The Foodie Hub (formerly known as Chowzter) Global Fast Feast Awards were held in London on 31st May.
Standing proud among the plethora of winners from across the world was one restaurant from India.
This was Aaswad from Mumbai’s Shivaji Park.
Aaswad is a 30-year-old restaurant run by the Sarjoshi family. It serves Maharashtrian vegetarian food. The queues during lunch and dinner bear testimony to the popularity of Aaswad among the local Maharashtrian community.
Aaswad offers a variety of Maharashtrian snacks such as thali peeth, sabudana vada, pohe and mains such as bharli vangi and vadan bhaat toop along with South Indian dishes and pizzas and sandwiches. It also has an annex where Maharashtrian sweets and savoury farsans (snacks) are sold.
What won Aaswad the award, and thereby put the Indian flag up in the Foodie Hubs awards stakes, is a Maharashtrian breakfast dish called missal.
This dish consists of a lentil curry made with pulses called matki (moth beans) and occasionally chickpeas. This is topped with crunchy farsan and then zesty chopped tomatoes, onions and a dash of lime and chopped coriander leaves. It is meant to be mopped up with pav, the soft local bread. The dish has the contrast of textures and balance of flavours that TV chefs have taught us to look for in food. All present in this humble local favourite.
The founder’s son and current owner, Suryakant Sarjoshi, credits the win to the good quality of farsan used and the home ground spices and the freshness of the food.
Aaswad’s win came against competition from restaurants in Perth, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona and Athens.
The Foodie Hub awards are based on nominations given by local Foodie Hub representatives and I have the honour of being the Mumbai rep. The final awards list is frozen by a global jury.
As a proud Mumbaikar I am thrilled to see Mumbai’s favourite breakfast dish being feted globally.
I know what I am going to have for breakfast tomorrow.
Kalyan Karmakar authors the popular award winning blog, Finely Chopped and is an authority on the food of Mumbai. His extensive knowledge of the city's food scene has been featured in publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror and BCC Good Food. He was one of the founding critics of EazyDiner's Mumbai team.