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Bombay is full of so-called coastal food restaurants serving inconsistent and commercialised versions of the food of the West Coast and relying on the lure of crabs, lobsters and large prawns. This, however, is the real thing, based on recipes sourced from private homes including Chef Ananda Solomon's own place on the Karnataka-Kerala border. Every single masala is freshly made and authentic and though you can get all the giant prawns and fresh crabs you want, most people go for the subtle flavours of one of India's greatest cuisines.
One gets lost in the commercialized glamour of coastal food when visiting any popular South Indian restaurant but coastal food is so much more than your stereotypical prawns and lobsters. The real magic of coastal food lies in the abundance of subtle flavours laced throughout the cuisine. That refreshing hint of curry leaves, the creaminess of coconut milk and then the succulent morsels of seafood bobbing in the curry. If you too desire for the real thing, definitely visit ‘Konkan Café’, an elegant reflection of the delicacy of South Indian culture. This fine-dining restaurant housed under Vivanta by Taj President at Cuffe Parade, Mumbai, is a wonderful place to take your family to for a grand culinary affair. If you have someone visiting from abroad, bring him or her here to showcase the gastronomic brilliance of Southern India.
Konkan Café celebrates the food of Kolhapur, which gives them an added edge over every other South Indian restaurant in Mumbai. If your normal South Indian repertoire misses the food from this region then a trip to Konkan Café is a must. Authentic Konkan food is on the menu here besides your usual South Indian suspects adapted from the home of Chef Solomon who is a native of that region. Konkan Café starts serving guests early in the morning so if you crave for traditional South Indian breakfast, this is your place. Give the booze a miss opting for tender coconut water or solkadi, a traditional southern drink. First course may tempt you to fulfil your appetite but wait for the mains. Let your brush with Konkani cuisine lead you to, maanga kozhambu, tikkle, pomfret in coastal spices, tisrya chi sukhe, malvani chicken curry and hirve masalya che saar.
Polish off the morsels of juicy meat with Malabari paratha, appam, sannas or jwarichi bhakri. South Indians are rice-loving people so if you see them mopping up the curry with bowls of ghee rice or masala bhath, don’t be surprised. Sugarholics can indulge in an assortment of comforting desserts like, bebinca, paan ice cream, elaneer payasam, hot jalebi with kulfi and ada payasam. Konkan Café is a luxurious fine dining experience that doesn’t come cheap at all. Dining on authentic Konkani food in such elegant traditional surroundings intensifies the experience. The restaurant is fashioned after a traditional South Indian home. It’s classy, subtle and transporting.