|Lucky Restaurant, Bandra|
It is fair to call Bandra's Lucky Restaurant a true blue Bandra, if not a Mumbai, landmark. This is not just because passing the 'Lucky junction,' where it is located, signifies your entry into what is called the 'queen of suburbs' of Mumbai. The food here is the stuff of legends and its fans include top Indian cricketers and Bollywood matinee idols.
Their biryani is what they are most famous for and which is why they are colloquially referred to as 'Lucky Biryani.' This is the quintessential Mumbai biryani whose soul lies in the masala. Chicken sells more than mutton. The quality of both is brilliant, as is the quality of the rice used. You can ask for less masala if like me, you are from Kolkata. They add potatoes to it too. The taste and texture is different from that in the Kolkata one.
It was founded 75 odd years back by the late Sayed Aliakbar Husaini, who had come to Mumbai from Iran via Pune. He originally had a small shop in the by-lanes of Bandra where he sold kheema pav early in the morning to the mill workers of Mumbai. He then bought a British owned car showroom which was on sale and that is where the modern day Lucky Restaurant stands. His son, Safar Ali who was born in Bandra just before the Lucky was opened, then took up the reins of the family business, followed by his (late Aliakbar's) grandson, Mohsen Ali, and now his great grandson is involved too. The hands on attention given by the family ensures that the quality of the food is never compromised on. Many of the waiting staff have been here for decades and they make sure that the guests are well looked after. That they leave rejuvenated, no matter how tired they are when they come in.
They have air-conditioned sections now but I love to sit in the main (non-AC) section when you enter where you get to see a bit of the Bandra bustle while you eat. Just as I did when I first came here in 1997. I was a Mumbai newbie then, missing home and used to come here on Sunday afternoons to have a non-vegetarian lunch as I stayed in a vegetarian PG then. And here I am, 23 years later, telling you about Lucky. That's Mumbai for you!
They have an extensive menu and some of my other favourites are the akoori, kheema & Irani mint tea in the morning, apart from the biryani (with less masala and extra alu please). Do not forget to have a caramel custard at the end. You would have a range of 'Moghlai dishes,' Chinese and bakery items as well.
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Address: Juction of 9.S.V Road, Hill Rd, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050