A Buffet, A Jungle, & A Mall In Oshiwara; What Could Go Wrong?

Our taste for adventure has been insatiable ever since we heard tales of great explorers taming the unchartered wilderness of unknown continents; then slaughtering the locals and appropriating their gold and their women. In many ways, our organisation is modelled after 15th Century Spanish conquistadors, it’s in the company charter; but so far our attempts at invasion and supreme domination have been met with failure and ridicule.

On one of our many expeditions to the region of Oshiwara in search of the fabled At MRP, (where legend has it they sell quarters at market price); we stumbled across an even greater find, a jungle themed restaurant that’s true to its theme, but doesn’t go overboard with the whole thing. It’s called Wild Dining, and despite everything, it’s s a truly amusing place.

In the interest of full disclosure, we never inform the restaurants we’re reviewing that we’re writers because it makes things really awkward for everyone, and puts the staff on edge. But that’s exactly what happened when a nameless crewmember accidently told a Wild Dining waiter that we’re from The Bombay Report after being asked why he was roaming around with two DSLRs and a notepad and ruining everyone’s afternoon. We regret to inform you that nobody has seen said crewmember since, and we don’t intend on looking for him. He belongs to the jungle now.

Themed restaurants in Mumbai are either an absolute farce, or take themselves too seriously and shove their agenda down your throat like Rainforest Resto Bar, which has annoying, sometimes scary animal noises play every 40 seconds. The main thing we loved about Wild Dining was the fact that it’s just quirky enough to be fun, without ever being overwhelming. Yes there are borderline-racist renditions of African tribals, a giant gorilla statue, and an Olmec head (think Legends of The Hidden Temple), but those are awesome.

The cool theme almost makes you forget that the air-conditioning is jungle themed as well, meaning it’s either switched off or nonexistent, and the fact that they didn’t play Africa by Toto even once seems like a missed opportunity.

When it comes to food, the Wild Dining Buffet (Rs.750) is extremely random, bordering on confusing; but in a good way. Why waste time going to different places for Pani Puri, Pizza and Tandoori Momos, and Biryani when you can do it all in one sitting? Exactly.

Because Wild Dining’s buffet menu was considerably big, and we’re no longer in our feeding prime, we’ve picked out the 3 dishes you absolutely need to try, and the 1 you should avoid at all costs;

Fish Koliwada

Quality fish is hard to come by unless you’re willing to invest a substantial sum of money, which we usually aren’t; that’s why we were genuinely surprised how nice the Fish Koliwada at Wild Dining was. It wasn’t the tasteless Basa like you get most places, but instead a patriotic, delicious Rawas.

Considering its ingredients are by far the most expensive, it’s the quickest way to get your money’s worth at the buffet.

Cheese Pasta

The (veg) Cheese Pasta was arguably the most delicious item on the menu, it didn’t look particularly appetising, but turned out to be one of the best pastas we’ve had in months. There’s a lot of cheese, and it probably isn’t good for your health, but nutritional science is a liberal conspiracy.

Mutton Tana-tan

The Mutton Tana-tan was the one item on the main course we found truly exceptional, it was super tender, which is quite hard to get right with mutton. If we’re being honest though, it was quite heavy and a chore to eat (you can’t just chuck the entire plate down your gullet like we did with the fish) so you might want to avoid overdoing it if your goal is purely to get your money’s worth.

Chicken Manchow Soup

The Chicken Manchow Soup was the one thing on the menu we all agree was subpar. What even is Manchow soup other than a dumping ground of yesterday’s leftover sauces? You should avoid it entirely, not just at Wild Dining, but life in general, it just isn’t worth the weirdness and shame of
having to waste.

Our meal at Wild Dining was an unusual experience, but we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t fun. They even had the courtesy to play a trumpeting elephant and have the animatronics spaz out to inform us that the buffet had ended; and quite possibly to drive us out. It might be in a dilapidated mall with a terrifying elevator, but it’s somewhere we’d actually consider visiting soon because it has a soul. And we think you should too.