March 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
I’m a little tired of the dining-out options in Dadar West, which is the other side of the bridge to where I live. There are plenty of things that are snacky, but it’s just a mess if you plan of making a meal of the carb-heavy and very noisy (but delicious) all day eating options that Dadar West has to offer.
I think the Awchat endeavors (Goa Portuguesa, Culture Curry and Diva Maharashtra) are best left to the blokes who don’t know any better (I try not to be a food snob but I refuse to have any further conversation with anyone who lists these places in their top 20 restaurants in Mumbai) So unless you’re prepared to watch your life pass you by on the steps outside Ovenfresh or Gypsy/Nebula, or weep over an extraordinary bill at Tamnak Thai (though they do have an excellent selection of wines), you’re a little stuck.
With a swanky exterior, Dadar 28, bang on Cadell Road, is a sight for our sore eyes. We’ve visited Deja Vu, which is the adjacent coffee/all day breakfast cafe and dismissed it as pretty harmless and a very good option to waste time at. Dadar 28, however, was a “dine in” and thus required a special effort to test out.
Dadar 28 is an upgraded-Udupi in sleek clothing. You know what I mean. They start off as small innocuous idli-vada-thaali joints, make some money, upgrade to very red north indian curries and naans, make some more money, hire am oriental looking chap to dish out what he thinks is chinese, install an air conditioner in the “AC family room” with hiked prices, make some more money, get Rexene sofas, buy a flat screen TV, install another air conditioner on the bottom so prices can increase some more, serve Non Vegetarian food, get a liquor license and voila – it’s Posh like Beckham. While the predecessor to Dadar 28 is unknown to me at least, this is exactly where it stands.
So we land up on a Sunday night, at 8pm, and the place is packed to the gills by 9. The match-on-the-flat-screen-TV is one consideration, but most tables were occupied by “groups” – celebrating something, or doing the “let’s go out to dinner and give Mummy a break” routine. No one (except us, who were in Dadar 14) seemed to have ventured outside their own pin code to come here.
And why would you?
The guys are earnest, and earnest enough to tell you that the kitchen was limited. Dadar 28 is a very popular home delivery option and we were told that the kitchen was very busy and our Dim Sums would take at least half an hour to process. We started off with soups – I ordered a clear soup, and was served a clear soup FULL OF BOILED VEGETABLES. I got about four soup spoons of soup under the mound of vegetables. What gives? Thankfully, the veggies were done al dente and not a soggy mess. The Manchow was ridiculously thickened. VFM is a strong point that they are trying to emphasize here.
Dim Sums landed up about 40 minutes after the soup did. They were steamed well (no raw corners) but they had Paneer inside them. Again, why? But it came with a fiery mix of sauteed spring onions and very roughly crushed black pepper which was highly inspired, though very oily.
I wanted some baked/grilled/steamed fish, and I was immediately suggested the tandoori rawas. Now, I am strictly of the opinion that Fish don’t belong in a Tandoor. Think where Tandoori cuisine originated from and is prevalent (clue: North India) and think where fish come from (clue: sea) and that will give you an idea as to why it doesn’t work. I don’t care if it’s Jiggs Kalra doing my fish tandoori. Fish are done in a Tandoor the minute you slide them in. Can you not bake fish? Of course you can. In Goa we have a lovely tradition of basting a fish with feni and baking it under burning leaves. The trick is temperature control which is not so easy in a Tandoor, which averages around 300-400 degrees. Our friend the waiter was very dismissive of my apprehensions and said that it was just made with “tandoori masala”. Any other fish option was either batter coated and deep fried or would take too long. Even longer than the dim sum.
Always trust your judgement. The Ravas was dried out, and absolutely inedible upon cooling. Even dousing it with lemon didn’t help.
The others ordered the “Triple Szechwan Fried Rice”. Hey, when in Chindia, do as Chindians do. TSFR, is, for the uninitiated, a combination of rice, noodles, vegetables or meat, and a szechwan sauce than brings it all together. To add just a little crunch to this possibly soggy affair are fried noodles. It’s a one stop shop. It’s never a classic, but it’s always satisfying, especially if you are a former hostelite.
This one was pretty disappointing. There was an extra helping of chili powder and turmeric. You could taste the turmeric. Yes.
On the plus side, the portions are huge and they are eager to please – drinks come along with boiled and seasoned corn kernels, some papad, peanuts and cheeselings (the latter is also served to the teetotalers). We spent 900 bucks for a meal for three. I’ve been told that they do a decent biryani, which I probably will end up trying some day. It seems like a decent option for the days you just want to throw health and haute cuisine out the window and have some greasy food coloured comfort food (admit it: we all have those days) or watch a World Cup Match and have a drink (they have a pretty impressive cocktail collection) without paying ridiculous cover charges (unless you are a vegetarian or just want the cheap liquor, in which case you should go to Green. Duh!). But only if you’re in the pin code.