Creative Writing, Fiction, Stories by Vikram Karve

A literary and creative writing weblog by Vikram Karve of Pune India

Friday, June 16, 2006

An Unforgettable Lunch in Mumbai by Vikram Karve

A HEARTY LUNCH AT SHALIMAR IN BHENDI BAZAR
by
VIKRAM KARVE


Right now I’m experiencing a severe case of “Writer’s Block” so I’m going to write about Food. It’s almost lunch time, so I close my eyes and try to recollect the most memorable lunch I’ve had in recent times.

Is it the Chicken Stew with Appams at Fountain Plaza in Fort, or the Fish Curry ( Gassi) and Rice at Bharat Lunch Home, or is it the Berry Pulao at Brittania in Ballard Estate, or the Biryani at Olympia, or the pure Veg Maharashtrian Thali at Shreyas in Pune?

I’m confused; so I exercise my memory cells a bit more. And suddenly I remember. Oh yes, no doubt about it; it’s the farewell lunch my colleagues gave me, a day before I left Mumbai, at Shalimar Restaurant situated at Bhendi Bazar in Mumbai.

We reach at one in the afternoon. At first impression I like the place – an abundance of connoisseurs thoroughly enjoying their food as is evident from their body language, high turnover, no nonsense, no frills, businesslike atmosphere – appetite builds up in me and I know we have come to the right place. The place is crowded, there’s no place on the ground floor, so we go to the air-conditioned dining hall upstairs.

I don’t even look at the proffered menu card. I am going to surrender myself to my hosts - they will order and I will just eat.

First they order a hot “Chinese” soup which is nice and spicy, with lots of vegetables, sea food and chicken in it, and at the end of it I am voraciously hungry.

Then is brought in front of me for my perusal, piping hot and simmering, the signature dish of the place – Tandoori Raan Masala. I nod my approval, and it’s taken away for chopping up and slicing, and a generous portion served to me along with a Tandoori Roti. I put a small piece of the meat in my mouth; it’s very very tasty. Spicy and zesty, it’s quite different from the Raan I’ve eaten at Karim’s in Delhi. Then I bash on regardless with the Tandoori roti and pieces of the delectable raan. In between , I scoop and devour the marrow which tastes delicious.

Then I find in front of me a dish of Shalimar Chicken Chilli – a specialty of the place. It’s mouthwatering! For the first time in my life I eat a so-called Chinese dish – Chilli Chicken – with Tandoori Roti, and let me tell you it tastes fantastic.

Now my insides are on a delicious spicy fire, my tongue bracing with spicy tang and my nose is watering, so is put in front of my a glass of ice cold Shahi Gulab Falooda to quench my fires. In a word, it’s heavenly; a perfect conclusion to a most enjoyable lunch and its exquisite flavour and divine fragrance remain with me for a long time.

Indeed a ‘medley’ meal – a “Chinese” soup, Mughlai Mutton Raan, Chilli Chiken ( ostensibly Chinese but whose genre I can’t fathom or classify!), Tandoori Roti and the blissful Falooda. A culinary symbiosis of gourmet food I’ll never forget.

Just writing this has made me hungry – really famished and ravenous. So I’m heading for lunch. Where? I’ll tell you later. Right here, in this blog.


VIKRAM KARVE

vikramkarve@sify.com

1 Comments:

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