“Are you serious?”, my brother blurted out, as I prepared myself to visit The Frontier Post, one of the newest additions to Mumbai’s culinary scene. Friends and familiar readers would roll eyes in agreement, as everybody knows me as ‘one who eats food to stay alive.’ I have never really been a foodie and never treated eating as more than a routine ritual. It’s only in the recent few days, that I have had to prepare and train my sensory buds to consider eating as ‘more than an act of need.’ Given my new projects and assignment with one of the leading travel names, I have been exploring Mumbai’s eating havens and delectable cuisines, all in the name of learning the craft of ‘enjoying food.’
‘The Frontier Post’, situated in the sprawling commercial hub of Mumbai, Lower Parel is a partnership of five gastronomy enthusiasts—Pritina Shrestha, Yug Tuli, Siddharth Mahadevan, Yug Pathak and Soumil Shringarpure. It is a fresh take on fine dining experiences in the city and teleports you to different parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Punjab, reminiscent of the Province of North West Frontier, before India’s partition in 1947. Its intimate décor is inspired from the fabric wrought tents found across Central Asia but it is the gastronomic affair that is sublime. The lights are dim, the scents of an era unknown to us, but deep-rooted in our history. In the background, I could hear the zirbaghali, the rubab, the tula and the tamboor melodiously, playing, all ready to welcome and embrace the new-age India.
While the rich, cultural and minimalist decor accentuates the whole dining experience, the food here, is the real hero though. Spread after spread and the signature styled dishes draw geographical influences of a pre-independence flavours of India, – Punjabi, Sindh, Afghani and Mughlai.
As I awaited eagerly at the table, Chef Vishal Chandnani, a champion of Awadhi / North West Frontier cuisine, welcomed me with a smile and warm hospitality. “Food is passion and cooking should always be from the heart!”, he declared with a cheer. As I took in his words, the staff started serving me the starters. I urged myself, “Now let’s test this!” and as if reading my mind, Chef Vishal continued, “Starters are the most important part of the meal. That’s your first impression!” My eyes popped out, at the platter after platter, the staff diligently served me- ‘shorba e gulzar’ (Tomato and Roasted Cumin), ‘adraki shorba’ ‘murg badami shorba’ (Chicken and Almond), ‘gucchi ki galauat’ (wild mushroom patties with spices), and then my favourite- ‘dahi ke kabab’ (deep fried dough stuffed with curd) which just melted in my mouth.
The main platter was extensive starting with a ‘Bagh-E-Bahar’ section which is a list of the recommended in-house specialties, preceded by more traditional starters, appetizers and followed by the drinks (definitely must try the red-brown hot kokum) and dessert section. I hogged on ‘dum gosht biryani’, ‘nalli nihari’ (a lotus root delicacy) and ‘dal frontier post’, another house specialty. Most of the dishes had a simple style of preparation, with large chunks of meat and vegetables sparsely marinated and slow cooked in a tandoor at high temperatures. On prodding Chef Vishal a bit, out of curiosity, on the spices used, he smiled and said, that it is an ‘in-house’ secret passed on by his ‘gurus’ that don’t let the spices overpower and let the the preserved flavors remain intact.
And like every literary experience, which is incomplete without a writer’s or a poet’s personal touch, I concluded my visit with a finishing touch of the royal- ‘gulab ki phirni’ (Rose Pudding). So, if you ask me, my overall experience, I give it a complete 10 on 10 rating and definitely recommend a visit or may be even multiple visits. I am returning for sure 🙂
mains ₹1300 for two people (approx)
08:00 pm- 12:00 am
Level 2, Kamala Trade House, Kamla mills, Lower Parel- 400013 Mumbai
Note: I was invited & hosted by The Frontier Post.