-By Rashmi Uday Singh
You've either loved it or hated this city landmark, this street-stall-on-steroids, in the grotty bylane behind the Taj. Never minded the mangy dogs and ordered from your car, and the rubber chappalled waiters, bustling around as the awesome aroma of grilling meat from the open-air charcoal grills fills the air. But did you know that Bade Miya (1946) owes its existence to the Muslim mendicant, Mohammed Yaseen, from Bijnor who came to Mumbai at the age of 13. His guru Hazrat Fid Mohammed Adam Chisti's gift of 20 got him to set up this makeshift seekh kabab corner. He grew a beard, got nicknamed Bade Miya, and the rest is Mumbai history. This October, his five beneficiary sons set up a full fledged restaurant.
It's the sort of restaurant - a comfy blanket, emphasising good sense over high style - which has an appeal that is not just potent, but durable too. Once again you'll either love it or hate it but either ways will appreciate the price points (average meal for two 500). Brightly lit, mirrored, two-levelled, packed and noisy. Black uniformed waiters (with red ties) buzz amid the functional table and benches. The hard cover handsome, sepia toned menu (Bade Miya's photograph et al) adds on many a biryani and dish not served on the street. Alas, no soups or seafood available. Teething troubles?
It's the Mutton Seekh Kabab that comes out tops, but does not taste as exquisite as it does when had on the street. Malai Tangdi Kabab is too dry at lunch but is succulent at dinner time. Chicken Shami Kabab disappoints with its undercooked stickiness, as does the doughy baida roti.
Flavoursome Bhuna Ghosht and the Mutton Korma win our top vote. Here's the big surprise, the vegetarian dishes: superb seekh kabab and Paneer Baida Roti (much better than the Mutton Baida Roti). Ask for the Jodhpuri Naan too. By pass the lackluster biryani, the dalgosht.
Oversweet Pineapple Halwa, ditto for Shahi Tukra, but both taste better than they look. Bade Miya is unambiguous, its intent on big flavours, its dishes are greasy and rich but tasty to those who like it that way.
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