[Statutory warning—Do not read if you’re more than an hour away from breaking your fast.]
As of this past weekend, the lunar calendar took over and nearly 1/4th of the world’s population began an annual fast in honour of what has undoubtedly come to be known as the holiest month in the year. And while the whole tradition is fixed on the pivot of piousness, perpetuated by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, the minute the moon is bright, the only thing that takes precedence is the most delicious food.
If you happen to live in a Muslim household, you already know that every Iftaar is a lavish feast, waiting to be demolished by the many who have earned the right to fill their bellies. For non-muslims, it’s mostly a case of getting themselves invited over to the right friends’ houses to get their own fill of the succulence, which is only too easy considering how much they love to share!
But just in case you’d prefer not to impose, there’s an equally wonderful option. Several of the city’s restaurants and locales light up at this time of year to feed hoards of hungry masses, waiting to break their fast. So for the sake of your grumbling stomachs, Homegrown decided to pick out 12 such Mumbai restaurants which happen to specialize in the kind of treats you’d want to indulge in post a long day’s fasting.
Grab a Khajoor, and scroll on.
I. Cafe Noorani
HG Recommends: Chicken Noorani Special
We kick things off with one of the best non-vegetarian restaurants in the city, Cafe Noorani, which to be fair, is pretty much amazing right through the year. Try the Cafe Noorani Special which is pretty brilliant, to say the least. For the adventurous, the Bheja fry is a particularly good option. While it might not be aesthetically pleasing, the tiniest morsel in your mouth will make its appearance irrelevant.
Address: 5 D, Tardeo Road, Haji Ali Circle.
II. Persian Darbar
HG Recommends: Raan Biriyani.
One of Bandra’s many mughlai restaurants, Persian Darbar’s Raan Biriyani is in a class of its own. The biriyani is of two types: Either with the meat chopped into pieces, or the huge portion of the meat placed right within the rice, which takes more than four people to finish it in one sitting!
Address: Moray Mahal , Linking Road, Bandra (W)
HG Recommends: Chicken Chilli/ Falooda
Is there anything more renowned in Bombay than Shalimar’s Falooda? The restaurant has a legendary status among Falooda lovers, and if you’re going for a full meal, the Chicken Chilli there isn’t half bad either!
Address: Vazir Building, Shalimar Corner, Bhendi Bazaar, Sandhurst Road, Byculla.
IV. Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar
HG Recommends: Dabba Gosht
Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Darbar is always known to be packed with meat lovers – more so during the month of Ramzaan. The place serves a load of delicious meat-related food, but our favourite has to be the Dabba Ghost. Get some roomali or tandoori roti to go with that, please.
Address: 195/197, Patthe Bapu Rao Marg, Grant Road East.
V. Lime And Spice
HG Recommends: Chicken Tandoori
You might sit there and think, “Chicken Tandoori? Really?” and we will look your condescension in the eye and say, “Yes.” You might have grown up eating Chicken Tandoori but trust us when we say the chicken Tandoori at Lime and Spice is something else altogether.
Address: 334, Haroon Manzil, Bhendi Bazaar Junction, Mumbai CST Area.
VI. Chinese N Grill
HG Recommends: Nalli Nihari
Around this time of year, it’s almost impossible to get a seat at this restaurant post fast time. A slimy, sticky and oh-so-juicy dish, Nalli Nihari isn’t everyone’s first preference. But if you think you’re up for it, or if you’re one of its many fans, a trip down to Chinese N Grill wouldn’t exactly be a bad idea. And even if Nalli Nihari isn’t your thing, they have plenty of mouth watering grills and sizzlers that are just as delicious!
Address: 122/132, Barkat Manzil, Near Minara Mazjid, Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai CST Area.
HG Recommends: Kulfi Chicken
If street food doesn’t cut it for you and you’re willing to splurge a bit, Sheesha is your destination. It’s Nawabi ambience and bronze glasses add to the whole experience – and the food is great too. The Kulfi Chicken is delightful, and if you’re looking for something dry, the Burra Kebabs are to die for.
Address: Above Shoppers Stop, Linking Road, Bandra West.
VIII. Noor Mohammadi
HG Recommends: Chicken Hakimi, Chicken Sanju Baba
Yes, Chicken Sanju Baba. If you’re a bollywood freak or fascinated by bollywood stars, know that Noor Mohammadi is Sanjay Dutt, a.k.a Sanju Baba’s favourite restaurant. Such was his frequency to the restaurant that they have a dish named after him, said to be the actor’s own recipe! If that doesn’t cut it for you, however, the Chicken Hakimi is another brilliant dish served in the restaurant. Also, since the restaurant is almost always crowded, be prepared to share a table with random strangers!
Address: 179, Wazir Building, Abdul Hakim Chowk, Bhendi Bazar, Near Girgaum.
HG Recommends: Mutton Seek Kebab, Malai Kulfi
No, not the state, we mean the restaurant on S.V. Road, Khar. The food at the restaurant is as fascinating as the name itself – and the mutton Seek Kebabs, priced at Rs. 10 a piece are as good as they come. The restaurant has both an A/C as well as a non-A/C section. And while you’re at it, try the Malai Kulfi for dessert – it is seriously underrated and simply melts in your mouth.
Address: SV Road, Khar West
X. Cafe Nizari
HG Recommends: Mutton Keema, Caramel Custard
How would the list be complete without Keema? Grab your lemons and head to Cafe Nizari and dig into some of the finest Mutton Keema you will ever taste. And for the ones with a sweet tooth, try the Caramel Custard. They’re available at just about every place we’ve mentioned on this list but rest assured, this one takes the cake.
Address: 173, Ibrahim Rehmatulla Road, Bhendi Bazar Junction, Byculla.
XI. Valibhai Payawala
HG Recommends: Paaya
A distant cousin of the Nalli Nihari, Paaya too is not everyone’s favourite dish thanks to its slimy texture. However, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty for the sake of good food, head to Baara Handi and get ready to stuff your face. The place might be a little difficult to find, but once you do, make sure you suck every last bit of bone left on your plate!
Fair warning—this place isn’t as well-kept a secret as we might have hoped.
Address: Bara Handi, Dongri.
HG Recommends: Aalu Chicken
Situated in the shadows of the luxurious Taj is the not-so-luxurious Baghdadi. However, trust us when we say the food probably costs 1/10th of anything you might get at the grand hotel and tastes probably 10 times as good. While in the restaurant (which is situated not very far away from the famous Bade Miyan), make sure you try their delicious Aalu Chicken. Not to forget the butter naan/ tandoori roti both of which are some of the best staples we’ve ever had the pleasure of digging into.
Address: 11, Tulloch Road, Behind Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba.
Words: Rameez Shaikh
[Take a deep breath and relax. If we happen to have missed out on some secret fast-breaking delight that you’ve been experiencing for years, just let us know in the comments section below. And let everybody else know too!]