By Junisha Dama, Burrp
Home to the iconic Fish Koliwada, Sion Koliwada is where you’ll find a host of dhabas serving generous Punjabi food.
Space crunch, two words that every Mumbaikar understands well. While the city couldn’t accommodate the lush fields and huge Gurudwaras of Punjab, it managed to take in several immigrants and refugees. And, what does the city get back? Food, delectable and authentic community food.
Sion Koliwada’s Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar (GTB), where many of the the city’s Punjabi families reside, offer a variety that’ll make you wish your stomach was made of infinite elastic. Families of refugees who came to India at the time of partition are serving Chole Khulche, Paya, Mathri and more and claim to have invented Fish Koliwada and Kashmiri Soda. We meandered down GTB Nagar in the afternoons and by evening (mostly because we couldn’t eat so much in a day). Here’s what all you can do in the neighbourhood.
Sardar Paya House
The neighbourhood’s favourite Paya can be found at Sardar Paya House, popularly called Papu’s Paya, located in a tiny lane next to Hazara. The meat is tender, the paya soup flavourful and the price will only make you happy. There’s also Chicken Masala, which is spicy and juicy and has several takers.
Price: Rs 80 for Paya, Rs 80 for Chicken Masala
Hazara Restaurant and Bar
GTB Nagar’s pride, the Fish Koliwada is an original recipe of Hazara Restaurant and Bar; the fish is marinated in spicy Koli masala and fried. Locals say that Hazara was one of the earliest restaurants in the neighbourhood. The legacy still continues and Hazara, which first opened as a small stall, now has A/C and Non-A/C rooms and serves alcohol as well. Other popular dishes here are the Murg Handi, Paneer Kulcha, Tandoori Chicken and Makke Di Roti and Sarson Da Saag.
Price: Rs 310 for Rawas Fry (Fish Koliwada), Rs 270 for Murg Handi
Across the road from Hazara, is Mini Punjab whose catering wing you’ll find at almost every Punjabi wedding in the city. Skewered meat hangs around the little shop and the tandoor grills out flavour-packed Tandoori Chicken in white or red masala. Set-up by Hukum Singh, the debate on whether Mini Punjab makes the better Fish Koliwada or Hazara still rages on. Other items popular on the menu are Mini Punjab Special – chicken in Indian and Chinese spices, Fish/Prawn Koliwada and a host of tikka variations.
Meal For Two: Rs 500 (inclusive of taxes)
Guzzle down a Patiala peg, or two? Hardeep Punjab serves alcohol at reasonable rates and popular items here include Chicken Platter, Corn Fry – wok-tossed American corn, Mutton Laal Pari, Fish Fry and more. The restaurant is popular in the area among guzzlers and has shifted to a larger space, upped their menu and is one of the finer restaurants on the street.
Meal For Two: Rs 800 + taxes
Punjabis and dhabas go hand-in-hand. With a few rickety wooden benches, clay tandoor oven and pans full of oil, the neighbourhood has several eateries that offer desi-khana like Chole Khulche, Rajma Chawal, Kadhi Pakoda and Chaas. Chawla’s Dhaba, Ramesh Da Dhaba (opposite Satyam Shivom Mandir) and Manjeet Chole Puri are some of the popular spots in the locality. Frequented by taxi-wallahs, students and bachelors alike, these dhabas serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Manjeet Chole Puri opens at 7pm.
Meal For Two: Rs 150 (approximate) at all dhabas
Indra Cold Drinks
Need something to wash-down all the food? Hop over at Indra Cold Drinks for Kashmiri Soda. The shop-space claims to have invented the masala for Kashmiri Soda that no one has managed to ape perfectly, yet. Run by Mahesh Kumar Lamba, whose father is credited to have made the masala’s recipe, Lamba now extends the masala to make a Masala Thums Up, Masala Sprite and serves it in hearty glasses.
Price: Rs 20 for Kashmiri Soda, Rs 25 for Masala Thums Up
Agarwal’s Kulfi Roll
For a sweet tooth, walk further down the road from Mini Punjab, to Agarwal’s Kulfi Roll. Serving kulfis in kulhads, you could pick from four flavours: malai, mango, badam-pista and kesar-pista.
Price: Rs 30 per kulfi
Maya Sweets and Guru Nanak Sweets are two sweet-shops the whole neighbourhood buys their favourite Imartis, Chenna Murki and other mithai from. Sitting beside each other, with shelves full of commercial and typical Punjabi mithai, this is sweet heaven. Stock up on some Petha Barfi – barfi with petha pieces. Punjabi Shakarpare, Namkeen Matthi, Pheeki Matthi, Gudd Pare are other items that you could pick up from either of the sweet shops.
Price: Rs 400 per kg for Petha Barfi, Rs 160 per kg for Matthi
If you wonder where your Punjabi Bollywood stars get their wheat flour from, walk in the lane next to Hazara. Roshan Da Atta, owned by Roshanlal Jhulka has been delivering aata to Dharmendra, Raj Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and more for eons. Jhulka’s son who now carries the chakki’s name forward owns six other aata mills across the city. Khosla’s near Satyam Shivam Mandir is an ordinary grocery store. However, it has stocks of Amritsari Papad and varieties of pickles you can shop for.
Eat At An All-Day Langar
Gurudwara Dashmesh Darbar is one of the largest in GTB Nagar and perhaps, in Mumbai too. The darbar offers an all-day langar with simple food for anyone in need and also runs basic computer-training courses for free and takes in students regardless of religion, caste or class.
Jhatt Mangni, Patt Byah
Stressed about how to organise your wedding? Drive down to this Punjabi neighbourhood that’s sure to calm your nerves and fix everything up for you in a jiffy. The area is dotted with caterers, wedding card printers, jewellers and even band-baaja. All you’ll have to do is gather your baarat.
What You Should Know
Wear comfortable walking shoes if you plan to go on a food walk. We recommend you visit in the evenings post 7pm as most restaurants have meat counters and tandoor ovens fired-up. Carry change as most meals should not cost more than Rs 200, unless you plan on visiting restaurants.
By Train: Get down at Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Nagar Station on Harbour Line and Sion Station on Central Line; the Punjabi Colony is a mere five-minute walk from the station.
Closest Landmark By Road: Sion Circle
Parking: There’s no provided parking space. The streets are small. Being a residential area, it might be difficult to find parking on weekends.
Burrp is owned by Network18 (which also owns Firstpost)
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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2015 14:11:11 IST