[To assuage your conscience, we suggest you check out ‘13 of Mumbai’s Most Healthy And Delicious Meals for Different Budgets’ once you’re done with this!]
The struggle is real. While we wrestle with notions of health and try and go through the motions of our perfunctory morning runs (occasionally) and yoga sessions our thoughts are always wandering off to crispier, juicier terrains, where each crunch is accompanied by the sound of heavenly orchestras. There’s only one thing in the world better than food that’s been dusted with breadcrumbs and then dunked into sizzling oil to emerge crunchy and lip-smacking, and that’s feasting on these deliciously sinful delights when the sky is grey and the incessant rainfall makes it taste a hundred times better. If this isn’t alchemy, we don’t know what is.
The monsoons are finally here so we took it upon ourselves to turn the city upside down in search of the very best (and safe) greasy food options the city has to offer so while you won’t find your local bhajiya guy featured on this list (we can’t verify everybody’s oil and hygiene levels) there’s still plenty of options for all kinds of budgets. From the swankier fried chicken and waffles combo at culinary havens like Ellipsis to the fresh sanna pakodas at Royal Sindh, open up your umbrellas, put on your wellies, and get tasting. Here are some of the best fried offerings the city of Bombay has, across budgets as always, for your ravenous perusal.
[As always, no rain gods died and offered us their place so if we’ve missed something really vital...let us know know in the comments section below!]
I. Deli Fried Chicken with Apple Slaw and Aioli at Indigo Deli
Where: 1st Floor, Palladium Mall, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel
We have pledged our allegiance to Indigo Deli time and again, noticing how often their dishes climb out of the menu and into our food stories as often as they do. Here we are, at it again: in this decadent dish, the succulent chicken, fried to perfection, is crispy without being oily, and the sweet apple slaw and garlicky aioli complement each other like a gastronomical dream. Move over KFC, this is the kind of Fried Chicken that doesn’t make us question our own morality.
Price: Nobody said it was (gr)easy, but they did say it was damn good, @ Rs.565/-
Another Option We Love: You can also go for the fish & chips, either breaded or batter-fried, which is delicious – although Indigo Deli too has joined the bandwagon in switching from pomfret to basa. This is served with tartar sauce and malt vinegar.
II. Fish n Chips Inspired Burger at Salt Water Café
Where: Nagin Mahal, Veer Nariman Road, Opposite Gaylords,Churchgate
The Raj has left quite the legacy, and this is the kind of aftermath we don’t have a problem with. The Fish ‘N’ Chips Inspired burger comes with smoked malt mayo, with a side of fries and mustard cabbage slaw, and a choice of whole wheat or sesame bun. Sounds like the perfect, gloriously greasy hangover remedy to us!
Price: Chop chop! @ Rs. 380
III. Awsamosas at Colaba Social
Where: Ground Floor, Glen Rose Building, BK Boman Behram Marg, Apollo Bunder, Colaba
The warehouse-like Social can be the site for many a culinary innovation, and the awsamosas definitely qualify as one of those. A regular samosa is simply made more delicious with Social’s spin on it, which includes a pizza-based filling and mushroom inside the crispy exterior, and this is served with chundo, a sweet and sour Gujarati mango pickle, for your crunching pleasure.
Price: Crunch away at peace, it’s @ Rs. 220 for a heaping plate full of them.
IV. Fish Fingers with Tartar Sauce at Samovar Cafe
Where: Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Served piping hot, the fish fingers are crispy from the outside and soft and steaming once you bite into it – the signs of a deep-fry master - with the tartar sauce to go with hitting just the right spot.
Price: What sorcery is this? @ Rs 170
V. Prawn Fry or Chanak Fish Fry at Highway Gomantak
Where: Pranav Co-op. Housing Society, Gandhi Nagar, Highway Service Road, Bandra (E)
Often touted the Mecca of Malvani cuisine in Bombay, Highway Gomantak has a long legacy behind it (one we’ve explored extensively over the course of our Thali-centric expeditions).
