There are restaurants I walk into and feel instantly comfortable with. Mumbai Hafta wasn’t one of them. In fact, irrespective of its rather cute, retro-hipsterish interior, my first instinct was to turn and run. The restaurant isn’t big. When I walked in it was packed to the hilt with lunchtime diners. And the one free table was right in the middle of it all. If there was a way to about-turn with dignity, I would have taken it, but with all eyes on me I allowed myself to be shown in. I don’t do well in crowds, especially ones with slurpers and noisy babies in them. I got both on either side of me. And in the middle of all this, a pretty-prancy blogger barges in and starts walking among the tables video capturing ‘the moment’ on her phone – really? By now, I am uncomfortable (borderline claustrophobic) on so many levels…my left eyebrow has started to twitch. Focus on the food, focus on the food – breathe.
Mumbai Hafta’s menu draws inspiration from its namesake’s vibrant street food scene. I liked that there are a lot of non-veg items on the menu including a wide arrange of kebabs, but also chaats and one of my all-time favourites – keema – they have a whole section on keema – how cool is that? I threw caution to the wind of my low carb/sugar diet and decided to try their pani puri to start. In addition to being seriously yum, at AED10 for six, it represents unbelievable value.
By this time, cool dude (and partner/manager) Shahir had found me and was helping me with the rest of my order. Fancying a mixed grill to sample their kebabs, he suggested I try the Seekh Kabab as well as Kastoori Kabab, both chicken. I found the Seekh Kababs a little bland but the Kastoori, which is a milder version of Chicken Tikka, was superb.
I am a huge fan of Keema and can eat it morning, noon and night. So, I just had to try some of theirs. The best Keema I have had in my life has been at my cousin Raj Jit’s house here in Dubai. The best I’ve had in restaurants in Dubai have been the Keema Pav at Moombai & Co. and Sthan’s orgasmic Rara Gosht. The fact that Mumbai Hafta’s Keema gets a mention in this exulted company tells you how good their Keema is. And that’s all I have to say about Keema.
The staff at Mumbai Hafta are friendly and infinitely hospitable and accommodating. Shahir himself is one of those restaurant proprietors who constantly mingles with his diners. He checked up on me regularly. In fact, he checked up on all the tables, pretty-prancy blogger, Mr Slurpy and baby Dennis the Menace included. In the end, I walked out of this quirky little eatery in Karama happily stuffed and liking it very, very much. I can see why it already has such high ratings. Will I be back? Most certainly. In fact, this may be the best place to kick off our foodie Thursday lunch club for 2020.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.