It’s not too often that anything in Mumbai lasts for over a hundred years, except for maybe our legislation, but Badshah near Crawford Market isn’t just anything. It’s living proof that all you need to build a century long legacy is hard work, perseverance and a super secret falooda recipe. Just think about it, when Badshah first opened its doors back in 1905 we were still a British colony and would be for another 42 years, the Gateway of India didn’t exist so Colaba probably wasn’t full of bloody tourists, and Gujarat was still a part of Bombay. Truly dreadful times.
The world around it may have changed, but Budshah hasn’t. It still whips up delicious food and desserts, as it has been for more than a century. And as someone who has zero respect vegetarian food and vegetarians as a demographic, I’d happily admit that ordering a Mysore Sada Dosa at Badshah is one of my three guilty pleasures, the other two being ordering Veg Kaukswe at Busago and watching reruns of Supergirl while firmly clutching a tub of ice cream.
Everything they serve at Badshah is pretty amazing, but we’ve been going there for long enough to confidently be able to pick three items on the menu which aren’t just good, they’re amazing. You could write poems to each of them and still not seem like a pretentious lit major, though I don’t think Ode to A Royal Falooda would go down to well with their regular crowd.
1) Mysore Sada Dosa
You can’t really go wrong with a dosa, they’re basically oversized, flavoured nachos with a sambar and chutney dip. Badshah’s Mysore Sada Dosa is slightly more pungent than its ilk; just spicy enough to be exciting to try, but not spicy enough to be a task to finish. Their chutney is delicious, and their sambar is exceptional, which is saying something because sambar usually tastes exactly the same wherever you go.
2) Special Pav Bhaji
Badshah’s pav bhaji is so good they call it special. That’s not a word you can just throw around lightly unless you observe extreme political correctness, which we don’t. The special pav bhaji is 10% pav, 10% bhaji and 80% melted butter. But who’s complaining.
3) Royal Falooda
You can say what you like about the lanes outside Crawford Market, but they do have some of the finest falooda in the city. The management at Badshah weren’t showing off their English vocabulary when they called it Royal Falooda; it really is that good. It isn’t too rich, nor is it too heavy; it’s just a good, good, falooda. It’s also reasonably priced, so you won’t be forced to split one with a male colleague, which can be a bit weird when you have to share the same glass but with two straws; and end up making eye contact.