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Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, BKC, Mumbai

Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, BKC, Mumbai

Name: Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, Bandra Kurla Complex
Phone: 022 33715974
Address:Unit 2, C-31 & 32, G Block, Naman Centre, Opposite Dena Bank, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, MaharashtraIndia
Time: 11:45AM to 12:30AM
Meals for two: Rs. 1,600
Cuisines: North Indian, Pakistani, Bengali, Lucknowi
Facilities: Home Delivery, Full Bar Available, Table booking recommended, Serves Cocktails, Wifi

Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai

Regional Indian cuisine, Zindabad! I’m a big fan of our country’s diverse and complex regional cuisines and am constantly writing about the need for more restaurants serving these. I welcome Taftoon! It celebrates the regions along the Grand Trunk Road. For us geographically (and historically) illiterates, it is Asia’s longest, oldest major roads built by Sher Shah Suri in the 16th Century. It winds through Afghanistan, Lahore, Kashmir, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Jharkhand and Bengal. All this sounds very exciting; however, some questions arise… Is the food tasty? Will we go back?

Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, BKC, Mumbai: Decor

Tucked into BKC’s concrete jungle, Taftoon is a pleasant, elegant surprise. Push open the emerald green door and you’ll find there are no ethnic cliches of either the Grand Trunk Road or elephants, etc here. An open display kitchen (with traditional degchis, lagans, Taftoon wood-fired oven) is at the heart of the restaurant. Kashmiri woodwork, Khatambandh ceiling, handcrafted crockery, hexagonal lights and a seal motif from the Chandra Gupta Maurya era embellishes details like jute bag cutlery holders, napkins.

Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, BKC, Mumbai: Food

We poured over the 14 page menu. Having enhanced our knowledge of places of origin and ingredients of each dish, we ordered a dish from almost each region. Our picks: Kashmiri Gushtaba’s soft spongy pounded meat balls afloat in velvety yoghurt gravy; delicious Kashmiri Chicken Akhrot.

Enjoy the robust flavours of Punjab, be it the Lal Naan (rogan or flavoured chilli oil, topped with sesame) or the Rajma Rice. From UP, it was the fall-off-thebone Nalli Nihari and fragrant Safed Chicken Biryani that came up tops. As did the Mirchim ka Salan and Baingan Bharta. The Chenna Plate with its assortment of milk-based sweets kissed with the perfect touch of sweet. I can’t remember which town Kaju Kulfi was from but its creaminess seesawed to combine the nutty cashew flavours.

Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, BKC, Mumbai: Minus Points

Confusion confounded. The long menu needs pruning down to signature regional dishes. Stodgy and lackluster Bihari Litti; overcooked Bengali Mochar and Bhapa Bhekti. No Rista, no Haq in the Kashmiri menu. Too much sweetness weighed down the Anjeer Murabba.

Taftoon Bar & Kitchen, BKC, Mumbai: My Point

I admit. I had a personal reason for hankering for a restaurant to serve the medley of cuisines found along the GT road in North India. I was first exposed to most of the cuisines being served in Taftoon during my training period at the IAS Academy in Mussoorie. This was after I’d studied journalism and trained in The Times of India in ‘74. The IAS training Academy’s state cuisine dinners’ Bharat darshan and village visits were in a lot of the states along the GT Road. And so began my love affair with these regional cuisines. And for sure, they need to be celebrated.

Kudos to Pankaj Gupta, Abhir Dhawan and chef Milan Gupta (Oye Kake and Cafe Haqq Se) for taking us on this journey.

Chef Milan Gupta’s dishes are consistently well researched and well-balanced. Happy that the breadth and bounty of regional India along the GT road has been brought into the glossier reaches of Mumbai’s dining scene. Balle Balle on the highway!

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