Feast of the Goat

Ever tried kadai gosht?
You should, much as I personally love goats, I have no qualms that I did allow some alteration to my moral and ethical compass for a guilt-free 1/2 hr of pure unadulterated and fattening bliss.

Language training and cheese sandwiches, combined, have an effect worse than that of decent marijuana. As a result we made absolutely no progress on the Voice Lab project where we are expected to sift through 30-40 odd audio and video samples to use in a language lab sorta thing, and instead ended up browsing Daily Show videos on Youtube or Gootube (?), what with the 1.65 billion takeover in their alley.

My one great discovery.
Gastronomical choices reveal plenty about a person’s temperament and character and for close to a fortnight I have been observing individuals around to find more than a slippery marinara ground for my hypothesis in making.
Last night, We, the Brit Nit Wit, Papa Bear, Our Lady of Pink and I descended upon a scarcely populated coffee shop of a suburban/ moderately upscale hotel. Food wasn’t an immediate priority; we just needed some breathing space and generally a place to tease the Pink Lady about her idiosyncrasies. We found the perfect corner. When our respective orders arrived, a look at each of our plates said so much about who we are and what we so often choose.

The Brit had ordered Penne pasta with white sauce (and she made suggestions) – continental to core; she is the epitome of Italian devotion to food. Why was she birthed in Mumbai? We are still trying to figure that one out.

Papa Bear – a large steak sandwich. He is the most relaxed of all people I know and his appetite for life is unmatched. He likes assorted folks like he relishes his fries and wants to venture into teaching across the world. Language, preferably. He also wants to live inthe Southern parts of USA, strictly in spurts. Nothing long term, short spans of frolic and food.

Our Lady of Pink: High tea. But of course! She chose not to eat because she had stuffed her face before the advent of the masterful idea, we should drop all that were doing and go look at sloshed/sluggish folks in a cheesy (but moderately upscale) place. She drank in small sips and in the most careful manner possible. I think she added honey to the tea. Ah!

Me: Pizza with olives and jalapenos. The residue of New York refuses to wash away despite my penchant for dabeli and pav bhaji.

So, food has been our ruling planet this month. Another yarn.

Last weekend was marked by The Man’s sudden and surprise treat at an Islamic eatery (and that’s how it was described to me) in the towny part of Mumbai. We made the long and cumbersome trip to the place only to be lost in its vicinity. Upon arrival, the blinding lights and the throngs of free-from-fasting crowds made me rethink my choice of actually being there. Free food is always great but at what cost? Stampeded by a bunch of hungry devout was a price too high.
Shalimar is an old joint and it has retained its oldness by way of a slant structure and the generous whiff of biryani coupled with old world “tehzeeb”. Private rooms can be booked if you are visiting la familia and these spaces come with their own well laid dastkhan- a dinning arrangement on the floor commonly found in most Bori houses, devoid of chairs and such, and shy waiters. About the latter, the boy responsible for our orders was so painstakingly bashful, he refused to enter the room since so many women were pretty much sprawled on the thickly carpeted floor.
The food is as good as Mughalai gets in this city. Soups are delicate and spicy. A difficult combination to sustain but nevertheless worth every warm and peppery sip of it. The main course is as much a direct assault on your weight conscious heart as on your stomach and your senses. For a frequent vegetarian like yours truly, places like these make me question my faith more often than not. As luck would have it, I usually give away all allusions to veggie or vegan life during ramzan since I have been known to buckle under temptation way more often than I like(to admit). Kebabs are the melt-in-mouth variety and colorful to boot. Pahadi – a green chicken kebab can possibly start a devastating war in its stride, it’s that scrumptious.
The ambience is a mix of cheesy and relaxed and like everything else here, is fairly antithetical. On my way out when I decided to get some coconut cakes packed, the heavily bearded man with a dark spot on the forehead suggested in impeccable English “Have you tried the firni?. Its quite nice, you know”.
Would I like undertake the difficult task of sampling some dessert? asks a colleague.
Pleasure be mine. Yes!
This is where things get serious; though I usually deplore most Indian desserts, but the firni served at this place can make me reconsider all my choices in food and perhaps in life too. I thought I had died and reached a heaven run by the finest Muslim delicatessen ever and then they took me outside to watch the event of the night – the nifty preparation of galactic Malpuas. Oh God! posh joy, this!
It’s an art, nay; it’s a deft combination of science and art. Its so uniquely engaging that I swear upon all my dead gods, I could watch lapsing mysticism float in those gigantic vessels for better part of an entire night.
The hot dish is laden with generous doses of home made rabri and then served. Each bite is so utterly divine that language and anything in that circumference leaves you immediately for roughly 1- 4 hours of having eaten it. You can’t shrug the taste like you can’t shrug that first kiss or the feeling of the first rain droplet hitting your desiccated soul on an arid June day. Its the place’s effect rubbing on me. And to think, I didn’t even try the corn(y) palak!

Jokes aside, Shalimar is a gastronomical journey that’s a food lover’s own pilgrimage and it is a warm place to be, too.



~ by iconoplastic on October 15, 2006.

3 Responses to “Feast of the Goat”

  1. Oi ….my mouth’s watering already!!
    Where be the pics senorita? We need fotus from the soiree..
    You should do some food reviews. Soon.

  2. I am coming to Mumbai. TODAY. You need to take me here.

  3. Not bad little one.. not bad at all.. at the risk of sounding like i’m accepting ur superior.. most appetising write up.. u should contemplate writing for the Lonely Planet’s Guide to India!! and hug people more often!

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