KOCHI: ‘It’s not Mumbai, It’s Bombay’. The line screams out amid an excess of Mumbai slang words written on a blackboard. Mumbai, central to Bollywood and the city of dreams. Mumbai native Karishma Khurana and her Malayali husband Sanjay Varghese, breathed Mumbai but dared to dream in Kochi with their latest offering and labour of love, Bombay Junkiez.
The restaurant serving the ‘non-vegetarian’ version of Bombay cuisine, truly stands distinct in the city with its Bollywood-inspired interiors; a wall of 20th century Bollywood cinema posters, quirky vibrant furniture - seating made of tyres, and delectable fare. D Bombay Junkiez might have thrown open its doors only two months ago, but the restaurant is already a crowd puller, if one guages by the social media handles of food bloggers. Of course.
I arrive an hour early at the restaurant (It opens at 1 pm). The restaurant is located on the Palarivattom-Edapally Road, and is walking distance from the Changampuzha Park metro station. Karishma and Sanjay arrive at the same time to oversee the day’s preparations and get the place running. “I came to Kochi two-and-half years ago, after my marriage. I badly missed Mumbai food and I was certain that several others settled in Kochi might feel the same. So I set up the place in three months. I curated the menu and designed the interiors. We offer rolls, baida roti, tandoori food, street food such as vada pav, Mughlai and Chinese cuisine,” says Karishma, who is a food enthusiast herself.
I’m recommended their popular items. Beef bhuna with pav, beef seekh kebab and their most favoured item, the tandoori barra with cream. Their bhuna, chunks of beef sliced into smaller pieces and sauteed with onions and tomatoes, is the perfect start. With the right flavour, simple yet mouth-watering, the bhuna goes hand in hand with the pav. With Hindi songs from the ‘80s belting out in the background, I feel like a Mumbaikaar as I take a bite. Their beef seekh kebab, served with a green chutney comprising green chillies, mint and coriander, is slightly on the dry side. Nevertheless, it whips up fine with the chutney.
The tandoori barra is what excited me. Fresh cream with butter envelops the tandoori chicken, served with cabbage and carrot strands. A bite, and I’m sold. “The concept is similar to the brownie ice-cream. Cold on the outside, but warm inside. These are local to Bombay, but are lesser-known, unlike their pav counterparts,” says Sanjay. “Everything served here is what my wife and I miss greatly about Bombay. I greatly miss seekh so we brought it here. And my wife was fond of the Chinese food served in Mumbai, and so we added the same to our menu,” he continues, having being raised in Mumbai himself. D Bombay Junkiez is Karishma’s and Sanjay’s ode to the city they call home.
I wash down my palate with a glass of lemon juice, and I’m content. D Bombay Junkiez bursts with flavour, like the city herself.