A slice of Kolkata in Mumbai!

Written by: Jeet Chaudhuri

What: Nalli Nihari
Where: Gallops, Mumbai

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Jeet is from Powai, Mumbai and is a self-confessed foodie. He is a banker by profession but considers eating good food his passion

My childhood years were spent in Kolkata, a place obsessed with food. For the benefit of those who have not been to the City of Joy - it is a foodies paradise. I grew up on a steady diet of Puchkas and Dum Aloo from Vivekananda Park, Chello Kebabs from Peter Cat, Chicken Ala Kiev from Mocambos, Chinese food from Tangra…..the list is pretty endless.

I still remember the cold winter mornings (winter in Kolkata can be very cold, around 6 to 8 degrees), when I used to wake up at 4 am and ride a bike all the way to Chitpur, just to have Nalli Nihari at Sufiya. The ‘melt in your mouth’ meat was totally worth risking semi frost bite!

When I had to leave Kolkata and move to Mumbai, my first thought was ‘What about the food?’.

Amazingly, I took to Mumbai like a fish to water. I love the buzz in this city. And over the years, I have explored a lot of eateries and restaurants in Mumbai. I like to explore both – the new restaurants, and the golden oldies. One of my constant food quests was to find the same kind of food I grew up eating. This quest took me to Gallops at the Mahalakshmi racecourse.

Gallops has been around for almost 30 years. It is an old school restaurant, with solid wood décor and lace drapes. The pathway to the restaurant is strewn with starry lights, and the restaurant overlooks the lush greenery of the racecourse. It is a treat for the stomach and for the eyes!

Gallops serves fantastic Indian as well as Continental dishes. While almost every dish on the menu is worth a try, the stellar dishes are the Nalli Nihari and the Chicken Ala Kiev.

The Nalli Nihari is a slow cooked lamb marrow dish, topped with julienned ginger and served hot. It is not an exaggeration to say that each bite takes you closer to heaven. The rich brown gravy with succulent meat is a flavour bomb, and should be had with hot naans. Ok, let’s ignore health concerns and make that butter naans! It takes a lot of time and love to make this dish, and so the meat literally comes off the bone and melts in the mouth. It is perfect for rainy days or wintry nights.

Nalli Nihari is an Indian cuisine gem on the menu, and its Continental counterpart is the Chicken Ala Kiev. The dish comes garnished just like a Chicken, making it a huge hit with kids. The crumb fried chicken cutlet sits right on a bed of herbed rice, served with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables on the side. The surprise is when you cut into the Chicken cutlet! Warm, salted butter flows right out and merges with the rice (this one isn’t for weight watchers either). The combination of Chicken, Butter, Rice and Potatoes is something that instantly takes me back to Mocambos in Kolkata!

These dishes are not only very tasty, but are very dear to my heart because somehow I am taken back home while eating them. I highly recommend a trip to the racecourse for a meal that will be absolutely unforgettable. The ambience and the food make it a perfect place for a romantic dinner too! Do let me know if you try my recommended dishes. Until then… bon appetite!