”It’s Goan food certified by the Goans,” Ramesh Potnis, owner of Highway Gomantak, confirms stoutly. Age-old recipes are served here, and the prawn fry and chanak fish fry – which is quite a rare fish to find - are no exceptions. These mouthwatering dishes are served with a traditional touch and homemade flourish that sets Gomantak apart, for getting it right every time.
Price: You’re going to have to go check out the board to make sure of this one, but the goods are definitely going to be something to write home about.
VI. Loaded Fries at Sundance Cafe
Where: 42, Eros Cinema Building, Maharishi Karve Road, Churchgate
When these guys say loaded – you better take them at their word. Potato chips tossed with Parmesan cheese are doused in aged cheddar cheese sauce and glorious sour cream, garnished with freshly chopped parsley and the surprise jalapeno chunk to add that zing, to balance out the obscene amounts of cheese (that you’re most definitely not going to find us complaining about).
Price: Reach for the ketchup, my friend @ Rs 290.
VII. Polenta-crusted Chicken at Café Zoe
Where: Mathuradas Mills Compound, NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel
This converted mill space has been a landmark primarily as a music venue, but the food here comes a close second. Succulent chicken coated in a blend of polenta and spices, is dunked into sizzling oil to be deep-fried like nobody’s business. Served with a hot sauce, this is the scrumptious pick-me-up you didn’t know you needed, and perhaps the one thing that night you’re definitely not going to be regretting.
Another Option We Love: You could also go with the crispy French fries (Rs 250), delicious fried chicken wings (Rs 320) or the fish and chips (Rs 450), with an option of crumb-fried or batter-fried (batter-fried all the way!)
VIII. Fried Bombil at Fresh Catch
Where: Lt Kotnis Marg, Near Fire Brigade, Off L J Road, Mahim West
Specialising in Karwari cuisine, this eatery located in Mahim is the place to pop by at, if you’re looking for some home-style seafood delicacies. The fresh fish is matched by the quality ingredients that go into all the dishes here, and the creamy-on-the-inside, crispy-as-hell on the outside fried bombil is guaranteed to whisk you away on a seaside fantasy.
Price: Double order for sure @ Rs. 280
IX. Bacon Fries at Between Breads
Where: 2, Kalpitam Apartments, Opposite Hawaiian Shack, 16th Road, Pali Hill
This tiny, carb-happy restaurant takes their fries seriously, and their crispy French fries are tossed with bacon and bacon bits, making for a blessing in a basket for those insatiable hunger pangs. We hear that the Chorizo Fries are another lip-smacking alternative you shouldn’t miss out on.
Price: Bacon us very happy, at just Rs 129
X. Crackling Prawns & Fried Corn Curd at Ling’s Pavilion
Where: 19/21, Mahakavi Bhushan Marg, Behind Regal Cinema, Colaba
Ling’s Pavilion is a culinary institution in its own right in the history of Bombay, being older than some of the monuments in the city. Once the food hits the table, you’ll find yourself paying hardly any attention to the eccentric interiors with the smattering of Chinese elements, though. The crackling prawns, wrapped in glorious, fatty bacon, come deep fried to perfection and you’ll be crunching your way through this irresistible Oriental indulgence. The fried corn curd balances this just right, making for a pair made in gastronomic heaven.
Price: Their crackling prawns come @ Rs 400, while the fried corn curd’s @ Rs 220.
XI. Crispy Aromatic Duck at Royal China
Where: 192, Turner Road, Bandra Talao, Bandra West
A small entrance leads into a grandiose restaurant that is known in the city for its quality food, something that is only reaffirmed with the crispy aromatic duck served with pancakes, spring onion and cucumber. Roasted and seasoned to the T, this delicious delicacy is the showstopper to whet your appetite for.
Price: It’s called ‘royal’ for a reason, coming in @ Rs 1900 for half a portion.
