How about some street food for brunch?
If you ever happen to be in the vicinity of the Dubai World Trade Center on a late Friday morning, yearning for some delicious Mumbai street bites, then a visit to Moombai & Co Café and Bar, located in the H Hotel is sure to satiate your cravings.
This place will take you on a trip down memory lane. It reminds one of the popular Irani-Parsi casual dining joint SodaBottleOpenerWala in the Indian metropolis. Almost everything here takes you back to the Mumbai joint - the décor, quirky furniture, layout, blackboards displaying humourous messages (like no nose picking allowed here or food once eaten can't be returned etc), to old Bollywood movie posters. The menu too has a lot in common, but with a difference of course.
Besides the 'colourful' indoor ambience, Moombai & Co also has a cosy al fresco area where you could sit back and puff away your blues with a shisha or simply enjoy some steaming hot Vada Pav and Cutting Chai (Mumbai's version of Karak Chai).
Our visit to the establishment was to sample their 'Footprints of India' Friday brunch and we have to say that it's a brunch with a difference. Instead of a buffet table, this brunch is pre-plated and served to your table, course by course.
The fixed menu features 13 dishes, including street foods, curries, and other dishes from the north, south as well as the coastal regions of India.
We started off with Pani Puri (the beloved Indian street snack) and the Jhodpur ki Pyaz Kachori. The Kachori scored on freshness and crispness and was devoid of the grease you usually find in deep fried foods. It was served with a 'flaming' hot red chutney which added spark to the dish. The Pani Puri, as always, was a great refresher. This was followed by the ubiquitous Mumbai street snack Vada Pav - a spicy, mashed potato mix, coated with chickpea flour batter, deep fried and stuffed into a Pav (bun). It is traditionally served with a dry, red chilli-garlic chutney and fried green chillies.
The dish reminded us of the inimitable Karjat railway station's (said to be the home of this humble dish) Vada Pav, especially the chilli-garlic chutney and the authentic presentation (served on a newspaper just like it's done at Karjat station).
The other appetizer was the Dilli Ki Aloo Tikki, crispy potato cakes served with green chutney.
The mains featured a spread from the different states of India like the Punjabi-style Amritsari Macchi, Lucknow ki Galouti Kebab, Delhi Ke Chole Bhature, Patna Ka Litti Chokha, Mangalore Rava Fish Fry, Bombay Ka Keema Mattar and Agra Ki Malaiyo. The mains also featured rice preparations like the famed Karnataka Bangalore Ka Bisi Bele Bhaath and Mumbai Tawa Pulao.
Both the fish dishes grabbed our attention for their freshness and taste.
We ended the brunch with some hot Jalebis and Agra Ki Malaiyo. Having over-indulged ourselves, we would have preferred some low cal desserts, but we found the Malaiyo hard to resist.
A word of caution before you plan on trying out this brunch - set aside plenty of time and keep enough space in your belly. Our tip will surely come handy if you're aiming to go through all the courses. But having said that, this brunch was nonetheless a delicious ride through the diverse flavours Indian street food cuisine has on offer.
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