Mumbai’s dining scene is presently a veritable kaleidoscope of restaurants, with numerous new entrants employing any available mode of showmanship to grab the common consumer’s attention- be it eclectic cuisines, instaworthy desserts, quirky attempts at fusion and yes, the infamous molecular gastronomy sensation that’s gripped the nation.
But amidst all the babel, I find myself craving some good ol’ consistency much more than I previously did. And Copper Chimney espouses the tenets of consistency, comfort and heart warming contentment with stellar service and a menu that has barely changed from when they first opened their doors four decades ago.
Focusing heavily on North Western Frontier and Northern Indian fare, this place has dished out plate after plate of delectable kebabs and hearty curries since its inception. Their Worli outlet which we visited was their first, and to this date bears all the hallmarks of a restaurant from a period long passed, with wrought iron bells and copper utensils adorning the dated, if slightly tacky metallic walls.
The large space is covered with plush chairs, staid tables and simple place settings.
After some pondering (and a lot of faulty assumptions about our ability to put down food), this is what we went for:
Makai Malai Kebabs
The Makai Malai Kebabs are lightly grilled rolls, made with seasoned cottage cheese and cream, and dotted with fresh corn kernels. The dish is delicately flavoured but incredibly indulgent and the bits of corn add little bursts of sweetness in every bite.
A plate of spiced mutton chops, I urge you to look at the picture and marvel these hunks of meat for their beautifully charred exterior that gives way to tender, flavourful mutton- the kind that has you leaving your cutlery and wanting to pry every last bit out with your hands. I would however suggest ordering with caution in case of a lone or two diners- the portion sizes are huge and the food, delicious but heavy.
Considering we were stuffed so quickly and had barely two inches of space to fill in our already strained stomachs, we settled for what seemed like a simple rice dish- an Indian take on the Iranian Chelo
The rice is tossed in mildly sweet cream and liberal lashings of salted butter- which results in a sweet-savoury rice pudding of sorts aimed at blocking an artery with every measured bite. This unctuous pudding is then layered over a sizeable portion of spicy kebab (either chicken or mutton) so every mouthful has the creamy, almost luxuriant pudding interspersed with savoury morsels of spicy, smoky meat.
The chelo, for all its apparent simplicity is the kind of dish that deserves your complete attention. And your entire appetite with an extra stomach if you can rent one.
This is quite honestly the first time we’ve had to parcel a good half of the mere three dishes we ordered. If that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is.
In addition to the above, Copper Chimney is also known to churn out some good butter chicken, rogan josh and daal (both yellow and black), all of which pair wonderfully with their butter/garlic naans. Most dishes on the menu are exemplary in their execution and it would be truly difficult to land yourself with a bad order here.
Another point that deserves a (repeated) mention is the service. They dole out some lovely suggestions and maintain the perfect balance of being at the table in a second’s notice without hovering around as you tuck in.
To sum up, the phrase, “Long term consistency trumps short term intensity” seems quite appropos to the brand of hospitality extended by the dignified folks at Copper Chimney. You can be sure to expect a warm smile and a satisfying pile of food at every visit and I would gladly recommend it to anyone with a hankering for unpretentious North Indian fare in the city.