Other Options We Love: You could also try the crispy butterfly prawns; the prawns are marinated, coated with bread crumbs and fried till crisp served best at one of the finest Chinese restaurants in the suburbs, dished up piping hot @ Rs 595
XII. Deep Fried Butter Garlic Chicken at Fat Kong
Where: 9, RNA Classic, SV Road, Santacruz West
This non-descript, road-side eatery is immensely popular with students, being a pocket-friendly institution, and couch potatoes who adore home delivery. On our quest for decadent greasy foods, we zeroed in on this dish that combines the power of crispy fried chicken with molten butter garlic, fragrant and browned, to make for a real people-pleaser.
Price: Yes, yes, yes @ Rs 190
Another Option We Love: The crispy thread chicken has often been described to us by fellow food fanatics as being absolutely epic, and we are not going to disagree. This flavourful dish, has thick, deep fried chicken strips rolled in Chinese patti julienne and served with a hot sauce that is as easy on your pocket as it is on your tastebuds.
XIII. Crispy Prawn Fry at Soul Fry
Where: Silver Croft, Pali Mala Road, Pali Hill, Bandra West
Your go-to place for a Goan meal that won’t cause too much damage to your bank account, Soul Fry has also been the site of some serious crispy food carnage in the past. The batter bringing the crunch on the outside leads to the mildly buttery marinated and mildly spiced prawn inside and will easily have you back here for the same order in no time.
Price: Unbuckle your belt and lighten your wallet @ Rs 330
Another Option We Love: Our coastal culinary experience is incomplete without the Talela Bombil, the super-soft fish at Soul Fry coming from Kalpana, a Koli woman in the Citilight market who sells some of best fish in the city. Mixed in aromatic Koli masala, rolled in rice flour and then deep fried, you’ll be shelling out Rs 180 even as you order your seconds.
XIV. Beer Battered Onion Rings at Woodside Inn
Where: Wodehouse Road, Opposite Regal Cinema, Colaba
Woodside Inn always scores high on our lists for its ambience, but we do love an onion rings done right and that’s where this heritage restaurant really steals the show. It’s the use of fresh, crisp beer in the deep-fry batter that keeps the onion rings crisp, and dished up with the in-house lemon mayo preparation, this is the snack your wheat beer’s always longed for.
Price: Steep but you’re still going to be one happy camper @ Rs. 335
XV. Crispy Sesame Chicken at Trikaya
Where: Trikaya, Meera Apartment, Versova Link Rd, Seven Bungalows, Andheri West
Chilli sauce, soy sauce, aromatic browned garlic and sesame seeds blend and dance on the frying pan in the kitchens of this restaurant specialising in South-East Asian cuisine from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, to lend a fragrance to the chunks of battered deep-fried chicken that could (and should) be a sumptuous meal by itself, served here with a peanut sauce.
Price: Worth every bit of that deep-fried exoticism @ Rs. 330
Another Option We Love : Khiyo Khoob - Potato spinach filo pastry @ Rs.270 because....filo!
XVI. Honey-Fried Noodles with Ice-cream at Mainland China
Where: Ground & 1st Floor, Shalimar Morya Park,Off New Link Road, Andheri Lokhandwala
In this home of eclectic Chinese regional dishes emerges a dessert to rule them all. This hot and cold dish will have you wondering how someone invented it, with the crispy noodles fried in honey and then sprinkled with sesame seeds with a healthy dollop of ice-cream. With a dessert like this, you are likely to forget the main course ever happened.
Price: Main courses could be cancelled for all we care @ Rs. 170
Another Option We Love: Although we generally prefer the traditional steamed variety, we have got to make an exception for the Fried Prawn Wanton (@ Rs. 240) that come looking like brown, crispy little money bags. As you crunch into the delectable prawn filling, don’t forget to team them up with the sweet and salty chilli sauce.
