Pradeep Gomantak Bhojanalaya, #FoodocracyIndia

Pradeep Gomantak Bhojanalaya, Mumbai

Think Mumbai and food and I am sure that you will immediately think of seafood. We are a coastal city after all. It is another matter that the seafood comes here from Gujarat, Goa and the Malvan coast of Maharashtra. We have made the waters around Mumbai too toxic to fish in.

I won’t be surprised if you came up with the name of a Mangalorean run restaurant, if I were to ask you for the name of the most famous ‘local’ seafood joint in Mumbai. A place which might have started as a humble 'lunch home,' serving fried fish to go with copious glasses of budget beer or cheap whisky or rum for the worker bees of the old CBDs of Mumbai. Now posh places, where waiters are trained to push down expensive live and wriggling crabs down the throats of Caucasian tourists. To be doused with heavy spices and food colouring and then tandooreed and served to the guests,

Rarely would the name of a Malvani restaurant (run by those from the Malvan coast of Maharashtra) or a Gomantak place (run by Hindu Goan families) come up.

These are simple places. Known for their seafood thalis, chicken and mutton too. Most are located around the erstwhile mill lands of central Mumbai. The food offered here is way humbler and cheaper than in the first set of restaurants that I told you about. These places are alway packed with customers who look like they relish their food here. Yet, none makes it to any ‘best seafood’ restaurant award list. Not that this keeps any of their loyal customers, who come here daily, up at night.

Pradeep Gomantak Bhojanlaya at Fort is a rare Gomantak restaurant in that part of town. It is located opposite Ideal Corner. You will have to queue up if you go there at lunchtime on a weekday. I am told that the restaurant was started by a gentleman named Amonkar close to five decades back. The waiting staff look like they have been there since the opening.

The owner’s daughter, Manisha, sits at the counter. A rare lady manning the counters of an eatery in Fort. I once saw her little daughter give her company on a Saturday. Bring your child to work day. It seems as if the elderly waiters look upon Manisha as their own ward rather than just the boss lady.
The place is as small as a garage. You have to share tables. Don’t worry, everyone is fitted in, in the Mumbai spirit of ‘kindly adjust.’

My picks there would be the Bombil fry, kombdi vade, fish curry thali, vajri (mutton entrails), mutton sukha. In other words, anything on offer. Washed down with sol kadi.

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