Mumbai Food Junction brings back fond memories of the Maximum City

What do people miss the most about Mumbai once they move out of the city? The Mumbaiyya spirit, night life, the food, BEST buses, the shoe house at Hanging Garden, Flora fountain, Haji Ali, Lal Baugcha Raja, Taj Mahal Hotel...

Well, barring the first two on the list, you now have the others right here in Chennai — in the form of vivid paintings at Mumbai Food Junction (MFJ).

And the good news is that as you admire them and sigh happily about the time well spent in Mumbai, you can also treat yourself to some delicacies from and around the city.

Apart from the hotspots of Mumbai, the restaurant's interiors also have cartoons that are reminiscent of Mario Miranda's works at the ever popular Café Mondegar in Mumbai Malgudi Days.

The fab five

Designed like a food court, MFJ has five counters. There is Fire and Ice that serves beverage and desserts, Anand Ashram for South Indian vegetarian food, Curry Wagon, the North Indian expert, Nanjing for oriental cravings and Chaat.com.

I settle for dahi puri, and it's a pleasant surprise to find the puri is made out of suji. Most places in Chennai use maida for the puri, and they aren't as crisp as these. The dahi isn't sour and the filling is nice and cold. However, I wish they would spice it up a bit.

I scan their menu for something fiery, and chilly fish sounds like a good option. Small pieces of steaming garoupa fish arrive on my table. Crunchy and tangy, they don't set my tongue on fire, and my taste buds ask for more.

It's lunch time by now, and the place is slowly beginning to fill up. A lone girl sitting with tonnes of food in front of her isn't really the most flattering sight. Luckily for me, Ashirwad Ahluwalia, the owner, joins me.

Buttery momos

“We chose Nandambakkam because it is turning into a residential spot, and there aren't too many family restaurants on the stretch between Guindy and Porur,” says Ashirwad.

As he speaks, I am distracted by the smell of Punjabi black dal and butter chicken, and amidst the cocktail of fragrances is the unmistakable whiff of chicken momos.

They are next on my food list. The fresh momos are well stuffed, a tad buttery and delightfully juicy.

As I dig in, Amrish Puri, Raj Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Guru Dutt and Meena Kumari look down at me from the huge posters above as if to say, ‘Count your calories!'

“The Mumbai Thali is quite popular here,” informs Ashirwad. By now, I am full, and decline the offer.

But Ashirwad believes no meal is complete without sweets; so, I now wait for gulab jamun. They arrive looking like they spent an extra hour at the tanning chamber. And, the taste? Nothing to write home about.

Overall, Mumbai Food Junction is a cheerful place with good food, and the perfect balm for those missing the Maximum City.

(Mumbai Food Junction is located in Jayant Tech Park, Nandambakkam. Phone: 22330633)

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