There’s nothing like going the whole hog, but it doesn’t hurt when your city’s chefs (and butchers) know exactly what to do with every part of a lamb or goat too. For the uninitiated, nose-to-tail eating is defined as the philosophy of eating and cooking that involves using every possible part of an animal and thus minimising waste. And while we’re all for a food philosophy that’s socially conscious, we’re not exactly saints. If it didn’t taste bloody good, we wouldn’t eat it and the truth is—if you’re a meat-eater in this already over-consumerist culture, you’d better be willing to put your money where your mouth is and chow down even when the rump gets a bit tough.
Long story short, if Mary’s little lamb just kicked the bucket for your racks, you’d better be willing to honour its life by utilising every part of it you can. Hooves, balls, tongue, ears, liver, belly, bheja. So the question remains, are you up for the task? Because we’ve got the whole lowdown on where to eat various (by various, we mean almost all) parts of the goat and lamb in various parts of the city. This is one food trail you’d better be willing to work for.
[Author’s note: In case you’re looking to understand the difference between lambs, sheep and goat, don’t fret. It’s commonly screwed up knowledge that is best understood here. Since Indian restaurants tend to oscillate between these two terms without too much technicality, please bear with us.]
I. The Brain
Butter Bheja at Jai Hind Lunch Home
An oily greasy lump of brain that satisfies the taste buds and fills the stomach. It really doesn’t look like the most appealing dish when it’s plopped in front of you, but a crispy naan with butter bheja is a stalwart of Indian soul food. Butter bheja can be a found at quite a few joints in Mumbai, however the Jaihind option offers diners a bit of solace when the shadow of delhi belly is lingering over you.
Bheja Fry at Radio Restaurant
The Radio Restaurant uses tomato puree to curb the wave of richness of the Bheja Fry whilst an assortment of Indian spices work together to produce one of Mumbai’s, hands down, best brain dishes. From tourists to longtime locals Radio Restaurant is an institution and their piece de resistance is the Bheja Fry.
Bheja Burji or Tongue (Zabaan Fry) at Sarvi
For the more adventurous eater, this Bheja Burji from a well-kept Byculla secret is heaven. We’ve not tried the Sarvi’s Zabaan Fry, however, one of our favourite foodies with their tummiest tuned towards the street emphatically told us that their tongue come with the “best f*%#ing roast potatoes in the world”. Worth a shot we say.
II. The Innards
Haji Tikka-Tawa, Gurda-chopped goat kidneys sautéed in masala at The India Hotel
The Lahori version of this dish calls for goat testicles as well, but we think we’re fine with sticking to the kidneys for now. The maestro working the tava at Haji Tikka chops up the kidneys with a melodic beat, his vigour perhaps seasoning the sizzling kidneys with a few stray sweat beads. Lord knows whether it’s the sweat, a well used tawa or some other wizardry the gent uses but the kidneys are lip-smacking good. (A word to the wise: all their kebabs are banging).
Tawa Gurda Kaleji at Olympia
This Colaba eatery is a consistent choice for meat lovers, their Tawa Gurda Kaleja doing goat liver justice on so many levels. The turn over at Olympia is pretty fast, so you’re always guaranteed fresh liver served up with a heavy dose of turmeric, garam masala and chilli powder sprinkled with a handful of chopped coriander leaves. Olympia does not mix dil (heart) in with the liver, but the combination is truly delightful.
Special Ragda Pattice at Mahim Dargah (stalls outside)
At a couple of the stalls surrounding the area you can find a unique take on ragda pattice. Here the potato tikkis (pattice) are substituted by goat liver and intestine which are then served with a chickpea curry (ragda or channa). Remember, there’s no fixed address for these so it’s best to go with someone in the know.
Khiri at Bar-b-cue
The seasoned udder is well spiced and carries over a delightfully smokey flavour. However, upon asking if the udder came from a goat/sheep or cow we got a stoic stare as a response. So maybe it belongs on this list, maybe it doesn’t — the only thing we know for sure is that it tastes really good. Address? Down a lane in Bohri Mohalla. Think of it as a treasure hunt.
III. The Shank
Sikandri Raan (Entire Leg of Spring Lamb) at Peshawari
The Sikandri Raan is marinated, typically with a bit of ginger, garlic paste, chilli powder and lemon juice, before being tossed in the tandoor. If done correctly, which Peshwari does indeed, the leg of lamb is of melt in your mouth stature.
Nalli Nihari at Noor Mohammadi
The nalli nihari (mutton shanks) differs from the above lamb shank as it comes with a rich gravy covering the tender meat. The marrow, as always, interacts beautifully with the gravy, however, naan is needed to tame this highly flavourful dish.
Sikandri Raan at Delhi Durbar
For the more adventurous eater.
IV. The Feet
Paya, Goat feet and Rump at Surti Bara Handi
The restaurant boasts twelve handis, the simmering vessels filled with a variety of meaty stews that give off a wave of an olfactory overdose. Out of the large assortment of dishes they serve the mutton trotters (payas) and rump (pichota) share the throne of hard to find mutton delicacies. The restaurant’s pichota not only turns one of the less desirable parts of a goat into a very desirable dish but provides a mutton option we feel is rather scarce in Mumbai eateries (If readers know where else we can find this dish in Mumbai we’d love if you reached out to us). Moreover, this octogenarian haven for meat lovers obviously serves up a mean paya, which is why two vessels are dedicated to this dish. Also, if you’re feeling extra gluttonous you can order extra bone marrow. Do it.
It is rumoured the restaurant is closed however the address is just slightly different. Just in case, we’re giving you the full address: Shop No.12, Khan Tower, Opposite Aqsa Masjid, Masjid Aqsa Rd, Jogeshwari West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400102
Paya Masala- Lamb Trotters Cooked Punjabi Style Cut at Gallops
For the cautious feet eater. The main reason to cook lamb feet is to add body to soups and stews. This is exactly what Gallops Paya masala does as the long and slow cooked feet lend a healthy amount of bone marrow to the gravy.
Note to readeres: Well, fellow carnivores, hope you enjoyed eating some of Mumbai’s tasty and marginalised delicacies. We’re always on the lookout for feedback, however, so make sure to write to us if you have more recommendations for this list or let us know what you thought. Till then, keep on eating on!
[Special thanks to Roycin D’souza who gave us a couple of fantastic recommendations for this guide.]
Feature image via Food Lovers
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