Agent Green Glass and the case of the tenacious John Dory.... The Salt Water Cafe, Bandra, Fan Club

The lamb sausages with potatoes at Salt Water cafe today

Here's to the champions

I guess that as a food blogger from Mumbai, I would be expected to try out and write about what's new in the city's ever evolving dining out landscape.

I used to do that when I had started writing the blog ten years back. K and I often used to check out new restaurants that would open in Mumbai back then and I would come back write about our experiences there. 

Today there is a glut of restaurants being opened in Mumbai and it is hard to keep up with them. Things were different even just a decade back. There were far fewer exciting new restaurants opening in the city then and it was easier to tick the list of those that would.

Over the years we have figured out our favourite restaurants in the city and in most cases, our favourites dishes there too, and we usually stick to those. Moreover one eats out less today than one once used to. One is not as young as before and one's constitution actually prefers home cooked food now. One values ones time too, and money of course, and wants to make sure that one has has a good time when one does go out to eat. Which is why you will find a surfeit of La Folie, Ling's Pavilion, Kitchen Garden, Candies, Smoke House Deli, Taj Tea House posts on my feed, specially if K and I go out together for a meal. Today's post is about another place from this list of Mumbai restaurants that is so dear to us.

I must also add here that I have not always been very excited on the occasions when one has tried out some of the new places around. Some of the experiences have been fairly mediocre or at least patchy. 

Not all though. Some new experiences have been mind-blowing I must admit. I'd list our meal at Masque last year among those, though that's a place for special occasions given its prices. Slink and Bardot  we loved and Toast and Tonic was pretty good too. All of these were last year. We visited each after carefully listening to the buzz around them and after they had settled down a bit. Not when they were new. I must add that my meals at The Bombay Canteen seem to be getting better every time I go there and I had two lovely meals there recently. 

This is of course a list of posh restaurants. The street food and old mom and pop places are my thing and I go there by myself usually.

The Salt Water Cafe, Bandra

Salt Water Cafe at Bandra is one place we keep heading back to when we want to have a good meal and we often go there with friends and family too and everyone seems to love it. K and I both fell in love with it when we first went there. This is when it was relatively new and qa about around 8 years back and we have been going back there since. 

The service is usually welcoming and warm. Even if the staff changes, there is someone or the other who would recognise you as a regular and look after you.

The food, always so pretty. So Instagram apt and this has been so from a time before the platform had been invented. More importantly, the food is usually very tasty! 

Our lunch today was an example of that. 

The John Dory at Salt Water Cafe today

I went for the pan seared John Dory which is my favourite order at Salt Water Cafe, and has been so for many years. Once K, my mom and I went there for lunch and we all ordered an individual plate each of it and loved it.

The chef made a marginal tweak to a few years back and they have added rice crisps, quinoa puffs (I think) and pohe/ cheere of late to the dish and that gives a beautiful textural contrast to the juicy fillet of fish.  I love the way the fish is cooked here. Crisp outside. Juicy inside. It's served piping hot, and you can see the smoke when you cut through the fish, and yet it is anything but overcooked. The fish is so moist and pleasing. It is served on a bed of a tangy, tomato risotto. 

I have lost count of the number of times that I have ordered and had it and have liked it each time. 

Their sister concern, Smoke House Deli, does a John Dory too but I think Salt Water's is more elegant in the way it is cooked.

The menu there has a mix of their classics and some new introductions. K had ordered the lamb sausages and potatoes, when we had come here on our anniversary a few months back, and loved it. I saw the dish on the menu today, reminded K of it and she ordered it and loved it again.

The lamb sausages here are way juicier and much better flavoured than the pork sausages we had at Boteco the other night. The spicing was a bit middle eastern here and the potatoes that went with it were so very sinful and seductive and had soaked in the fat of the sausages. They were little bundles of joy for sure.

My other favourites at Salt Water Cafe are the eggs Benedict and scrambled egg for breakfast and then the liver pate, the bacon burger, the braised pork belly, the duck pie and the pan seared chicken leg and the wild mushroom risotto. You should check out what their specials are. We have done so in the past and had some excellent ribs in vindaloo spices and black pomfret too in the past thanks to this. I am not too confident of their pastas though and do not recall having ever enjoyed one there.

My only other grouse with Salt Water Cafe is that not all their seating is good for those who have a weak back like me. The window seats are a bit better. 

I feel that Salt Water Cafe is a rather underrated restaurant in Mumbai, especially given the excellence of food on offer. I think it should be written about more. I wish I found it more often in nomination lists of restaurant awards where one has been a member of the jury.

However, before you feel sorry for them, let me tell you that I've rarely seen Salt Water Cafe empty and it is busy even on weekdays and even after so many years.

Forget PR, restaurant awards, bloggers and writers, at Salt Water Cafe it is the food that speaks and the constantly occupied tables show that the food lovers of the city have heard its call

Agent Green Glass Rockstar

In case you are wondering about the title of this post then let me tell you a little story.

The first time that I ordered the John Dory at Salt Water Cafe, years back, was when I read about it in a blog written by someone who called herself Agent Green Glass. I loved reading that blog ever since I first came across it. When I read about her recommendation of it, I felt that the fish would be a good pick and sure enough, it was. 

Those were the days when people would blog anonymously and I didn't know who she was. She introduced herself sometime later to us and we have been friends since. Our lives have taken many turns since then but AGG is still doing what she does very well, winning and inspiring. She's just been operated for cancer and is keeping all our spirits up, yes I know that sounds funny, through her blog posts and I would urge you to read then and send her your best wishes.

This is the link to Agent Green Glass' most wonderful blog
This is not not the first time that I have written about Salt Water Cafe and Agent Green Glass. Here's an old post from 2009 When I read it I saw that I had written about staying away from blogging because of back pain. Eight years later, the back does pain at time and I have kept blogging. Time for some change!

Our meal today of one main and one starter came to around Rs 1,600 with taxes and service charge. The bread basket, which was on the house earlier ,is now charged for. We didn't need it today. 


Sharing a couple of more pictures that I took today. Nothing to do with the post.

One is of the phone cover that I got made using a photo I had taken with the same phone, the iPhone 7 Plus. When I took the picture I had no idea that I would use it for a phone cover but now it seems like that is why I had clicked it. I got this made at Mohan Color Lab in Bandra.

The other is of the study in our house. Can't tell you the sense of gratitude that I feel when I sit here. I think the happiness seeps into my writing. The birds understand that and chirp away while I write.

A lot of prayers, perseverance and patience went into our finally getting here. It's my happy place and I feel a lot of gratitude for it.