Ramzan is finally here, and it’s time for everyone to close their eyes and pretend that it’s completely safe to go to Mohammed Ali Road at night. Do it for the kebabs. Mohammed Ali Road isn’t exactly a tourist destination through the rest of the year, but during the holy month of Ramzan, people from all over the city, Muslims and Kafirs alike, make their way there to sample some of the best iftari cuisine the city has to offer.
However, amidst the throngs of confused Mumbaikars, it’s hard not to be herded into the lane adjoining the Minara Masjid, the epicentre of the festivities. Some of the more enterprising vendors have noticed this, and the lane is chockablock with outdoor seating and men drawing you in and asking you to take a seat and have a meal. Beware, traveller, do this and you will be trapped, not much unlike the many quails locked in cages along the road, awaiting their fate. The seats here are uncomfortable, the prices substantially higher, and the food not as good. We know this because we’ve been there, and because we’ve done that.
There is a way around this though, a way to circumvent the mass hysteria and eat like our Muslim brothers do. You shouldn’t be treated like a tourist in your own city. You deserve better than that. Which is why we’ve put together a guide, with which you can eat cheap, delicious food, the way it’s meant to be. Three stops, three restaurants, because there is not much else you need. Let us begin.
We start a little ways away from all the action, a short walk down the road at Al-Rehmani, an unassuming irani-looking restaurant on the corner of a large junction. Al-Remani looks like its been around longer than anything else, and makes what is some of the best tandoori chicken on Mohammed Ali Road, at prices that that we’re more than comfortable with.
What to Get: The Tandoori Chicken (Rs. 80), Seekh Kebab (Rs. 40).
From there, a short walk back toward Minara Masjid will get you to another junction, this time with the famous Shalimar on one of its corners (which we will not be going to). Noor Mohammadi has been around for 93 years, and has been serving up great stuff since before any of our parents were born. What you need to get here is Chicken Hakimi, which is basically tandoori chicken covered in melted butter (we aren’t complaining). Then the Nalli Nihari, tender chunks of beef in a bone marrow gravy, and the chicken Sanju Baba, a recipe from the unlikely culinary stylings of Sanjay Dutt, a dish they seem to be very proud of. Also, don’t miss the tender, flavourful shammi kebabs, at just Rs. 25 a pop.
What to Get: Chicken Hakimi (Rs. 300), Nalli Nehari (Rs. 150), Shammi Kebab (Rs. 25! each)
Suleman Usman Bakery
Suleman Usman Mithaiwala has long been churning out the greasiest, most satisfying malpuas in the city, and is the perfect place to end your night of halal debauchery. We stopped here and ordered a single, giant malpua that we couldn’t finish between the two of us, and a phirni that was delicately flavoured and blissfully rich.
Pro tip: Visit the far less crowded Suleman Usman Bakery on the main road under the flyover instead of the Mithaiwala, which is at the centre of all the chaos. Their malpuas are just as greasy.
What to Get: Malpua+Rabdi (Rs. 130), Phirni (Rs. 75)
Did your Mohammed Ali Road adventure include great food at a great price? Tell us where and we’ll check it out!