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Kashmir ka khana: Now in Mumbai
We continue our reader-driven series on great restaurants and eating places across the country. This time, Tanuja Wadhwa recommends Poush in Mumbai, which serves authentic Kashmiri cuisine and even has houseboats you can have your meals in.
There's a restaurant in the heart of Mumbai that takes you to Kashmir -- often described as paradise on earth.
It was with much apprehension that I ventured into Poush (meaning 'flower' in Kashmiri), which I had heard was the only restaurant serving authentic Kashmiri cuisine in Mumbai. Once I was there, however, I was enamoured by the ambience.
Having tasted authentic Kashmiri food at many a friend's home in Srinagar and Jammu, it was surprising when these friends now settled in Mumbai insisted on taking me to Poush. They assured me the food was as good as home.
As you enter the restaurant, you see shikaras (wooden boats in which you can sit and eat) placed all over, curtains blowing gently with the breeze. As you remove your footwear and settle in one of them, Kashmiri folk music takes you to another world. There are tables and chairs too, of course, along with an AC section for those who want to sit indoors.
Ordering the food is the most difficult part, as all the dishes are tempting. As we sipped on Qahwa (Kashmiri green herbal tea), we ordered for some starters. For vegetarians, there's Poush Chaman and Troush Chaman (both paneer starters, one curd-based, the other red and spicy), and the melt in the mouth Nadier Palak Tikki (made of lotus stems and spinach). Non-vegetarian starters included Kabargah (mutton ribs stewed with herbs, marinated in curds and deep fried), Seekh Kabab (minced mutton marinated, barbequed and stir fried) and Kokur Kanti (chicken pieces flavoured with herbs, roasted and stir fried with onions and tomatoes). You can also order the Assorted Platter.
That may sound like a lot, but it isn't enough for a large group. For those who can't decide on the main course, I recommend the thalis -- Wazwan Thal and Maharaz Thal for non-vegetarians, and the Dai Batta Thal for vegetarians.
We had the Roganjosh (red mutton gravy), Goshtaba (spongy meat balls cooked in a curd based gravy), Ruwangan Kokur (chicken pan fried and cooked in a tomato and onion gravy), Dum Aloo (boiled potatoes deep fried and cooked in a red hot gravy on slow fire), Tsok Wangun (brinjal deep fried and cooked in a tamarind gravy) and rajma, which is to die for.
As we waited for the food, we also tried the flavoured hukkas. And yes, the shikaras give you a feeling of privacy even though they aren't closed.
Before and after the food, an attendant gets a tash-t-nari (a small wash basin) with lukewarm water, in which you can wash your hands.
There was no space in our stomachs for anything else, but we still couldn't resist the phirni. And it was yummy.
That was my first time, first hand experience. Poush has since become a regular hang-out for me and my friends. Regular visits guarantee me prompt attendance by the staff but, even as a first timer, I remember the excellent service. I have also bumped into many known faces from the television and film fraternity who are regulars here. So, if you want to share table space with famous faces while eating finger licking Kashmiri khana, Poush is the place to be.
. Cuisine: Exclusively Kashmiri, vegetarian and non-vegetarian (10 on 10).
. Ambience: Cosy, homely (9 on 10).
. Service: Excellent (8 on 10).
. Meal for two: Rs 300 to Rs 400.
Note: You also have flavoured hukkas, free home delivery within a limited area and they do accept credit cards.
Address: 17, May Fair, Oberoi Complex, Sab TV Lane, Off New Link Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai 400 053.
Phone: (022) 669 94553, 553 91201
-- The writer works as a creative head in Mumbai.
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