Bombay (Mumbai) has always been a business hub for all citizens of India. Bombay had opened its arms and accepted all people regardless of ethnicity, religion, or language (until recent times when some political groups became rebels and opposed the non-Marathi linguistic people). However, the native Marathi people have always found the invention of Vada Pav relatable to their staple. In 1960 Balasaheb Thackrey appealed to Maharashtrians to become entrepreneurs the way South Indians had by setting up Udupi restaurants in Bombay and other parts of Maharashtra. This inspired Ashok Vaidya, an entrepreneur, to set up a stall outside Dadar Station (1966) through which hundreds and thousands of workers passed every day on their way to the textile mills in suburban areas. Once, he experimented and placed a Vada between Pav along with some chutney to add more flavours. The result of the experiment-Vada Pav-became an instant hit in no time. The Vada Pav is purely the food of Bombay and synonymous to Western country’s burger with local flavours in it. Bombay Canteen serves one of the best Bombay Burgers (Vada Pav) in Abu Dhabi, and Spinach and Kale Tempura adds additional flavour and texture.
Set in grand and eclectic Galleria Mall, Bombay Canteen is an eatery which has engineered its Menu by keeping the food of Bombay as the core idea. Pav has been an identity of Bombay, Pav is not an ordinary Burger Bun; it’s flat baked bread with a little puff, unlike burger bun’s bulgy puff. However, Bombay Canteen’s Pav is an impressive take on Burger Bun: it uses bottom bun of typical Burger Bun, which is flat as compared to the top bun. They bake their own bread as a combination of two bottom buns of regular Burger bread and use them for infamous Vada Pav and Pav Bhaji. Pav Bhaji is another identity of Bombay Food associated with street food, and Bombay Canteen’s Pav Bhaji is a decent take on it; it’s subtle as compared to tangy and spicy street-style pav bhaji of Mumbai. But, that savoury and buttery Pav Bhaji from the streets of Bombay is irreplaceable.
Bombay Canteen’s food is rich in flavours and satisfying in quantity. Apart from Mumbai’s food, Bombay Canteen serves the varieties from the corners of India: Desi Grain Pulao, Baingan Bharta, Momos, and Tandoori items, and everything is delectable. The savoury Pani Puri in hygienic arrangement with a pouch of tangy water (Pani) and Puris filled with potato and chickpea mix is mouthwatering and satisfy the street food cravings.
The cutting chai is a classic combination with evening snacks and real partner of Vada Pav in Mumbai. Typically, cutting chai in Mumbai is half a cup of tea, which is less in quantity and price but just enough to refresh your senses. Cutting chai literally translates to ‘cut into half’ which means a small amount of tea. Initially, cutting chai was only offered at ‘tapri’ or chai stalls, but now many modern cafes are also serving it along with accompaniments. Bombay Canteen’s Cutting Chai is must-try as it allows you to enjoy the typical taste of Mumbai’s half-cup tea seating right at Abu Dhabi. The gratifying desserts: Gulab Jamun and Rasmalai are the answer to one’s quest for the right flavour of Indian desserts in Bombay Canteen.
There are always the spots on the moon, and Bombay Canteen also has flaws in it: subtleness of Pav Bhaji won’t work for the Target Audience – Indians – as Indians start their day with savoury and ends it on spice. The sharpness in Baingan Bharta lacks as a chef doesn’t use Mustard Oil to cook it. The entire menu engineering is on point, but when Mumbai is part of Maharashtra, the regional food is lacking in the Menu and, being meticulous, may disappoint the Bloggers and Critics.
Location:Level 3, Food Court, The Galleria Mall Extension, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi