Mouthwatering Mumbai Monsoon Memories
When I was a small boy I traveled all over India by train, and I remember the fabulous Dining and Restaurant Cars on famous trains like The Calcutta Mail via Nagpur, The Frontier Mail, The Grand Trunk Express and my all time favourite The Deccan Queen where one could sit comfortably and enjoy leisurely meals comprising the choicest “Railway Cuisine” whilst viewing the picturesque countryside scenery passing by through the large open windows.
Each train had its own special a la carte dishes apart from the ubiquitous “thalis”. One cannot enjoy this luxury anymore as the railways have replaced Dining Cars with Pantry Cars and now-a-days they serve lackluster insipid “standard” meals packed in foil, paper and plastic containers.
On a damp rainy afternoon as I walk with my friend near Kalaghoda in Mumbai, I feel nostalgic and my mouth waters as I recall the good old railway dining car lunches, and I am in a mood for a relaxed lunch in arty ambiance, so I convince my friend and we head for Samovar at the
at Kala Ghoda near the Museum. Samovar restaurant is situated next to the art gallery in a long rectangular veranda and resembles a Railway Restaurant Car of yesteryear. We relax on the cane chairs and enjoy the view of the adjoining Museum lawns. Jehangir Art Gallery
There is a menu card, but the specialties of the day are scribbled on blackboards on both ends of the no-frills eatery. We order the specialties of the day – a Mutton Chilly Fry Lunch and Hyderabadi Kheema with Lachi Paratha. The tender boneless Mutton Chilly Fry well cooked in a thick dark brown sauce has a nice spicy peppery taste and blends well with the garlic bread and fresh salad. The fiery orange-red chilli-sour Hyderabadi Kheema is lip-smackingly zesty, the paratha super-soft and fluffy, and the combination is delicious.
Next we have the wholesome stuffed parathas [a vegetarian
Gobi (Cauliflower) Paratha and a Non-Veg Kheema Paratha] accompanied by their appetizing chutneys followed by Kheema and Kabab Rolls. To cool off, we end with the huge soothing Dahi Wadas. I am tempted to order a biryani or a prawn pulao, but we’re nicely satiated and overeating will spoil everything – maybe we will try the rice dishes next time.
Samovar has a unique charm and friendly ambience you won’t find anywhere else. It serves excellent value-for-money food and is an ideal place for a cozy tête-à-tête with a friend over a leisurely lunch on a lazy afternoon.
PS - I wrote this more than five years ago when I last visited Samovar. Will some Mumbai Foodie please tell us whether the place is still as good as it was then.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
For more such Foodie writings please read APPETITE FOR A STROLL
About Vikram Karve
A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.