EAT, PRAY, AND LOVE THE KABABS AT FARID
Farid Seekh Kabab Centre at Jogeshwari has just one thing on the menu — a seekh kabab/paratha combo. The lack of variety isn’t a deterrent. Farid’s seekh kababs are mouthwatering, it’s parathas soft and flaky, and the restaurant is always packed.
Farid Seekh Kabab, Shop No. 13 Kismat Compound, Jogeshwari (w), Mumbai 400 102.
Farid Seekh Kabab Centre is the budget gourmand’s mecca, housed in what must once have been a public toilet for giants: serial rectangular cubicles pretending to be dining halls, walls tiled up to ye high, a sloping tin roof, and a floor you shouldn’t inspect too closely.
When a band of kabab-laden stomachs staggers out, we are directed to their recently vacated table with a polite ‘Aap log baith sakte hain’. The aroma of searing meat is appetiser enough, and ambient music is provided by the chomps of our fellow diners. At Farid, conversation is superfluous and interferes with one’s appreciation of the only item on the non-existent menu — seekh kabab.
Its arrival is preceded by a procession of accompaniments: quartered lemons, raw onion rings soaked in a spicy green chutney, and more than enough sprigs of fresh mint to spark fears of genocide in the pudina community. The paranthas follow, and are not, much to my relief, the usual leathery, rubbery sheepskins that require iron claws for consumption. They are fresh off the griddle, soft and flaking under my fingers. Bringing up the rear are two seekh kababs, which are slid off a greasy plate onto our soon-to-be greasy plates. ‘Outside food not allowed’, warns a sign on the wall; in a moment, we will find out why every heretic sneaking in manna not produced in the heaven of Farid should be taken outside, set in stocks and displayed to the jeering public of Behram Baug, who may mete out corporal punishment by allowing him to only sniff, but not devour the kababs, as we proceed to do.
First, wring the juice out of a lemon to anoint a tukda of kabab. Tear off a piece of parantha to garb its mortal shell. Line the piece with a few pudina leaves; let an onion ring or two hang rakishly out. Swaddle the kabab in these humble robes, and let it pass through the pearly gates of your mouth.
And from your lips it’ll draw the Hallelujah.
Feature photograph copyright Andrey Starostin – stock.adobe.com