Instagram is doing to food bloggers precisely what it has already done to models; turned them from an exalted part of society into something where any rando with tits and an iPhone 7 can get ahead. And as a result, most new restaurants are designed for style over substance, so that the likes of The Hungry Indian Foodie and The Foodie Hungry Indian can get good pictures for their thousands of followers, most of whom are bots anyway. The point we’re trying to make is that by shifting their focus from making good food to making food look good, Mumbai’s restaurants are creating genuine victims; i.e. the writers at The Bombay Report.
How many times must we, selfless representatives of the people of Mumbai, have to suffer the indignity of eating beautiful food in a beautiful restaurant, free of charge, only for it to be mediocre? There needs to be a revolution; and we just may have found one. Hidden in the seedy by-lanes of Juhu, next to a very average bar named 7-Hills, is a cute little Bao dispensary called Fuu Qin. We would never have even noticed it if we weren’t already in the area whistling at young women on the road.
Fuu Qin is sickeningly adorable, with a pretty pink wall and neon lighting. There’s foliage, which ties the room together beautifully and makes it perfect for a date, from both parties’ perspective. She’ll love how the prettiness of the place translates directly into Instagram likes and vegana picture requests from guys in Varanasi, while you’ll love how shockingly brilliant the food is. It doesn’t just taste amazing, the level of meticulousness they put into every item is nothing short of concerning. Every item on its menu has its own accompanying bread and flavour of bao, which means they have to bake like 15 different types of bread every morning (they bake their own bread) Is it economically viable? Probably not. After fiddling with their ridiculous, custom made tables that resemble matchboxes and fighting over who had to sit facing the pink wall, we were ready to order.
We love Coney Island corndogs, not only are they named after our personal hero and angel investor, but they’re distinctly American, an odd fit for an Asian restaurant. The only oriental thing about the Prawn Corndog was the delicious Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise; a delicious, umami version of a disgusting American condiment. It was absolutely delicious, especially the way the crisp batter soaked up the delicious mayo to the point where we, in our moment of exhilaration ended up eating large parts of the wooden stick altogether. Painful, but worth it.
Taiwanese Fried Chicken Bao
We’ve never bothered to learn much about Taiwanese culture, not because we’re ignorant people, but because how different could it really be from China. This one bao could very well be the only thing that shapes our entire opinion of Taiwan, and in that regard, it’s done the country a great service. The Taiwanese Fried Chicken bao contained beautifully fried chicken, along with a slew of other specifically prepared sauces and items, in a pillowy, seaweed infused bun. If the staff at The Bombay Report put even half that effort into anything we did, we wouldn’t have to make our youngest interns sell colouring books outside restaurants on Carter road for money.
Chettinad Prawn Bao
Chettinad prawns are something we haven’t really been able to get out of our minds since our expedition to The Bombay Canteen; being one of their only redeeming dishes. As impressive as the Chettinad was, it was outdone by its own chilli oil bao, which was, in Derrick’s own words, “softer than child’s skin”. Make of that what you will.
Lamb Truffle Slider
Of course every item had to have its own bread, and so the the Lamb Truffle slider came in a parmesan brioche bun, with a smoked lamb patty, crispy onions, a cheddar cheese sauce, and truffle ranch, yet another amazing version of a disgusting American condiment. Our working class palettes aren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate truffle, but that didn’t matter because the star of this dish was the meat.
The Decree: Narrowing down what we liked at Fuu Qin was an excruciating task, the lengths they went to to craft each item on their menu, each with its own bread and condiments were captivating. Considering that we ate everything on the menu, we can safely say that you can order anything you like and will still have an incredible meal. If you’re looking for a great place to take your girl on a date that both of you will enjoy, we couldn’t recommend a better place. Just a friendly word of advice, once you’re seated, make sure you’re facing away from the pink wall.