu (wedding feast) and is discussed for years that followed by those who ate at a wedding. The pomfret is steamed in banana leaves in a coconut, coriander and chilly paste marinade and is the piece de resistance of any Parsi feast. This is what we end our Fort seafood tasting with. The Patrani machhi is best had with soft ghee soaked rotlis, the Parsi version of chapatis.
So If unravelling the treasures of the Arabian Sea and the many tastes of India right here in the heart of Mumbai works for you then do come in and join this Fort Seafood Finely Chopped Walk.
Date: 25th January 2014, Saturday
Timing: 11.30 am to 2 pm
Start Point: The Bombay Stores. Fort, DN Road
Things to get: Camera, phone, hand sanitizer, a big appetite.
Planned food stops: Around 4
Inclusions: Stops at some of my favourite restaurants and cafes. Mix of cuisines and communities for that’s what Mumbai is all about…local Gomantak, Parsi, Keralite and Mangalorean seafood delights. The tastings will from a menu that will be selected basis my past experiences at these restaurants. We will space out the food to make sure that you don’t miss out on any dish. Bottled water included. Not soft drinks. Eating will be at the participant’s risk. No responsibilities on the food. The ‘walk’ will cover essentially 3,4 lanes around Bombay Stores.
Cost: Rs 2000 per head (inclusive of the tastings)
So catch you at Fort.