Located a few miles from the Grant Road station, Golden Chimney Restaurant and Bar has been striving to offer good-quality food at fairly reasonable prices to the nearby dwellers since 1983.
South Mumbai has a distinct charm with the dilapidated British-time buildings still in place, heritage monuments standing alive, and food corners tucked in lanes; that, although enjoys recognition among the age-old residents but can hardly be noticed by the new city dwellers. One such food corner is Golden Chimney on the Paper Mill Lane on Grant Road, which we recently visited and enjoyed the legitimate Indian taste in the Coastal, Tandoor, and Chinese food.
The restaurant, situated on a ground floor of a three-storey building, opens up for customers from two separate entrances - one that only offers dining and the other that allows a direct entry to the bar seating area; that also includes dining. Irrespective of the entrances, however, the 39-year-old restaurant offers a fine gander into the old outline of the restaurants that used to exist in Mumbai some two and three decades ago. According to us, the most highlighted attribute of this restaurant would be a big chandelier set up in the middle of the ceiling of the family dining area, pouring yellowness in the whole space and walls adorned with mirrors.
If that is not enough, the restaurant, which was opened by Mr. Sadanand as Sadanand Cafe in 1955, is spruced up with pale-yellow lights, with the bar area also holding the wooden, rustic delight. As we talked of its history, let us also highlight that, initially, the food corner specialized in” Kraft Cheese Sandwiches” and South Indian fast food. It was in 1984 that they shaped the corner into a restaurant, and even this calls for another story related to its name. As the current owner of the restaurant, Sandeep Shetty said, the name was kept, ‘Golden Chimney Bar and Restaurant’ for the reason that the area had no options for the majority of the residents in the area – labour class – to sit and drink. It changed to ‘Restaurant and Bar’ very recently to capture a good customer base who could also see the place as a dining space.
As mentioned earlier, Golden Chimney takes pride in its coastal food, and keeping that in mind, we ordered Prawns in three varieties for starters called ‘Golden Fry,’ ‘Rawa Fry,’ and ‘Recheado.’ Dry enough, the Rawa fried prawns came out to be crunchy and “Golden-fried,” the name kept on that of the restaurant’s, a with subtle crisp. ‘Recheado’ bumped into us with the expected usual spice, trying to blend with the Goan cooking style. The Crispy Shredded Chicken, the next in the line of starters, turned out to be equally delectable. It included fried chicken and crunchy vegetables in the regular savoury sauce. Adding to it, we also tried to get an essence of their ‘Tandoor’ specialty and ordered Kasundi Broccoli. Marinated in cream, cheese, and mustard and grilled in Tandoor, the dish turned out to be appetizing.
From this, we proceeded with ordering the main course and ordered Mutton Goan Curry with Neer Dosa to combine the hint of Goan food and South Indian. The simple presentation of the Mutton Curry, with its sweet yet Malwani-flavoured taste, reminded us of the Goan homes. On the other hand, the Chicken pan seared in the Teriyaki sauce – which held the spicy and rich flavourful taste served along with nan gave us complete exposure to the North-Indian chicken dishes. To complement the food, we preferred White Tea, which is usually mixed with Gin as a cocktail, but even though we refrained from it, the sweet tint of the litchi-based mocktail mixed with lemongrass and the quintessence of ginger turned out to be a fantastic drink for us which, indeed, we loved guzzling up. Now, as we talk of the “sweet,” GC’s Vanilla Caramel Crunch Ice-Cream also impressed us with its hot fried crunch carrying caramel, nuts, and chilled Vanilla ice cream.
All in all, the restaurant aims to provide a pleasing and quality experience to people but in an affordable manner. While the presentation of almost all the dishes is kept simple – a tendency that a newly-opened would never follow, but sometimes its best to keep things simple – the quantity of the items is satisfactory, and so is the taste, that even though it does not leave your lips smacking, surely meets the cravings of your stomach.
“We always want to give people the five-star experience while maintaining that their pockets are not hurt much,” Mr. Shetty said. Even now, Paper Mill Lane and even the entire stretch of Lamington Road and nearby surroundings lack proper dining facilities, but even then, the restaurant is struggling to get a good chunk of customers, especially for lunch which leaves the place deserted during noon, as the owner claimed.
But having said that, the restaurant encircles a bygone charisma of sitting, eating and drinking in South Mumbai that, nowadays, is hard to find with the pacing revolution in the infrastructure of the eateries. Moreover, the friendly staff at Golden Chimney – for us, they were Montu, Sarvari and Sanjay – compel one to spend quality time here once again amidst the great amalgamation of Coastal and North Indian spirit.