Bademiya is one of the oldest and most famous Seekh Kebab joints in Mumbai. It was started by Mohammad Yaseen in 1946 as a 10×4 stall behind the Taj Mahal Hotel in Apollo Bunder. It’s famous for its Seekh Kebabs, Boti Kebabs and Chicken Tikka Kebabs. Since it has become so popular, there are lines of cars always parked near the stall. As people order their favourite kebabs, it can get a bit crowded especially after 12 pm when most people venture out to have a kebab as they have missed their normal dinner after watching a 9 pm to 12 pm film. The green chutney and onions give the kebabs the much needed zing and ting, and the lemon just bursts on your tongue.
I love the kebabs here as you could feel the juice of the meat on your tongue and really taste the chunks of mutton. One can get their kebabs and romaji rotis parcelled. If you wish to sit in your car and have your meal, it will help to wash it down with a Thums Up. There is always enough staff to fetch and roast the kebabs. So the service is swift as it is. They are used to serving at peak capacity and so, there is no waiting time. If kebab is not what you want and if your palate is asking for some delicious gravy, then walk into the adjacent restaurant called Bagdadi.
Bagdadi is one of the oldest and most famous Iranian eateries left in Mumbai and is just located adjacent to the Bademiya stall. It is a ‘sit and eat’ restaurant that is very common and basic to look at. Old wooden tables, benches and scabby walls greet you when you enter the place. The waiters are old and slow and also a bit old fashioned. It’s as if you had walked back in time. At Bagdadi, you feel that time has stopped and everything is slow and old, even the smell. But wait till the food arrives especially my favourite Beef Fry and Khamiri Roti. There are dozens of gravy items made from liver, chicken and mutton. There are also Korma Dishes along with Chicken Khichda and Nihari. The Khamiri Roti is a delight to have with any of the non-veg gravy items. It’s one hell of a roti that is even larger than a traditional Gujarati Thali in size. Try finishing it off. Well, it isn’t easy. One used to be enough for me most of the time. I would get burnt with the chillies in the beef and korma. I would then wash it down with Thums Up. The entire meal would cost about Rs 180 and you wouldn’t feel hungry for a long time.
It is also the all-time favourite restaurant of John Abraham as he had once told me in an interview. Why not? After all, John has some Irani blood in him. I once wrote an entire poem called “The Feast” after being inspired by the food of Bagdadi Restaurant.
IT IS GREAT, TO SAY THE LEAST, QUIETEN DOWN YOU MIGHTY BEAST
LET’S SIT DOWN LIKE BROTHERS AND DROWN IN THIS GOBLET OF WINE
IT’S TIME TO CARVE UP THIS ROASTED SWINE
WHAT’S YOURS TODAY WILL BE TOMORROW MINE
TODAY, TOMORROW, WHENEVER YOU WISH, LET’S GOBBLE UP THIS TASTY DISH
THE CLITTER CLATTER OF THE CARVING KNIFE
THE POKE OF THE DINNER FORK
THE TINKLE OF THE CHINA PLATE
IT’S CELEBRATION TIME, LET’S NOT WAIT
THE FEAST IS READY TO BE GOBBLED UP
IT’S TIME, WE SAT DOWN TOGETHER FOR SUP
THE TABLE IS ALL LAID OUT, THE PLATE IS OF BONE CHINA, HAVE NO DOUBT
THE CANDLE HAS BEEN LIT, THE SIMMERING SOUP BUBBLES AWAY
IT’S TIME TO HOLD THE HOT BREAD WHILE IT’S STILL FRESH
DIP, DIP, DIP, THE CRUMBS GO INTO THE SOUP
COME, OH BROTHERS, LET’S DINE TONIGHT, LET’S SAY THREE CHEERS
THERE WILL ALSO BE SOME CHICKEN AND SOME BEER
THE FEAST IS ALL SET AND IT’S THE FINEST YOU BET
THE CHEF AWAITS WITH A GRIN ON HIS FACE
WAIT, HERE’S THE MAIN COURSE, HAPPILY HE SERVES
I HAVE WORKED UP AN APPETITE, THAT WE SO DESERVE
THE BELL RINGS, IT’S TIME TO SAY GRACE
EAT IT UP AT YOUR OWN PACE
THE EFFERVESCENCE OF THE BUBBLING CHAMPAGNE
THE SPRINKLING JUICE OF FRESH LEMON
RISING IN ME IS A CRAZY DEMON