Flash Mob the Bengali way … Tongue Moile at Ainsley’s Grill & More, Bandra

I strongly believe that if you love food then food seeks you out.

Which explains why I am not a food trooper when I am at home. While travelling out of town I go out seeking dishes or food destinations, bursting with nervous energy with naps, and if possible a soak in the hotel tub, thrown in.

At Mumbai I vegetate. Organised eating doesn’t work for me. Plans to seek out places. PR invites for free cakes and ales. Invites to review restaurants. Networking meets. Niet. Even my friends find it difficult to drag me out of my comfort zone to go out in search of food.

The thing with good times, as with good food, is that they just happen. You can’t manufacture them. Plan for them.

This evening  for instance.

I was in a meeting at work towards the end of the day, thinking of the 219 that Sehwag had just scored, when the phone rang. It was Soumik.

“Let’s go to Candies around eight when you are back”.

Now I knew it would be a lark. Candies at Mc Ronnel had turned into a chubby four year old today. To celebrate they were giving a fifty percent discount on all food. So chances of getting anything there was remote.

I headed there in any case. Soumik was there. Romi too.

 As I had expected, the racks at Candies were empty barring four sweet corn soups and some buns.
Quick discussion on next steps and we headed to Ainsley’s Grills & More. The new shop opposite Sante at Pali Market.

We reached there. Placed our orders with the owner Mr Anthony who also runs the restaurant at Bandra Gym.

Ratoola and Surya joined us. We were now five.

The food finally came as things were being cooked on the spot. Ainsley is a take-away joint. But we sat down. There were five of us. We sat on stools and ate in front of the counter. Folks passing by looked at us as this was probably a first.

We started with the tongue moile. An explosive Sehwag like opening. I had expected the yellow curry of the karimeen moilees of every food and travel show featuring Kerala.

Except that this was a thick fiery brownish-red dish.

Moile is East Indian Anthony explained unlike the Keralite Moilee. Moile is a dish made with boiled tongue stir fried in ginger, garlic, white and black pepper, onion and tomato slices and ground Kashmiri chillies for colour. Moilee on the other hand has mustard and coconut milk at its base.

In case you were wondering how I got the details, turns out that the chef at the East Indian Ainsley is Shubhankar Sarkar from West Bengal in the actual east of India. He couldn’t stop talking once he figured out that the five of us were Bengali too.

So we were six Bengalis and one East Indian now.

The tongue moile was spectacular. The meat luscious and seductive as only tongue can be. The East Indians and Goans are the masters of tongue. The dish.

tongue moile

The thick sauce of the moile was slightly tart, slightly sweet with the odd bursts of green chilli heat in between…a symphony of complex notes floating through a street musician’s violin… at that point sitting on plastic stools and stools masquerading as makeshift tables on the street we were privy to possibly the best dinner at Mumbai tonight.

What chance did the chicken cafreal have after the moilet? I have never liked this Goan green (coriander, mint and chilly paste) dish before and today didn’t change anything. It was blink and miss and the only dish that the five of us Bongs didn’t wipe clean with our slices of multigrain (that’s what happens if the girls go to buy the bread) and Thums Up.

chicken cafreal

We chatted away without an agenda…Delhi versus Mumbai…future travel plans…Benares…Sydney… Dirty Picture…Tom Cruise…a touch of ‘PNPC’…Candies…the Upper Crust Show…gymming, walking…the merits of a beard in hiding face flab…future job plans…Sehwag, Sachin, Ganguly … film shoots... caviar and paneer bruschetta jokes around a sangria and champagne party...the sort of languorous aimless adda that is so genetically Bengali. The reason why the proportion of time I spend with people, in real life and in the virtual world, is directly proportionate to their sense of humour.

Shubhankar got our last dish. The beef chilli fry. It didn’t have a hope in hell. We were stuffed. Plus there was the trailblazing start by the Moile that dominated the night.

Yet, we were wowed enough to acknowledge that the Goan Beef chilli had its merits. There was a certain indulgent tenderness to the meat which was a mark of a cow that had lived a happy and full life. The garam masala-led taste tugged at your sleeves to get your attention even though your heart had been won over earlier by the sizzling hot and rather sensual tongue moile.

At the core of the beef chilly fry I was told were ginger, garlic, capsicum, Mallvani masala and some really good meat.
beef chilli fry

The beef chilli stand alone had its merits. But only if you had skipped the tongue.

And no Mr Sibal you needn’t censor any of this.

 IMG02400-20111208-2135 IMG02402-20111208-2136 IMG02403-20111208-2136 IMG02398-20111208-2134Shubhankar and Anthony 


Unknown said…
Not even Florentines in North Goa? Re: your dislike for Chicken Cafreal
Soumik said…
cafreal by definition turns out better with perhaps whole pomfret and to weigh in the coriander-lime-pudina-chilli proportions
Unknown said…
Very tempting. :) No mention of prices?
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Pritam I don't mention prices as these change over time and people might read it later...i think everything was an average of Rs 150...we divided the final cost amongs us so not so sure
first time in your space....wow...very nice post....am feeling jealous of u as u got to try so many delicacies....following u here :-) do visit my blog when u hav time !
Kalyan Karmakar said…
tahnsk for your comment @onlyfish recipes and that's quite a collection of fish dishes on your blog
Miri said…
So thats funny then that the Goans have a dish with almost the same name - but so so different!! Looks good - have recommended the place to S(my friend who you met at Kodak on work) since she was looking for a place in Bandra for a family celebration with in laws etc
Kalyan Karmakar said…
@Miri: food connections are mystics...btw please tell S that this is essentially a takeaway
Miri said…
Oh thanks for that heads up !