Responsible for setting up Punjab Grill in five countries, Lite Bite Foods now has a new roti on their Mumbai tandoor – Tappa at Kamala Mills.
The kitchen does modern Indian food, which means you’re forced to navigate a menu that accommodates both hipster (avocado cheesecake) and traditional favourites (dal makhani).
Navigating the lengthy menu is a nightmare, though; luckily, the staff is well-versed with recommendations and shower high praise on nude chicken kathi, jackfruit sliders and ajwaini fish tikka koshimbir, all of which we order.
Gimlet It Be
But first, honey and barbecue Cheeselings are brought out to sit with an excellent pair of cocktails, even though they have each other for company. The Boulevardier is beautiful, and kept cold with a single ‘Tappa’-embossed ice-cube; and a well-interpreted gin-lavender-limoncello gimlet, wears a head of sweet marshmallow foam. The Tappa Sour on the other hand, is competent but not worth re-ordering, and the black Scandinavian (which gets its colour from squid ink) is a heady caraway-scented gimmick that manages to be more balanced than we expected.
Tikka All The Boxes
By now the first course fleet is here and it’s looking sharp. The texture of the meat-like jackfruit sliders is spot on, though it can do with a more generous garnish of the pickled onions that add acid to the otherwise bland dish. Also worth ordering is the fish tikka made with sole fish, which is full of flavour and perched on a bed of crunchy coconut and carrot koshimbir (though we would like more than two pieces of seasoned fish). Only the chicken kathi, served on tiny pieces of lettuce - meant to be eaten like an Asian wrap - without enough spice or citrus to liven up the minced meat, disappoints.
The only advantage of being the sole occupied table at Tappa – to be fair, it is Monday – is that the service is impeccable and the next course is out before we can say ‘chikkad chole khao suey’. This is essentially a fun-for-the-family version of a well-tempered channa bhatura that can be dressed up with eight toppings, including potatoes, paneer, pickled cauliflower, pickled carrots and imli chutney. Yes, the kaho suey tag is a bit of a stretch, but the experience is enjoyable. The biryani, made with vermicelli and flavourful boneless chicken pieces, is a great one-dish meal for office-goers in the area. Our favourite though, is the creamy kulcha stuffed with mutton kheema.
A Better Gesture
At the end, an avocado-pistachio cheesecake’s texture is compared to lagan nu custard by our Parsi dining companion, who is pleasantly surprised by its accompanying pomegranate granita. Order this and skip the ultra sweet filter coffee sticky pudding, overpowered by dates.
You and your date on the other hand, will have to look past the Edison bulbs you sit under, and communicate mostly in sign language owing to the Saturday night music volume assigned to week nights. Looks like you’re getting to third bass tonight, after all.
Getting there: Tappa, Oasis City, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel. Open from noon to 4 pm and 6.30 pm to 1 am. Meal for two ranges between Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000 with two drinks each.
Accessibility: One step to get up to the restaurant.
This review was conducted by Aatish Nath, a freelance food and travel writer.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
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