Tavaa is a Bandra landmark. Literally. When giving directions, people will more often than not base their directions around Tavaa. `Tavaa ke aagey’, `Tavaa ke baju mein’ and so on and so forth. Oh, by the way, Tavaa is at Turner Road in Bandra, Mumbai.
Tavaa has been around since 1984. It describes itself as “The Exclusive Place For Grilled and Fried Dishes”. We have been eating here for years and years. Earlier, we used to order take out from Tavaa, so basically we have been long standing customers.
The food at Tavaa has always been remarkably consistent and remarkably good, time has been kind to Tavaa. It has had its share of troubles with the law but none of this has had any impact on the food. The food is reasonably cheap and of good quality. Tavaa is rather non vegetarian so do not venture in if you want a `Hara Bhara Kebab’.
The food here is slightly different from what most Mughalai restaurants serve. A lot of the food has its origins in the street food found in the Bohri Mohallas in Bhendi Bazaar, a Muslim neighbourhood in Central Mumbai. This means that you get a variety of `Baida Rotis’, `Egg Rolls’ with various fillings like Mutton, Chicken, Brain, Gurda [Kidney] and Khiri [Udder] and Sandwiches of various kinds like Iraqi, Mutton Bhuna and Kheema.
A `Baida Roti’ is a typically Mumbai dish with a typically Mumbai name. `Baida’ is Bambaiya for Egg. A `Baida Roti’ is made with refined flour dough that is thinly rolled out. On this a beaten egg and your choice of meat – be it Minced Meat or Minced Chicken – is poured on, spices and chopped onion added and the dough folded over to make a parcel. This is cooked on a griddle. You eat it with lashings of Lime juice drizzled on top.
An Egg Roll is shaped somewhat like a Chinese Spring Roll except that it is not deep fried but once again cooked on the griddle. The filling also has egg but the meat is not plain minced meat but a more curried meat. This could be Bhuna Gosht or Bhuna Chicken which are mutton or chicken cooked in a thick gravy or you could ask for Liver, Kidney or even Udder as a filling. The Roll is cooked sliced and served.
|Mutton Egg Roll|
The Sandwiches, for which I do not have a photo, are made not with your normal white bread but with what is called `Bread Naan’. This is shaped like a flatter Hamburger bun. `Bread Naan’ is a Muslim speciality. The bun is sliced horizontally and toasted on the griddle. Inside go the fillings. My most favourite sandwich is the Iraqi which has a minced mutton patty inside, a sort of desi burger.
The menu also has what they call `Two In One (Thick Gravy)’. These dishes are the stars of the restaurant. The Kheema Palak Mix Fry is absolutely delicious. If you like Offal you could have the Kidney, Liver, and Brain or Udder Thick Gravy dishes. Each is outstanding. The Bhuna Gosht is also excellent, though it is not a Two In One dish. Tavaa also serves some reasonably decent kebabs.
|The Nalli Nehari which was a special that evening|
|Kitchen and take away packing section|
As I said the food here is different from most restaurants. You will not find the clichéd Jalfraize, Kolhapuri and Hyderabadi dishes here. Butter chicken is served though I advise you to stay away. Lots of Chinese food is served too, but once again, stay away. Stick to the Tavaa specials and the daily/weekend specials and you will have a great meal. Remember that the restaurant is not fine dining and is situated open air at the corner of a very busy road. It’s noisy and has mosquitoes. If you cannot stomach this do not despair. Please ask for the food to be packed. It’s delicious at home, and remember, you can always reheat the curries at home.
Tavaa is wholly worth going to.