When was the last time I dined out in Mumbai? All roads led to Seefah Bandra
It had been sometime that I had been in Mumbai. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I ate out in Mumbai. When I first reached this Maxim city in 2007 with a job, the multiple options in eating across the city was overwhelming. I must say that I was not a food writer then yet I remember some of my best meals at FivS spice, Red Box in Andheri West, a drunch (drunch was never present then and yet alcohol used to get served with brunch) at Global Fusion. Our first night out in Mumbai was at Leopold’s cafe and had drank two large beer towers. Pop Tates was close to my office in Ghatkopar and hence frequency of visiting that place was high.
We shifted to Pune subsequently within 7 months.Then Madhushree and her cousin opened Beach Shack. It was a 120 cover seafood turned multicuisine restaurant in Malad. That meant spending more time in the restaurant and eventually, eating out in Mumbai was almost turned to none.
Last weekend when I visited Mumbai, I had to meet a few friends and I was meeting Rushina Gildwal the noted author and food consultant for the first time. A quick coffee at her wonderful APB cook studio, a hearty chat with Clara, Rushina’s main support in the kitchen and an excellent cook herself and the discussion hovered around sorshe, kasundi and Bengali food.
I had left the choice of dinner with Rushina and we landed at a place which seems to have her comfort food. I have always been slightly intimidated by Bandra as I have always perceived it as an upmarket place and if you had stayed in Andheri East, Poonam Nagar, then it’s valid.
Seefah Bandra, means Blue and Blue is the colour of love
There is an interesting story of Seefah. The restaurant is named after Seefah Ketchaiyo, who came to India from Bangkok in 2011, joined Four seasons Mumbai, worked for 5 years and then quit. It was in Four Seasons, she met her future husband Karan, who is a Japanese chef. She started doing home parties, positive feedback inspired her to open Blue at a 350 sq ft place with an intention of more of a takeaway joint and delivery services. Great food always attracts clientelle, who doesn’t know that. Increasing demands made her shut down that place and open up Seefah at a larger place with an open terrace eating provision also. She also owns SOI with her partner Rishi Acharya. Seefah Bandra serves Thai and Japanese cuisine.
The food experience at Seefah Bandra
The ordering was left to Rushina and it was her favourite playlist from the menu which was presented that evening on the table. We started with grilled stuffed chicken wing which was filled with minced chicken and garlic and chopped coriander root . This came with a spicy sauce and was a perfect opening scene for a film with promise. Crispy squid on a bed of spicy raw mango, thin and long sliced with peanuts and microgreens was the one which could be tried again and again. Simple flavous, perfectly done squid and the slightly spicy raw mango slices had all possible bursts of flavours. It lured you into eating more. Next up was Salmon Tataki. Tataki is a popular Japanese way of making fish where the fish is seared from outside and left slightly raw inside. This one had edamame, small chopped onions, soya sauce, bell pepper and yuzu. The aroma and flavour from the yuzu made all the difference. Pillowy soft chicken gyoza came after we took a break and Seefah took us around the terrace.
The crowd at Seefah Bandra
It was almost around 10 P.M. by then. The otherwise empty look of Seefah Bandra when we entered had changed to houseful now and some of the seats at the terrace were taken too. My fading Mumbai memories reminded me that it’s the time when the party starts in Mumbai. The only non impressive dish of the evening made its appearance then- Tuna Akami Sashimi. Akami is the most common part of Tuna used unlike chutoro or utoro. I don’t see any fault in the dish but there are days when the flow of the events are such that one particular entity looks off note. This is almost like you are in a store of Manyavar Sherwanis and you find one all white kurta churidar. The burst of flavours in each dish by now had set the expectation of psychedelic colours. I am glad that Rushina ordered for crispy chicken in ripe mango salad. Small, chunky pieces of chicken with a crispy shell intertwined with micro greens and finely cut ripe mangoes and chili was sublime. It was sweet yet hot and presence of onion, celery, tomato, spring onion with lemon, garlic and fish oil made it multi textured yet the chickens never turned soggy. Hat Tip – A common sense says that this cannot be left on the table for long.
We were filled up and yet Seefah, who by now had already made visits to our table several times, shared her story of how she started cooking at the age of 21 and seeking our feedback eagerly. The meal ended at the peak. After the first bite, I said that this is what happens when Shahi Tukda visits Thailand. The Honey toast. A bread toast with butter flavour (can be a brioche, i didn’t check) on a bed of honey with two scoops of home made ginger ice cream and honey drizzled from top. I didn’t speak a word while having this.
Here’s wishing Seefah Bandra, Seefah and Karan all the best. A cosy place, good food and warm hospitality. Saturday nights out of home are meant to be like that. I now realise that it was conversation of food, over food with Rushina which made a huge difference.
Address of Seefah Bandra Mumbai – Khan House, Hill Road 3 Floor, Above McDonald’s, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400050