Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  Lounge review: Firki, Mumbai

The trouble with the trend of modernizing and making Indian food “cool" is that very often we’re left with serious-looking plates of familiar home cooking and completely overpriced, “fusion" experiments. The vegetarian-only Firki* is as hip as restaurants in Mumbai get these days but the kitchen dishes out retro street and carnival favourites. A meal here is equivalent to a trip to the food courts at Juhu and Girgaum Chowpatty—without the mess of sandy shoes and frizzy hair.

The good stuff

Playfulness is one of Firki*’s major draws—the facade is dressed up in bright murals featuring old-school Indian toys and games; the walls inside are lined with wooden doll collections and a mishmash of nostalgic memorabilia; and the rattan seats are paired with breezy chintz fabrics.

The menu features typical Gujarati farsan, chaat and shaak, popularized by the legendary Swati Snacks in Tardeo and Soam at Babulnath. There are plenty of city icons, regional snacks and innovations thrown in for good measure—Masala Dosa Dumplings, Handwa Pizzas, Pav Bhaji Fondue and even Khathiyawadi Khow Suey.

Of the newbies, the Masala Dosa Dumplings ( 275) were surprisingly popular at our table. Our guests at lunch couldn’t help but wonder why the ingenious snack—mildly spiced potato filling encased in a crispy medu vada-style shell—hadn’t been attempted before. Though not as novel, the Khathiyawadi Khow Suey ( 275) was also well appreciated—samosa pieces, crispy chana dal farsan, fresh spring onions and dry peanut chutney dunked in a typical Gujarati dahi-based curry.

The Corn Panki ( 225), rice pancakes steamed in banana leaves, paired well with a fresh green chilli pickle but offered no competition to the ones served at Swati Snacks and Soam. The Sing and Singoda Chaat ( 175) fared much better with its boiled peanuts and water chestnuts in a sweet-sour tamarind and date chutney with crispy potato slivers, or sali. Of the mains, the Rajasthani Gathiya Gatta Nu Shaak ( 250), made with miniature gram-flour dumplings in a yogurt-based curry, fared better than the Maharashtrian gram-flour based pitla gravy, though both the biscuit like Chatpati Roti and Thalipith served with the gravy were tasty enough to eat without any accompaniments.

We didn’t feel like jinxing the great luck we had with all the savoury dishes by picking from the predictable and slightly boring dessert menu.

The not-so-good

The friendly waiters are still learning their way around the menu. The desserts and drinks are almost completely avoidable. The Kacchi Keri Sharbat ( 150) was fluorescent green in colour and tasted equally synthetic. Sweets included gulab jamuns, baked rasgullas, mud pies, kulfis and hand-churned ice cream. The place is also more expensive than Soam and Swati Snacks.

Talk plastic

A meal for two with two appetizers, two mains and a dessert will cost around 1,500.

Firki*, 11/12, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (West). Timings, noon-midnight. For reservations, call 022-24923001.

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