For the love of good food….
Just behind the iconic Taj Mahal palace lies the lane famous for Bade Miya and another legendary eatery – Baghdadi. Bade Miya is present in 3 different formats at a stone throw’s distance – a stall drawing maximum crowds dishing out meaty grilled delights, a stall with much lesser crowd for the patrons of their vegetarian grilled specialties and just round the corner is also the Bade Miya restaurant serving full range food, including Biryani (supposedly another gem up their alley).
The beginnings of this iconic joint are also interesting. It’s a story of how a teacher is able to not just influence the life of his disciple and show him the way, but even walks the talk to support him with the means to pursue the dream. Well, that is exactly what happened with Mohammad Yaseen, the brains and the muscle behind the now well-known Bade Miya kebab wala in Mumbai.
He arrived in Mumbai barely in his early teens (as a 13-year old) and started out as young boy cutting and supplying meat to hotels in the city. As fate would have it, he came to be a disciple of Hazrat Fida Mohammad Adam Chishti, who gently nudged the young boy to find his niche in “serving people better”. The only skill Mohammad Yaseen knew apart from cutting meat was grilling it. His teacher was happy with this idea, encouraged him by giving him Rs 20 to set up a makeshift stall near the navy docks of Mumbai, way back in 1946! There were initial hiccups especially with multiple location shifts in the turmoil around the Independence period. However, as it is with any brave and committed effort the business soon began to flourish without looking back. Owing to Mohammad Yaseen’s long beard, regulars lovingly nick-named him Bade Miya.
In the meat section, one of their best known dishes is the Mutton seekh kebab and we decided to try it. The mutton, served hot right off the grill was nice and juicy. There was a judicious mix of spices so as not to overpower the taste of the mutton. The serving size has three small pieces which probably could be improved a bit, but nonetheless it was the taste that stole the show.
We also ordered for the Veg Bhuna roll. Wrapped in a large warm roomali roti, the stuffing was a semi-dry gravy chock-full of chunky vegetables with a lot of spices mixed in. So with every bite there was the chewiness of the vegetable, the flavours of the spices all mixed in with the gooeyness of the gravy. At places the roomali layers were too many to handle but apart from that it was a decent roll. Not spectacular (expected from a joint known for meat lovers), but decent for sure.
Run today by the founder Mohammad Yaseen’s sons, Bade Miya is also legendary for being open till late at night, now cut short to 1:30 a.m. (considered early in Maximum City Mumbai). While debate remains rife over whether the quality of output has declined in the last few years, it remains the top option to grab a cheap bite. This is especially true for people crawling out of clubs or nearby watering holes like Gokul.
As we were in one of the oldest parts of the city, you can find a story or a legend in almost every part of Colaba. About a minute’s walk from Bade Miya is an iconic Chinese restaurant – Ling’s Pavilion. The present Ling’s Pavilion, stands in place of the erstwhile restaurant called Frederick’s, which happens to be the place where the famous Nelson Wang began his journey as an exponent of the art of Indo-Chinese cuisine. Nelson Wang is credited with the invention of Manchurian, Corn Cream and even the Chicken Lollipop, and also owns a restaurant chain called China Garden. It’s a small world for sure 🙂
Name: Bademiya Seekh Kebab
Specialty: Mutton Keema Pav, Roomali roti rolls
Address: Tulloch Road, Apollo Bunder, Colaba, Mumbai. Landmark: Behind Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
Veg/Non Veg: Both
Value for money: 4/5
Food quality: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5
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