Ever since I moved to Mumbai 4 years back, I had been planning to go to Bohri Mohalla and try the iconic eateries there, but somehow, it never happened. A chance mention of the same by a member from Mumbai Food Freak group on Facebook got the ball rolling again and we planned our first major food walk at Bohri Mohalla.
Right when the planning wheels were in motion, we got an invite from the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) inviting me to Bhindi Bazaar for a food walk; A classic case of when it rains it pours. Both the days fell in line, with the SBUT walk falling just one day ahead of the Mumbai Food freak walk, it offered a perfect reason for a recce visit and Jennifer and myself headed off to the walk.
The walk was organized by SBUT to showcase the ambitious upliftment plan which is already in motion in the historic Bhindi Bazaar area. The Saifee Burhani trust has taken upon itself to renovate the years old crumbling buildings by reconstructing the dilapidated buildings into modern facilities and providing the residents of the area with better infrastructure to live in and practise their commercial activities. The plan included restructuring the area providing it with a much required green cover as well as showcasing the historical monuments of the area which have gotten lost under the sands of time. Amongst these is the only mosque in the world which has the complete verses of the holy Quran etched on its walls, it would eventually become a must visit tourist attraction once the project is completed.
The SBUT representatives took us to a walk that covered the historic lanes of Bohri Mohalla starting from the iconic Bar-b-cue corner where we gorged on Chicken tikkas, mutton seenkh kebabs, boti kebabs, tangdi kebabs and a phenomenal food find called Khiri (Udder). Standing under a tarpoline cover, gorging on these straight-off-the-charcoal-grill goodies was as it is a divine experience; the creamy, slightly cartilaginous, squid like textured khiri was the proverbial icing on the cake.
Hereon, the walk took us through the giant tawa journey of Indian hotel where we had the potato, keema and boti mixed Naan chop (our desi answer to American burger), mutton rolls and the ubiquitous baida paratha. Each item cooked on a tawaa, visually looks drenched in oil and I didn’t have the heart to finish the dishes, the Naan chop was certainly the stand out dish of this lot. From here, we moved to Surti Barah Handi where we tried the Pichoda (oxtail), Topa (Hump) and Paya (Trotters) slow cooked over twelve hours along with thin crispy Surti Rotis. The gravies here are an acquired taste full of fat and marrow and the gelatinous mixture takes a while to get used to; the meat on the other hand is simply fall of the bone divine and seriously melt in your mouth with the flavours of the gravy penetrating to the inner most fibres of the meat. The crispy thin rotis are similar to thin crust pizzas (in fact much thinner than the thin crust) and I kept on fantasizing eating them with some extra virgin Olive oil and some simple herbs.
From here we headed towards our dessert stops at Tawakkal sweets where we tried the most amazing and creamy mango phirni and something called the mango malai with real pieces of mangoes, some pulp and malai all mixed into one. The owners insisted that we tried a date halwa as well which was something like date fudge mixed with nuts, truly an interesting taste which, if marketed well, can give other sweets a run for their money.
Our final stop of the walk was at the 125 years old Taj Ice Cream which still makes ice creams the traditional handmade way and uses real fruits as flavours. It is a task to get all the flavours on the menu as most of them are seasonal and get sold out quite fast. We were lucky to try the sitafal, litchi and mango ice creams which were creamy and fruity with big chunky fruit pieces. Quite a happy treat this!
With the body drenched and stomach over full, we headed off to our respective homes looking forward to our next day in these lanes with our group of Mumbai Food Freaks with a lot of hope & hunger for another culinary journey.