New Madras, Sion: At What Point Do Beautiful Pillars Become Weird?

Say what you want, but as writers at The Bombay Report, we’re true journalists who brave great odds and risk life and limb to bring you the poorly edited truth. Maybe it’s not necessarily as pertinent as writing about corruption, or politics, or how the 5G spectrum is specifically designed to cause brain tumours, and yes Facebook will never give us the coveted Blue Tick; an honour reserved for terrible pages run by Buzzfeed who you definitely shouldn’t report en masse. But damn it, the world needs to know how exquisitely caramelised Imbiss’ onions are, and how the food at The American Joint tastes like cardboard.

Our quests for great seafood have often taken us to Sion, and we’d be lying if we said it hasn’t grown on us over the years; maybe it’s the food or maybe it’s all that leather, the fact doesn’t change. On most of our assignments to this region, when we weren’t fighting for our lives, we noticed a rather nice looking bar right opposite Sion Lunch Home, and for the longest time we resisted the urge to go there, because being drunk in a strange place is never a good idea. But recently, having lost the remaining bits of the will to live that we didn’t even know we had left, we decided to finally pay New Madras a visit.

They say you should never meet your heroes, which is a bit hard for us because our hero died in a bunker in 1945. The place was packed, which to us was a good sign because any restaurant that draws in that sweet Wednesday night crowd is definitely doing something right. We were able to race an elderly man to an empty table in the air-conditioned section, where there were exquisite engravings on the walls that looked like pillars that were stolen from the Vatican. After admiring the craftsmanship a little too much and getting dragged into a conversation about patriotism with the two elderly gentleman at the next table, we placed our order. But they didn’t have half the stuff on the menu, so after a fun game where we guessed what was on the menu and what wasn’t, our waiter finally gave up and left.

Bombil Fry

Rs. 210

The Bombil Fry at New Madras was a bright red with a crisp outer crust. It was straightforward, not particularly flavourful given its intimidating colour, and crunchier that most. The only thing we found rather interesting was the fact that they accompanied it with fried curry leaves, which while an unusual addition, was really good, and give a character it would have otherwise lacked.

Surmai Tawa Fry

Rs. 330

The Surmai Fry at New Madras was our favourite dish of the night; it was fairly large and less expensive that we’d imagined, & it was so deeply fried on the tawa that we thought it was a bit too dry. Still, despite the fact that they had nothing that we’d planned on reviewing, and we had to improvise on our orders, with the Surmai Tawa Fry, we were content.

Chicken Chilli Dry

Rs. 255

New Madras’ Chicken Chilli Dry was not unlike the one you get at Janata, Bandra, except not as good overall. While by no means perfect, it made for a decent side dish, with our main course being a tower of beer each.

The Decree: As much as we wanted to like New Madras, we didn’t, it was decent but not nearly as good as we’d imagined. They didn’t have a good portion of what was supposed to be on the menu, and their recommendation of Chicken Andhra Chilly was expensive, bony, and unlikable. For a dive bar in rough part of town it was expensive, and there wasn’t a whole lot to justify the price. We can’t even say for sure that it was a dive bar because even though they serve quarters, they also serve pitchers of beer, which is ridiculously upper class. Would we go there again? Yes, because we really want to try our luck a second time. Should you? Probably not.

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