Phone: 022 24990099, 022 24990077
Address: 2, Building A, Shinde Building Compound, Next To Phoenix Towers, SB Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Time: 11:45 AM – 3:15 PM, 7 PM – 11 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 750
Cuisines: North Indian
Facilities: Home Delivery, Serves Non Veg, Indoor Seating
“Hidden gems” or “Holes in the wall” eateries: Are these the kind of places that you’re always on the lookout for?
If “no”, please skip reading this. I’ve devoted several years to sniffing these in my restaurant guides to Mumbai and Pune. And by a happy coincidence, I write this review from Hong Kong, and I’m just off to do a round of these “no frills” “local” eateries. Before leaving Mumbai, I was super excited to eat at ‘Punjabi Tadka’ since it’s the offspring of ‘Crystal’ Chowpatty.
Excerpts of my review:
“This ordinary pure vegetarian ghar-ka-khana, 60-year-old eatery, stays on my list of favorites. Probably the only place in town where you get phula hua, plump, handkerchief-soft phulkas, non-greasy Rajma, Punjabi Kadhi, and more. Who cares if the eatery is small and ramshackle or stacked with cartons?”
I couldn’t think of a better person than a well-travelled, knowledgeable, Punjabi person to review the restaurant with me. The high flying dapper Sameer Sain, food and wine connoisseur, is not only India’s largest private equity and real estate developer but also the biggest food and beverage investor who jets around and eats at the finest in the world as a hobby. But when in Mumbai, he makes a beeline for the chaat in Elco arcade. He cooks many an exotic cuisine, and peppers our lunch with his knowledgeable remarks.
Punjabi Tadka by Crystal Chowpatty Fame, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Decor
It’s tucked into the grotty, monophonic armpit of Lower Parel. A steep, very steep wooden staircase leads up to the small boxed in 54-seater restaurant with wooden tables and chairs.
Punjabi Tadka by Crystal Chowpatty Fame, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Food
Yes! Handkerchief thin, puffed with air, garmagaram phulkas are served here, too. As is the besan dahi kadhi with the sparkle of methre.
Robustly spiced karela, soft, good quality paneer tossed in a vibrant velvety tomato gravy met with our gourmets approval.
Hara Bhara Kabab sprinkled with amchur, home style Khichdi layered with palak passed muster. Every Punjabi’s favorite Rajma had the softness and the bite that goes with it while the Cholley was okayish. We enjoyed the Boondi Raita with freshly tossed bundi, adding just that right crunch and texture. Gloppy thick rice kheer worth asking for even though on the sweeter side.
Punjabi Tadka by Crystal Chowpatty Fame, Lower Parel, Mumbai: Minus Points
All the non vegetarian dishes were either over-cooked or undermarinated. Amritsari fish lacked that mandatory spike of ajwain. Baingan ka Bharta lacked it’s signature smokey aroma that comes with the slow roasting over the flame. Mish mash masala Biryani and stingily stuffed mooli paratha weren’t appealing as well. No parking. No alcohol.
Punjabi Tadka by Crystal Chowpatty Fame, Lower Parel, Mumbai: My Point
While Crystal (Chowpatty) is pure vegetarian and aces its food, Punjabi Tadka of Crystal Fame has added on a whole non vegetarian menu, which is quite clearly not the kitchen’s forte. It was packed when we lunched there. It’s obviously a matter of value, pure and simple. Average dish price is Rs. 250. However, it’s certainly not worth a detour. It’s a quick in and out neighborhood eatery. If in the neighborhood, pop in but better still drive to Chowpatty Crystal for that garmagaram shudhvegetarian ghar ka khana. And that phoola hua phulka!