The Bohri kitchen (Colaba, mumbai)


In a NUtshell:
Home chef starting a home restaurant, her son leaving a bright job in google to help and Expand, a full fledged delivery kitchen set up in a year’s time, an unparalleled dining experience that I call a cocktail of these 5 ingredients – a thematic food pop up, a ‘well thought of’ 7 course lunch spread by a seasoned restauranteur, non stop story telling, outstanding sense of humour and visiting aunt’s place and enjoying a chat and a hearty Sunday lunch ……… if u r in mumbai (travelling here/staying here) and have not tried this yet, u r missing something

Address & other details:  The Bohri kitchen
Meal for 2: ₹3800 onwards
Cuisine type :  some vegetarian and predominantly non vegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Short description- in case u r in a hurry:

We heard about the Bohri kitchen ever since we landed in mumbai 2 years back. My best friend, who always chooses the next place to dine out, had left this out coz she had read ‘we want proof that you are not a serial killer’ in one of the fb posts of tbk. She thought we had to personally know someone to go here. So this was on the side burner for a long time.

The posts by TBK on social media are pretty witty and cool. Later, when at TBK, I realized that our host was as witty…

The other day while flipping pages on Facebook we saw an ad of tbk. We clicked on it and saw the menu. We were excited at the menu. So we clicked ‘I want to participate’. We were routed to the payment gateway. After payment, our booking was confirmed. As easy as that.

Two days before the lunch day we got an invitation to a whatsapp group initiated by TBK, where all guests were introduced to each other. People asked questions. Location, other details were shared by TBK.

The story of TBK –
TBK started when Mrs. Nafisa Kapadia (I will refer to her as auntie from now on) realized there was nothing interesting to do after her kids had grown up. She had always been used to making awesome food for 15-20 people for long,  since she had lived in a joint family at some point. On a few occasions when a bunch of her son’s friends went ga ga over the food she cooked and suggested to open a restaurant, the idea of TBK came in.

Initially TBK started with monthly pop ups with 8-10 people each. Then the press spotted this and TBK started getting huge attention. Over time the frequency of lunch increased from monthly to twice a week – every Saturday and Sunday approx 20/25 people. The menu has some common dishes every time and the rest keep changing.

Auntie’s son (Mr. Munaf Kapadia, who is the founder of the company and now the CEO – Chief eating officer), left his job at google and got involved in TBK full time. Uncle helps with buying the best ingredients from the market and also on a lot of ‘back of the stage’ work and he also joins in when the guests come.

TBK’s Worli home delivery kitchen started some time back and they have also started catering. I am hoping to see a restaurant in some time to come, for more people to enjoy the food. We Wud still personally prefer going back to the home set up.

The Worli kitchen home delivery happens thru TBK’s own website, Swiggy, zomato, uber eat etc.

The day we visited TBK, our host was hamza. As we rang the bell (yes, it’s their house and you have to ring a bell for someone to come and open it), hamza opened the door for us. First look at super lean hamza did not suggest that he eats much of the YUMM food made here:)

I noticed there was a paper stuck to his shirt with ‘hamza’ written on it with sketch pen. Interesting. Little did we know that as we enter hamza Wud ask us To write our respective names and paste to our shirt (white stickers). Reason – 15 people who meet for the lunch do not necessarily know each other – this helps them remember at least the names!!!

Hamza told us in his immensely witty manner that they have a hall of fame which records ‘the person coming from the farthest distance to eat lunch and go back’. He said there was one person from Kalyan who held the record for a long time till someone drove from pune to have lunch here and finally someone else from Nashik.

The apartment is located in a beautiful , very well maintained old building in Colaba. There is no lift but climbing those wide wooden stairs was fun. The ceilings were high. The balcony was beautiful.

The drawing room was where TBK set up was. Guests sat sound the room on portable plastic chairs. There were plates and cutlery kept in one corner.

The concept of a thaal, we were told, came from the Arab world where people would sit around a big plate and eat from the same plate. This would ensure that sand and dust would not come and fall into the food as people would form a wall around the thaal. In people’s homes they still sit around a thaal and eat directly from there.

At TBK, In the center of the room a huge thaal was placed on which food was being served. Guests were picking up their food from the thaal to individual plates.

As all the guests came in, hamza gave an intro to the concept of thaal and then spoke briefly about each and every dish so that guests can plan quantity based their appetite. He told us not to attack the food as soon as it appeared on the thaal coz he would elaborate each and every dish at the time of serving.

Before food started, hamza pointed out that there was a small bowl of salt in the center. He asked one of us to pick up the salt and take it to each individual. Everyone had to pick up a tiny pinch and eat it. Reason he said is that ‘salt is a natural anti bacterial, it cleanses the palate and also readies the tastebuds.’

He recommended not to repeat anything from the thaal twice but in case one liked something very much, to repeat that later, after one round of everything.

To break monotony of the meats, guests were served sweet dishes in the middle and also beverages.

Loved the food and the overall experience

Detailed description- in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

As the thaal was placed on the table, we saw 4 ingredients already there.
Pineapple and boondi Raita – very nice but not different from the usual one

Mango pickle – usual one
Khajoor and dryfruit chutney was lovely. They also gave us a small sampler of the same.
Bhavnagri Mirchi – loved the thick, not hot chillies stuffed with kari masala (peanut based masala). Very different from most stuffed mirchis.

