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Seafood on a shoe-string budget
February 16, 2006
When avowed foodies like the Tripathys (close friends of mine) invite you out for lunch, you can be rest assured the food will be excellent. Which is why I was quite enthusiastic when I joined Suman and Prakash at the Ruchira Konkan Kafe, a small seafood place at Cuffe Parade, Mumbai.
Visually, the place isn't impressive. A converted Zunka Bhakkar stall, it has plastic tables and seating in a covered area on the pavement, next to the stall. Ruchira specialises in Malwani coastal cuisine. Their main calling is seafood but, since they are located in a commercial area, they also have the obligatory fare like aloo mutter, palak paneer, kebabs, tikkas, etc, and a variety of dosas in constant supply for office goers.
We started off with the Prawns Chilli -- nice medium-sized prawns in a spicy red gravy. We had these with neer dosas, which were soft but not watery and fragile (exactly how I like them).
Unfortunately, they ran out. We reached the restaurant pretty late in the afternoon (around 2.30 pm); one should apparently get here early as popular dishes tend to run out quickly.
Next, we ordered the Chicken Saguti, which is rich coconut gravy. Prakash mentioned it is similar to the popular Goan chicken xacuti, but is called saguti in Maharashtra. The main difference between the two dishes, I am told, is that xacuti uses vinegar.
We had the saguti with chappatis and roomali rotis, both of which took a long time to arrive. I guess Ruchira is not too efficient as far as quick service is concerned. But I am willing to forgive them for this because the quality of the food is excellent.
We finished off with the Surmai Fry, Fish Gravy and steamed rice. Excellent stuff again. We barely managed to finish the rice, as the two plates Prawn Chilli were very filling. Prakash and Suman opted for the sol kadi.
So, why did I fall in love with Ruchira? Well, the food's great and the prices are unbelievable. Try this for size.
~ Chicken dish (choice of gassi/ vindaloo/ saguti) with three neer dosas: Rs 50.
~ Fish/ prawns with a large bowl of basmati rice: Rs 50.
~ Prawns Chilli: Rs 55.
~ Prawns Biryani: Rs 60.
~ Sol Kadi: Rs 10.
They also have (depending on availability) other seafood dishes like clams, squid, etc.
Suman mentioned that prices during lunchtime -- noon to 3 pm -- are about Rs 10 rupees lesser on certain select dishes.
So give Ruchira a try when you are in Colaba /Cuffe Parade and don't want to spend too much on a nice seafood meal.
They also take party orders. You can order a kilo of any seafood or chicken dish; it will cost you between Rs 300-Rs 500, which is enough to serve around 10 people. They also have Prawn/ Mutton Biryani for Rs 500 (or chicken for Rs 400) a kilo; this is enough for around eight adults, when no other main course is served.
Ruchira Koastal Kafe
Near IDBI Tower
Sadhu Vaswani Marg
Mumbai -- 400 005
Phones: (022) 55790022, 39518868
Chandrashekhar Bhosle, 28, is a software consultant who lives in Mumbai. He is the moderator of Sigfood - The Fine Wining and Dining Network and co-founder of www.sigfood.org, an independent restaurant reviews site.
Photograph: Suman Tripathy
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