No points for guessing! This restaurant in Versova, Andheri is the brainchild of Bollywood buffs who swear by the cult classic Sholay. So, we were not surprised that the interiors had a minimal filmy touch. Basanti has a lovely neighbourhood feel with doors that open onto sidewalk tables for al fresco eating. Inside, the decor is quirky with bright upholstery, funky wall art, huge glass windows and checkered flooring. The emphasis is on comfort rather than glamour.
What’s Hot: Basanti & Co specialises in Awadhi and North Indian cuisine. That’s a given when you have chef Salim Qureshi from the famous Qureshi family of Lucknow at the helm of affairs in the kitchen. Assisting him is his strong team from the “Chowk” area of Lucknow. Like most Qureshis, Salim too guards his recipes fiercely.
Feed your street food craving with the delicious Ankurit Dal ki chaat. Qureshi’s kitchen gives the sprouted lentils an ego boost, the tangy chutneys have a racy accent that ignites the taste buds. Though you might lean towards ordering the tempting papdi chaat generously garnished with fine sev, you're here for more carnivorous gratifications. Case in point, melt-in-the-mouth Galouti kababs or the smokey Murg Tangdi Mirza Hasnoo—chicken drumsticks coated with saffron-infused yoghurt. Drown it with the good old Sangria muddled with fresh watermelon.
The vegetarians will love the delicate, moist and flavorful Dahi ke kabab and Paneer Ajwanini tikka delicately flavoured with saffron and carom seeds. The green apple and mint chutney that accompanies the appetizers are supporting characters at best. For the mains, look no further than the Raan biryani. The whole lamb leg is cured with spices and pomegranate juice and served with Yakhni Pulao. The exceptionally tender meat paired with moist rice is a meal to celebrate — except when you are fighting over the last bite with your friend. (Note: She won.)
Basanti & Co. not only serves hearty Indian food that is non-fussy, but also does so on cutlery that’s easy to handle (read not miniature shopping trolley, plant pots, garden shovels, etc). The best way to end a meal here is with a paan. They’ve collaborated with a paanwala from Nashik to set up a separate station with 100 varieties of paan. Choose from Fire Paan with flaming cloves, Black Currant or Ice Paan.
What’s not: Brace yourself for minor bumps. Apart from the long wait in between courses, the desserts are a let down. The much talked about kulfi is MIA and the phirni is pretty but wet without much texture. Do not show up without a reservation. Word is out that Andheri has a hotspot, and some nights it will seem like every foodie in town is Gabbar Singh waiting for Basanti to perform.
Where: Juhu Versova Link Road, Andheri (W), Mumbai
Tel: 7045637722/ 7045637766/ 7045608877
Wallet Alert: INR 2500 for two