15 July 2015

Branded Bawi Reviews: Desi Deli, Bandra

On most menus in the city, you'll find The Hot Dog overshadowed by his older brothers - The Burger and The Sandwich. Very few restaurants or delis do a good hot dog, given that they do one. And gourmet hot dogs that go beyond and above a ketchup and relish topping are even more hard to find. Which is why Desi Deli - Bandra's newest all day diner- made me very happy. They not only do a variety of hot dogs, they do hot dogs with interesting ingredients that you'd rarely find sitting atop a hot dog. 

The Desi Deli is the latest entrant to join the Bandra bandwagon of matchbox sized eateries, that are owned and run by food enthusiasts who gave up their day jobs for a far more interesting career in food. But what Desi Deli lacks for in size, it makes up for in spunk. The menu is offbeat without trying too hard, the food hits the right notes in most places, and the owner Lolita Sarkar is the nicest, warmest host you'll have. Having recieved positive feedback for her hot dogs at local flea markets, and pop ups she decided to take the plunge with her own eatery. 

Here you'll find floral centerpieces, black and white chevron tiles, and a menu on a clipboard - little touches that I loved. On the menu you'll find burgers, tamales, mains, dessert, in addition to those hot dogs I was talking about. Go beyond their signature ones- vegetarian Amar, chicken Akbar, and a pork Anthony - towards the 'Globetrotting Desis'.

I enjoyed my Texan Desi (Rs.325/-) where a piquant pork sausage sat nestled in a fresh bun, topped with kheema, fried onions, and boiled egg. The hot dog had so many different layers, contrasting textures and flavours thanks to the different ingredients, it was a treat! I loved the addition of fried onion slivers or 'birista' giving it a desi twist. I really admire the fact that they have vegetarian options for each hot dog, because let's face it, the vegetarians tend to get left behind among this meat feast. With the Texan Desi being the priciest hot dog of the lot, this snack is definitely on the pricier side here. But I'd pay for innovation and top quality ingredients.

Texan Desi
The Lush Lamb Burg (Rs 325/-) was a delicious lamb patty served with cheddar, grilled apples, and a red mayo. The meat was strikingly well done and cooked perfectly, though I'd like a bit more spice in the burger. Jalapenos, maybe? Or a dipping sauce on the side? Bee on the other hand gobbled the burger up in 90 seconds flat, and had no complaints whatsoever. Those ingenious 'dublaa patlaa fries' served on the side reminded me of salli.

Lush Lamb Burger
Since this was a review by invite, I got the benefit of having tasting portions of the mains sent out to me. Blogger benefits! Portion sizes are definitely larger than they appear on screen. The Great Greek (Rs. 300/-) was my least favorite dish of the night, partly because I would never come to a restaurant and order green leafy vegetables. Here the greens came tossed in rice, topped with 'Topli nu paneer' - a Parsi wedding amuse bouche, where this runny cottage cheese variant comes in a little basket or 'topli'. The rice was on the bitter side for me, maybe because of the addition of dill leaves or mustard leaves, I'm not too sure. 
Veggies should opt instead for the Shorse 'Shrooms (Rs. 280/-) where mushrooms are cooked in a Bengali mustard sauce, served with a deliciously tangy green mango relish. This comes with a buttered and grilled pao on the side, making it a meal by itself. A surprising stunner was The House Desi salad which comes serves alongside your main. A refreshing blend of salad greens, citrus fruits, and pine nuts, the salad deserves a place on the menu instead of just being an 'extra'.

(Clockwise): The Great Greek, Shorse 'Shrooms, The House Desi

Among the non vegetarian entrees, we tried the Ghugni Souk with mutton (Rs. 290/-) and The Champ (Rs. 350/-). The Ghugni Souk was a white pea curry aka 'ragda' with chunks of tender mutton served with couscous. It reminded me a bit of the Bohri khichda because of the combination of lentils with meat. The couscous was delicious and well cooked, and would be the only reason to order this dish again. What I enjoyed was The Champ - a play on the Bengali favorite 'Chaap'. Here the mutton was tender, well spiced, and falls right off the bone. I particularly enjoyed seeing some Bengal inspired dishes on the menu, courtesy the owner's Bengali lineage. 

(Clockwise): Couscous, Ghugni Souk, The Champ
By now we were struggling to finish what was on our plates, but there is always room for dessert. The Screwpine Aam (Rs. 210/-) was a rice kheer, topped with chopped mangoes, and screwpine water. Now I've never really tasted a screwpine to pin point it's taste in the dessert, and having googled it's image I don't think I want to taste one. The dessert was pleasant to taste, and a good twist on a regular kheer. But the star was the  Trucker Tycoon (Rs. 200/-). How can you go wrong with three universally loved ingredients clubbed together - chocolate, cheese, and bread? This take on a dessert sandwich was perfectly buttered and toasted, and oozing with nutella and mascarpone rendering the accompanying plum sauce redundant. Highly recommended!

Screwpine Aam
Trucker Tycoon
The Desi Deli is a welcome addition to the city's ever evolving food scene, where individual run eateries with character are replacing mass produced, soulless restaurants. I will definitely return to the Desi Deli for one of those delicious hot dogs. Or else on a rainy day with a book, and the Trucker Tycoon by my side.

Contact: Shop 1, Pearl Haven CHS, 86, Chapel Road, Reclamation, Bandra West, Mumbai. Phone: 022 30150888.

(The author was invited to dine at the Desi Deli. However the views are unbiased and entirely her own.)

Desi Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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