XVII. Ashok Vada Pav
Where: Ashok Vada Pav Stall, Off Cadel Road, Kirti College Lane, Prabhadevi
Run by Ashok Thakur, this is probably the most popular vada pav stall in the city, also featured in our best vada pavs of Mumbai list. Located near Dadar’s Kirti college, it opened its doors to folks hungry for the crunchy goodness of the quintessential vada pav, and we doubt the owner ever imagined it would become such a rage. Ashok Vada Pav Stall hasn’t stopped promptly handing out vada pavs ever since. Open from 11AM to 9:30PM, they make only one type of vada pav, which they sell thousands of daily customers at Rs. 15. “I have tried to keep the same quality,” Thakur told DNA. “I use 40 materials to make the chutney and batter. And I can guarantee that I make vada pav of the highest quality.”
Price: Rs. 15
XVIII. Anand Vada Pav
Where: Opposite Mithibai College, Vile Parle West, Mumbai
The spicy vada pavs served piping hot here have Mumbaikars trailing in all day, with students in particular swearing by this stall located opposite Mithibai College.
Price: No one should have just one when it’s @ Rs 15 (Sorry Lays, you’ve got competition.)
XIX. Samosas at GuruKripa
Where: 40, Guru Kripa Building, Road 24, Near SIES College, Sion
GuruKripa has wracked up quite a reputation for itself, with 1/3rd of Mumbai’s samosas apparently being produced right here every morning. Not that we can say this is a fact with certainty but it’s a rumour we’re willing to lap up either way. Every morning, a whopping 30, 000 samosas are made with potato filling, battered and then deep-fried, making this eatery a tourist attraction in its own right. The samosas are then transported to college canteens and cinema halls all over the city, spreading the joy of the crunchy samosa far and wide.
Price: Samosas all day, e’rry day @ Rs 34
XX. Aloo Tuk Chaat at Zaffran
Where: Infiniti Mall 2, Link Road, Malad
This dish at Zaffran is bound to make you look at chaat in a different light with its explosion of flavours. Unpeeled baby potatoes are fried until they are almost cooked, after which they are left to cool, mashed until flat and then refried until they reach the point of no-return crunchiness. Tossed with sweet and spicy tamarind chutney and onions, green chillies and chaat masala, a dash of lime juice seals the deal on this one.
Price: For this kind of chaat, we’d be happy to shell out more. It’s @Rs 250
XXI. Ragda Pattice at Kailash Parbat
Where: A, Crystal Plaza, New Link Road, Andheri Lokhandwala
Kailash Parbat is an insitution, it seems, that’s as old as the city, and its separate chaat counter is where some of Mumbai’s best ragda pattice is made. The potato cutlets are shallow fried until crispy, before being doused with ragda (soft boiled white peas seasoned with turmeric, ginger-garlic and chilli powder, served hot), green chutney, garlic chutney and tangy tamarind chutney topped off with onions, and sev. Yeah, we’re drooling.
Price: Round two, anyone? It’s @ Rs 125
XXII. Medu Vada at Cafe Mysore
Where: 38/II Circle House, Bhaudaji Road, King’s Circle. 2401 4419
You know our weakness for South Indian food already, so let us go right ahead and add the mouthwatering Medu Vada from Matunga’s Cafe Mysore to that extensive list. The batter consists of ground up urad dal, mixed with cumin seeds, chopped curry leaves, black peppercorns, coriander and little coconut pieces that’ll surprise you in the final product. Chopped green chili, chopped ginger and chopped onions are also added for flavour before being lowered, into sizzling hot oil to fry into a glorious vada. Served with coconut chutney and sambar, we suggest you get that vada sambar mixed.
Price: Aiyyo, it’s only @ Rs 37!
XXIII. Goli Baje at Ram Ashraya
Where: Bhandarkar Road, Matunga (East)
Goli Baje, also referred to as Mangalore bajji, are a chewy fried snack made with maida, the batter being loosened with yoghurt, and finely chopped coconut, curry leaves, chillies, ginger, salt and jeera. This is the sort of snack that’s great for evening munchies to keep you going till dinner, and well after.