Rest of the dishes came one by one and was placed on the thaal.

Kirim chicken tikka was a very very unique tikka I would say. It was a bunch of soft chicken pieces first skewered and then batter fried. I Do not remember anything like this. The chicken pieces were in a ‘kirim’ (cream) marinade and that was magical. The taste and texture were rich and unique. It was not hot (chilly). Rate it 4.75/5

It seemed that the tikkas were freshly made and served. I don’t think they were just ‘finished’ b4 serving.

Smoked Mutton keema samosa was a very talked about dish on the social media. The Patti (outer case) was super duper thin almost as thin as a filo pastry. There were two thin layers. The cover was strong enough to retain the shape and hold the filling together.

The filling was made from machine minced meat and hence it had lost a lot of its robustness, juiciness and meatiness. The spices were great. The masalas had overpowered the flavours of the meat.

We have had mutton samosas where the juice is thick, intense and meaty. The one at TBK was not like that. It was different.

Rate the outer cover 4.95/5 and the meat 3.5/5. Average rating is 4.25/5

Malai khaja – khaja means pastry stuffed with fresh malai. We found this way better than the one we tasted at tawakkal sweets during Ramzan. The pastry at TBK had millions of layers and the malai was just rightly sweet and great texture, not too sweet but enjoyable. Rate it 4.5/5

Raan in legendary red masala 1 Lg leg of lamb marinated for more than 2 days cooked on stove for only 25-30 minutes. It was garnished with salli wafers and coriander.

The whole raan was placed on a serving tray and no spoon was provided. Hamza suggested that we work like a team and help each other pull out the meat from the bone using fingers. We did – quite an interesting experience.

The parts of the meat near the bones were less exposed to the masalas as compared to the ones on the outer side. There was an obvious difference in texture between these two parts. Loved the ones near the bone as meat flavours were more pronounced here, as the masalas and meat fought a pitched battle  to gain dominance on the flavor front.

Extremely soft meat. Super loved the texture and the taste.

Salli added a twist to the texture. Rate the dish 4.5/5

Chicken angara was a curry with boneless chicken pieces cooked in a tomato and fried onion based gravy. It had an amazing smoky flavor which made us wonder whether the chicken had been tandoored.

Hamza clarified that the smokiness was incorporated by keeping a smoking ember of charcoal in the same pot as the chicken and sealing the lid. The coexistence of the smoke and curry meant that the smoky flavor permeated the gravy till the last drop. It was an unassuming dish and was outstanding.

Tomatoes were very well blending with the masalas. The meat pieces were super soft and great To taste. Rate the dish 4.5/5

This was served with home made hand made rotis- the softest and as good as it cud get.

Sweet dish rawa halwa was made from rawa (sooji/semolina), milk, sugar, ghee and a lot of fry fruits. It had perfect sweetness, saffron made its presence felt.loved munching on the super crisp dry fruits. Milk did magic to the body and ghee gave some very good flavours. Rawa halwa is made across the country in different ways and this one stood out. This one surely stood out. There was a super mild tinge of salt that balanced the sweetness. The dish had a distinct voice of its own. Rate it 4.5/5

Daal chawal was made from basmati rice and toor daal. Daal chawal was not like the uniformly mixed khichdi that has many versions in india. Here the rice strands were independent, long , aromatic grain basmati that retained their shape and size while being super soft. The daal in itself was going very well. Onions on top made a difference. This too had a smokey effect done in the sane technique as the chicken. Rate it 4.5/5

Water used in boiling daal is used to make a sambhar kind of dish ‘palida’ with doodhi (gourds) and drumsticks in it. It was like soul  food. Great to eat this after so much of meats. Brilliant. Rate it 4.5/5

Baingan bharta with dahi had a smokey flavor and dahi ruled, baingan had a mute presence. Great dish. Rate it 4/5

Meatball curry was very interesting. Pulses were used to bind the meatballs. Very soft and flavrful meatballs in an outstanding thick, textured curry that was bursting out with flavours. Rate it 4.5/5

Rose drink with a dash of lemon and subza. Very refreshing. Different. It had a great palate cleansing effect. Subza added magic to the texture. Rate it 4.25/5

Jaljeera base liquid was bought from outside and mixed with soda. Perfect proportions to qualify the drink as a very good palate cleanser. Rate it 4/5

Sancha ice cream was hand churned ice cream. sancha refers to a wooden barrel. A part of the container can contain ice and then the ice cream is hand churned. No artificial ingredients – all fruit and milk.

It had generous amount of fruit. Tasted fab. Could not put it back. We had Mango and Sitaphal flavours. Rate it 4.75/5

Overall rating of food at the Bohri kitchen averages out to 4.4/5

The food was made almost singlehandedly by a home maker who is not a trained chef (training in the context of making high volume of food) , it was outstanding- overall an unmissable and memorable experience. Thanks to the family for opening up the cuisine to everyone- till then only lucky guys who Wud b invited to a Bohri house cud njoy this spread ……

Repeating myself – thoroughly enjoyed the Simplicity of everyone, the free flowing conversations, the story telling by hamza – it’s a real home like feeling, like going to an aunt’s home on a Sunday and having some wonderful lunch.

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