While there is no dearth of food spots in Bandra, Tanya Fonseca says this one stays true to its name and is not just another mom and pop shop.
Sticky heat, school children running amok and gummed up traffic honking impatiently, as the faux Prada-clad women haggle over the price of bell peppers and button mushrooms. While this is enough to keep you away, stroll down the road from Jeff Caterers and the bustling Bandra bazaar to Waroda Road and you will find Meating Joint Imbiss.
We could barely contain our smiles to see this quaint little eatery poke its head out at us from a residential building. This tiny cafe has a casual al fresco area, limited ground floor seating and an even smaller seating area atop a mezzanine floor inside.We walked in and were seated at one of the tables on the ground floor. Narrow rectangular wooden tables lie parallel to each other with fuss free picnic benches as seating. The low lighting and minimal decor save for some religious paraphernalia on the walls make sure that the food is your prime focus. The menu is a simple, two-sided laminated sheet that lists German, Austrian, American and Spanish dishes among its fun international menu offerings.
While we waited for the food to arrive, we started out with some Garlic Bread (Rs75), which was refreshingly light. Thin crisp slices featured finely minced garlic and herbs, with a hint of butter. While we didn’t love the mayo served here as a dipping sauce, it wasn’t terrible.
Top of the class went to the Chorizo Rice (Rs 150). Bits of the paprika infused sausages are tossed in a lightly herbed rice and served garnished with a fried duck egg. This is what would happen if you crossed Indonesian fried rice specialty – Nasi Goreng with the famous Spanish Chorizo. The resulting simple white rice boasted all the bold flavours of the chilli and paprika infused and rather bacony tasting sausage. Far from being over spiced, the paprika oil that the sausage gives off coated the little grains of rice beautifully adding up to a very fun zing in every bite. What confused us a little was the little mound of chopped up iceberg lettuce served on the side. Quite like a tub of yogurt on a lactose-intolerant guest’s plate, we didn’t know what to do with it.
The baby back spare ribs (Rs 385) arrived mid-meal and were melt-on-the-tongue perfection drenched with a slightly sweet barbecue sauce. With the first few bites, “Oh so good,” was all that we could muster in between bites of tender bites of meat layered over perfectly rendered fat. On the side, the slightly tangy but simple, cucumber, carrot and lettuce salad balanced the sweetness of the ribs beautifully.
Next up the beef Hamburger (Rs 120) had a patty that was large enough to be my protein portion for the week, but, it was a slightly over salted. The sauteed caramelised onions, ripe tomato and crunchy iceberg lettuce, on which the finely minced and herbed beef patty rested though, more than made up for the salty oversight. In house, freshly baked burger buns and a generous helping of thin crisp French fries that would quell your deepest carb cravings rounded out this dish nicely.
All that salt left us a bit thirsty, but they don’t give you much choice. We skipped over the Gatorade (Rs 50) and ordered Green Tea (Rs 40). Sadly, we had to settle for Pepsi, because they were out of both.
The Signature sausage platter (Rs 180) was, as the menu states, ‘an assortment of house specialty sausages of chicken and pork served with crisp fries’. We dug in, hoping for all that grilled, smokey goodness that usually follows meaty treats. What we weren’t expecting was the overt saltiness of most of the sausages on the plate. We were not particularly impressed with the chef’s sausage making skills, though, they’d still be fantastic paired with a couple of cold beers to wash them down. Sadly, this little café doesn’t serve any alcohol, but I suppose you could shout out to friends, relatives or the friendly folk around and see if they’d invite you in for one.
Meating Joint Imbiss is new and its staff eager to please, but there is room for improvement yet. While the open kitchen gives you a fun peek into the chaos inside, the smoke and spices that seep into the small air-conditioned space can make your eyes burn. A large glass display counter doubles up as a refrigerator with a haphazard array of meats in marinade, uncooked shaped rösti, and assorted chopped vegetables. This was a rather clumsy and unappetising sight in an otherwise dainty cafe.
Don’t bother looking for a dessert menu, there isn’t one. Not yet anyway, we were informed. Though, at these extremely modest prices, we think there is plenty to keep meat lovers coming back for more for a long, long time. While neighbours might not appreciate the surge in foot traffic late into the night, we have a request “Kindly adjust!”
Must try: Chorizo Rice, Baby Back Spare Ribs
Meal for two: Rs 600 inclusive of taxes.