Where do you get the best Shawarma in Bombay? It is a question that many of us have pondered. It has kept me awake at nights with a rumbling stomach. No More.We have decided to test and review the best Shawarmas in Bombay and arrive at the true King.
My co-critic in this shootout shall be the venerable Mr. Joydas Mukherjee. A Bengali who was born in the wrong clan, he is an avid foodie and a seeker of authentic tastes.
Now before that, we need to arrive at what makes a good Shawarma. As the Shawarma is ultimately a cousin to that most versatile of dishes , the sandwich, it is impossible to narrow down to what is an absolutely bare-bones traditional recipe. The standard in Bombay is to have the slices of chicken over pita bread, with sour cream, hummus, potato, beetroot and any additional spices. This varies slightly with the traditional Shawarma that might also have extra Tahini (though the hummus should contain that), Olives, even cucumber and tomato at times.
To narrow down the parameters we decided that most basic rule should be "No Indian Spicy Taste!". It is too easy to compromise, throw in a host of spices to appease the local palate and lose touch with the roots. It is for this reason we did not try any of the "Spicy Shawarmas". The rest we decided to play by ear.
(This list is a work in progress. If you have any places to recommend, we will add to this list).
1) Lebanese Point , Khar
It was a bit of a task finding this place as the Banner was hidden away under a tarpaulin. It is somewhere near the junction of Khar-Dhanda and 17th Road. We had the options of ordering a number of "Spicy" Shawarmas here, but the plain "Chicken Shawarma" seemed the only authentic bet.
It was a disappointment. I found a piece of bone in my first bite. The taste was non-existant. It has hard to put chicken, potatoes, hummus and sour cream in a pita and achieve no taste whatsoever. They managed that. Whilst the chicken was well done, there was no flavour of the hummus. The potatoes were mashed and put in and needed salt. The sour cream tasted like mayo.
Mr. Mukherjee: 2.5/10
Me : 3/10
Average Score (rounded up): 3/10
2) Carter's Blue, Bandra
This is one of my old favourites. At the junction of Carter Road and that road lined with all the restaurants (I just cannot find the name. If anyone knows it, do let me know and I will update). This was going to be a battle between me and Mr. Mukherjee who prefers Maroosh.
Here we ordered the Special Chicken Shawarma. The difference between that and the normal chicken seems to be the addition of Olives. As this would only increase the authenticity of Shawarma, we decided to branch away from the standard Chicken variety here.
Sadly, in my opinion, it wasn't up to their usual standards. However there are no second chances in the shootout and we will score what we get. That being said, it still was not a bad Shawarma. The hummus was missing in flavour a little, but the chicken was nice and juicy and they still have one of the best sour creams I have had. Even though it was the Special Shawarma, I think they scrimped on the Olives this time.
Average Score: 6/10
3) Maroosh, Bandra
This is one of Mr. Mukherjee's favourites and one that I haven't had the opportunity of trying before. A hop-skip and a jump away from Carter's Blue, it was going to be a battle of titans. Here we ordered the standard Chicken Shawarma.
This was a good Shawarma but it lost a little on the Spice front. The texture was fantastic. The fries were crunchy and the chicken juicy. however, they had added too many Indian spices. The taste of red pepper overwhelmed any other flavours. While the texture of the sour cream was good, it wasn't sour enough and felt like they had added lemon juice onto normal cream in a hurry.
Average Score: 6/10
(Keep following as we try more )