Price: A filter kaapi is a must-have with this one, at a jaw-dropping Rs. 33
XXIV. Kobiraji Cutlet at Kolkata Callin’ (Bengali)
Where:Plot 285, Madhukunj Society, Sher-e-Punjab Society, near Tolani College, Andheri
When the egg cutlets of nowhere else to do, there’s always Bengali cuisine to turn to to satisfy your whimsical gastronomic needs. Marinated and chicken chunks, mildly spiced with ginger, cumin seeds, garlic and green chillies, are dipped into whisked egg and rolled in breadcrumbs before the climaxing in the frying pan. Apparently ‘kobiraji’ is adaptation of the cutlet introduced in the Raj era by the British.
Price: Get some aam pora shorbot to go with @ Rs. 180
XXV. Sanna Pakoda at Royal Sindh
Where: Shop No.2, Ground Floor, opposite Seven Bungalows Police Chowky, Jai Prakash Road, Versova, Andheri
Tastes so nice, you’ve got to do it twice - masquerading as ‘pakode pyaaz’ on the menu, these fried cutlets are chopped into smaller pieces after round one, and then double fried, the besan batter contains cilantro, chillies and chopped onion that is unwilling to compromise on the crunch you’re on the hunt for.
Price: Double trouble dished up at Rs. 110.
XXVI. Churros Poco at Chocolateria San Churros
Where:11, Silver Pearl, Waterfield Road, Linking Road, Bandra West
Australian chain San Churros, specialising in the kryptonite of many a chocolate-lover, makes you feel like you’re tasting the sinful decadence for the first time. The churros poco here consist of fried dough strips served with an entire pot of chocolate that you dip them into, bound to make you feel like a queen.
Price: Take to the cocoa fields @ Rs. 195
XXVII. Fish Tacos at Ellipsis
Where: B-1 Amarchand Mansion, 16 Madame Cama Road, Colaba
Ellipsis never evokes any sort of second-guessing, and the fish tacos here are an old friend we like to visit often. Made with Chef Kelvin Cheung’s signature contemporary flair, the tempura battered fish (always fresh) is served with guacamole, house-made creme fraiche, jalapeno, lime, iceberg in corn tortilla chips with tangy salsa to make for a lip-smacking affair.
Price: Well, we didn’t say we visited that often..it’s @ Rs 850, but always so worth it.
Another Option We Love: The Waffles and Chicken (Rs. 1200) is quite the treat as well, with 24-brined, buttermilk fried chicken served with sourdough waffles, doused in smoked honey and served with truffle butter and bacon sriracha gastrique to make for a medley of flavours that’s bound to culminate in the deep contentment of food coma.
XXVIII. Crispy Chicken with Mustard Curry Leaf Cream at Sassy Spoon
Where: Ground Floor, Express Towers, Ramnath Goenka Marg, Nariman Point
Condiments are one of the most underrated elements of the average restaurant-goer’s experience, and Sassy Spoon, a tastefully decorated eatery at Nariman Point, shows you how to do it with their delectable deep-fried chicken being served with a lovely mustard and curry leaf cream.
Price: Only because you’re worth it @ Rs. 555
Another Option We Love: The cottage cheese sassywich (Rs 290) is top-notch, with the the fried cottage cheese cooked with capsicum and and onion with marinara, with Sassy Spoon’s famous house-smoked barbeque sauce adding the heady flavours. The fried cottage cheese and pepper nuggets (Rs. 395) are bits of crispy glory you’re unlikely to forget. And the fried calamari with marinated zucchini and sriracha mayo (Rs 370) you won’t have to think twice about before ordering, forging a decadent mid-ground between fried food and fresh seafood.
[To assuage your conscience, we suggest you check out ‘13 of Mumbai’s Most Healthy And Delicious Meals for Different Budgets’ once you’re done with this!]
Words: Aditi Dharmadhikari