These Iconic Mumbai Restaurants are Recreating the Menu they Served on 15 August 1947
For the last 70 years, these eateries have celebrated Independence Day with the food they served then and now
As Pandit Nehru gave his iconic speech at the stroke of midnight, some kitchens were busy dishing out an equally memorable Independence Day menu to mark the occasion. A nation was awakening to freedom after decades of foreign rule, and everyone was in the mood to celebrate. In Mumbai, restaurants and hotels were working on a special Independence Day menu, mithai and savoury snacks to spread the joy of freedom. Seventy years on, some of these establishments continue with the tradition of an Independence Day menu.
Independence Night Menu at Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
Taj Mahal Palace at Colaba is a historic spot. Not just for its grandeur, but for the many events related to India’s Independence that took place in its corridors. On January 1, 1916, a meeting at the Taj between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League led to an alliance and a common goal: the self-government of India. The venue has also been privy to many historic moments for the country, with Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, giving his final speech on the steps of the hotel.
Recreating a slice of history, in its Independence Day menu, The Taj serves the iconic menu served on the night of August 14, 1947, to guests from August 12 to 15. The Independence Night 2017 menu opens with Consomme al’Indienne where French clear soup meets a Tamatar Shorba and the classic fish sauce Veloute d’Amandes (Cream of Almonds). Delices al ’Hindustan, which means ‘delicate bites of Hindustan’ have tava kebabs. Executive chef Amit Chaudhury explains that the Tandoor came to India when the Partition refugees from Pakistan arrived.” His version for the Independence Day menu is a chicken mince on sugarcane stick, and a Roti pe Boti.
The Independence Day menu does not mention recipes nor ingredients, and Chaudhury has interpreted it to his best ability. He gives a twist to Poularde Soufflé Independence, where he stuffs a chicken breast with a mince mousse and serves it in a sea of pan jus.
The dessert in the Independence Day menu is Vacherin de Peches Liberartion, a chewy almond meringue filled with a peach compote with wine, and topped with sorbet. The meal has a sweet finish with assorted bon bons from the confectionery.
WHERE: Sea Lounge, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
WHEN: August 12-15, 7.30 pm onwards
COST: Rs 1947 (plus taxes); with wine pairing Rs 2,947. Also, if you are an Armed Forces Personnel, Taj hotels will offer a 70% discount for bookings made on August 15.
Special Mangalorean Thali at Rama Nayak
Inaugurated in 1942 by social activist and freedom fighter Sane Guruji, Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding, better known as Rama Nayak to Mumbaikars, has been the most popular South Indian joint in the city. Current owner Satish Rama Nayak, and his son Sashant, are proud flagbearers of this legacy. Every Independence day, their Independence Day menu recreates the typical Mangalorean thali (now Rs 200) that was served on this day, 70 years ago. The Independence Day menu also includes tempting fried fritters in the form of phodis, onion vadis and bonda, flavoursome vegetables, mounds of rice. When it comes to their Independence Day menu, not much has changed in the last seven decades. And that seems to be their magic sauce!
WHERE: 1st Floor, Lakhamsi Nappu Road, Lal Bahadur Shastri Market, Outside Matunga Railway Station, Matunga East
CALL: 2414 2422
A Letter Arrives at Joshi Budhakaka
The writing is fading with each passing year, but the ninth generation owners of Mahim Halwawala, better known as Joshi Budhakaka, are proud to own a letter from Jawaharlal Nehru stating “We have always been pleased with the sweets from Dhanji Girdhar”.
For victories, big and small, the sweet shop, established in 1829, sold Sutarfeni and Mahim halwa to freedom fighters during the struggle for Independence. These iconic sweets feature on their Independence Day menu to this day.
WHERE: 6 West, Kapad Bazar Rd, Mahim Koliwada, Mahim West
CALL: 022 2444 9457
The New Arrival on August 15 at Madras Café
Devrath Kamath tells us he must consult his father, Jagdish Kamath, and calls us back with an interesting story of the Independence Day menu. His father’s sister was born on August 15, 1947 and his grandfather, Gopal Kamath, named her Bharati. “The entire eatery was decorated, and our family celebrated Independence with a personal memory too,” says Devrath.
WHERE: 38-B, Ground Floor, Kamakshi Building, Bhaudaji Road, Kings Circle, Matunga
CALL: 2 2401 4419
Ushering in Indian Food at Britannia & Company Restaurant
In 1923, Rashid Kohinoor started Britannia and Company at Ballard Estate, serving a menu of Continental dishes. “We served British classics of Fish and Chips, roasted chicken and chips. After 1947 until 1981, the menu transformed into Mangalorean and Mughlai dishes, and all British dishes were taken off. In 1982, Parveen Kohinoor, daughter-in-law of Rashid, created an even more niche menu. “We are Zoroastrians, we will serve Parsi and Irani dishes,’ she said. The menu you see today continues to be the same, with Sali Boti, Sali Chicken, Keema Pav, Patri Ni Machi, Dhansak and the famous Berry Pulao. Though now, we have seven varieties of Berry Pulao,” her son Afshin Boman Kohinoor remembers. Try these treats in their Independence Day menu.
WHERE: Wakefield House,11, Sport Rd, 16, Ballard Estate, Opp New Custom House
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