A Vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat and a Non-Vegetarian is a person who does. That is how I see it. I can never understand people who claim to love or require a hefty quantity of meat every week but still balk at the idea of having anything except chicken and mutton. As for me, if there is something exotic, I want to try it!
Literally months having passed since I had snake meat soup in Taiwan, when Mr. GP told me that Emu meat is now available in Mumbai I had to have it! So on one overcast Saturday evening, Mr. GP and I headed to the old Iranian Good Luck Cafe in Bandra West (Mumbai). The place is pretty easy to find and only a short autorikshaw ride away from the Bandra station. Mehboob studio opposite the cafe is a well known landmark in the area.
The Emu !
We wasted no time and immediately ordered Emu Kheema which was no surprise at all and we were served in a jiffy. Apart from being slightly lighter in colour it looked no different than regular mutton kheema and we were disappointed moments later to find out that it tasted the same too! On take the first few bites we both thought it might just be mutton but soon we realised that it leaves a different aftertaste and has a stronger smell. However, Kheema seems to be a poor choice of dish to exhibit the qualities of this meat unless the point being made was that it isn't really very different from mutton because all in all we didn’t feel like we were having something different and exotic.
Chicken Biryani !
Though the Rs. 100 emu kheema is more costly than a usual plate of kheema, the quantity is nowhere enough to be filling for anybody and we went on to order the Chicken Tikka Biryani since the cafe does not offer any other emu meat dishes. The Chicken Biryani was rather satisfying, fragrant and the chikken tikka in it weren’t burnt or overdone in anyway. It was enjoyable enough but I have tendency to get annoyed with places that do not serve raita along with the Biryani by default. Also, as Mr. GP rightly pointed out to me, the Biryani was slightly less spicy than it is at other eateries and we would have enjoyed more, a slightly spicier version.
Irani Chai !
Any true Mumbaikar knows that it is blasphemy to leave an Iranian Cafe without having the chai so we ordered “broom maska and chai” as the last course in our dinner. They served us ‘bun maska’ (on being asked they claimed kadak pav is available only in the mornings) and tea in paper cups! Why they serve tea in paper cups to customers dining inside the restaurant is beyond me but the quality made up for the lack of presentation and I had another cup before leaving.
The Emus are from Gujarat !
Right outside the cafe is this huge board advertising the main attraction, “Emu Kheema”. The claim is that Emu meat is 98% fat free and thus healthier than other meats. Interestingly enough, it is advertised as ‘red meat’, and not ‘poultry’ as I imagined it would be. On talking to the person at the counter, I learnt that their supplier runs an emu farm with 40000 birds in Gujarat! Gujarat, the land of vegetarianism of all places. Most of the meat is sent abroad and very little to Mumbai I was told. He mentioned about it being expensive at Rs. 600 a kilo for him perhaps as an explanation for the tiny quantity they serve. I hope some Infocity entrepreneur, Gandhinagar makes good use of this locally available meat to relieve the craving of meat hungry GNLUites.
The cafe is very clean, spacious, well lit and modern looking meaning that it is more of a middle range restaurant than the stereo typical Irani Cafe in Mumbai. So if you are looking for that kind of rickety wooden seating then this is not it. We saw at least three four families who had come for dinner apart from the usual Irani cafe crowd of men looking for special chai.
There were many more tasty looking items (such as Chicken Shawarma) on the Good Luck Cafe menu that we didn’t try. At the end of the day, despite the underwhelming emu, it was a satisfying meal which cost us less than Rs. 200 per head. I wouldn’t go there again or recommend anyone to go there just for the emu unless the come up with items like emu tikka which shall let us appreciate the meat better than kheema.