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From seafood chaat to babka, this Mumbai restaurant's weekend brunch has more than a tadka of nostalgia

The Bombay Canteen’s weekend brunches are back, with seafood chaat, small plates and a jaggery babka that is innovative while still celebrating the braided bread dessert.

October 19, 2021 / 11:14 AM IST
The Bombay Canteen No Rules Canteen Brunch spread.

The Bombay Canteen No Rules Canteen Brunch spread.

The Bombay Canteen has been known to push the envelope when it comes to regional cuisine. Its brunches, too, have showcased regional Indian cuisine in fun ways. So, when an invitation arrived for their new No Rules Brunch, I knew it was going to be a menu that will be distinctly Indian, yet still manage to surprise me.

The brunch started with Raw Bar dishes: The Sea Bass Tartare Sev Puri and Cured Prawn Paani Puri presented a delightful marriage between seafood and chaat. I couldn’t help but take an extra serving of the latter that had a generous filling of the cured prawn, smoked corn and avocado served with tangy amchoor ka paani.

Raw Bar dishes in the No Rules Brunch menu at The Bombay Canteen. Raw bar dishes.

Next up were the small plates which were big on flavour as well as nostalgia. The Dosa Waffle Benedict, for instance, is a South Indian version of chicken and waffles, with dosa batter used to make the waffles.

The highlight for me, in the small plates section, was the Butter Garlic Crab Kulcha: A crispy kulcha topped with buttery, garlicky crab, scrambled eggs, and fresh Narthangai zest. This dish, too, is driven by the nostalgia factor – the chef tells us - of eating garlic crabs in Goa or at Trishna, the renowned seafood restaurant in Mumbai. “The Narthangai is a big part of my growing up years. We used to have it at home with curd-rice,” Executive Chef Hussain Shahzad said.


Small Plates menu in The Bombay Canteen's No Rules Brunch, available on weekends. Small plates.

The Pink Peru Highball I tried would have worked better had it been on the spicier side, but the gin-based cocktail was way too sweet for my liking.

Read more: Gin taste test: a review of some of the best craft gins in India today

The desserts fared much better by comparison. The Ricotta and Anjeer Crepe Cake had fig in three ways – fresh and macerated, in the form of a jam, and as an ice-cream that complemented the light and layered crepe cake.

However, it was the Jaggery Babka French Toast that was the clear winner. It seems babka has been having a moment for quite some time now, and interpreting it as a French toast with a smooth cinnamon and walnut ice-cream and candied walnuts for good measure, was the kind of innovative thinking we like.

Seafood chaat: crab and dahi papdi Seafood chaat: crab and dahi papdi

The No Rules Canteen Brunch is available on weekends at The Bombay Canteen, Lower Parel. Average price of No Rules Brunch for two on Saturday and Sunday: Rs 1,500 plus taxes without alcohol, and Rs 3,000 plus taxes with alcohol.
Deepali Singh is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist who writes on movies, shows, music, art, and food. Twitter: @DeepaliSingh05

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