Colaba’s Biggest Open Air Party
A few eateries earn such an iconic status over decades that everything else just doesn’t seem to matter. Even being a tiny, roadside stall that is filled with smoke and offers no place to sit and eat, Bade Miyan is still legendary.
A watering hole for foodies, looking to binge on kormas, biryanis and tikkas at the dead of night, this place is their Mecca! Open from 12noon to 3 a.m, Bade Miyan is the quintessential Desi eatery serving oil dripping, hot and spicy food on even greasier plates.
Even on a midnight visit, brace yourself to cut through the crowd and wait in long queues before being finally be able to be served.
Location and ambiance
Frankly, while location offers lot to write about, ambiance offers nothing. The original ‘hole in the wall’ sized eatery was established behind the celebrated Taj Hotel over 75 years ago and is still a local landmark.
As the sun sets, the dark Colaba backstreets begin buzzing with food enthusiasts driving and walking towards Bade Miyan. No wonder, even in late hours, the eatery’s alley is packed with people gorging on biryanis, kebabs, kormas and rotis either holding plates in their hands or at the car bonnets.
There are two small counters for vegetarian and non-vegetarian fares separately, grilling, roasting and serving food right on the street side. Though, there is no seating facility, the restaurant has arranged for a makeshift sort of seating set up in an adjacent property that preassembly is an exhibition gallery. This place is absolutely no-frill; old property with high roofs, ceiling fans and ram shackled plastic tables and chairs for patron. And the queues over evenings to get a table are incredibly long. We visited on a late Sunday evening and waited for over an hour to get through.
A lot has been said about Baye Miyan’s food. The menu has chicken, mutton and vegetarian dishes, primarily serving starters including tikka, kebabs and rolls along with main course that comprise a couple of gravies, biryanis and rotis.
We tried Reshmi Kebabs and Chicken Tikka as Seekh Kebabs were unavailable. The quantity of starters was disappointing as each item could serve only one. They were fresh yet very average in taste. We then ordered Chicken Bhuna, Butter Chicken, Chicken Baida Roti along with some Rumali Rotis. The two chicken dishes not just tasted alike but also looked the same. The only difference we could tell was a bit of butter in the ‘Butter Chicken’ and that’s it. Same spices, same gravy and same appearance. Also, the quantity again was too less even for two people. Chicken Baida Roti, Indian bread stuffed with egg and minced chicken was decent.
This was followed by chicken biryani, which was the most disappointing part of the meal. The rice and chicken pieces were not in harmony as if cooked separately and later arranged together on our plates. Rice was tasteless and sticky while chicken was bland and seemed to be fried in animal fat. It somehow left a disgusting taste in my mouth. Infact, this time we were greatfull about the served quantity being less!
The prices are extremely high for the quantity and quality that is given. Most importantly, if you hail from North India with food paradises like Delhi, Lucknow and even Kolkata for that matter, chances are that this place would be a bit letdown for having tasted better cuisines than this!
Imagine a tiny roadside stall catering to a chaotic mob waiting for hours to be served! That lays down the foundation of Bade Miyan’s service system, which is annoyingly slow and faulty. There are high chances that you don’t get a seat in the first place and even higher chances of not being attended to by servers promptly. The staff is indifferent and rude! Yes, you heard it correct. Especially the ones allotting the seat are very blunt and show no courtesy towards patrons. In the case of take aways, be very sure of checking your parcels as it is very likely that you are collecting something you never ordered for.
Final verdict :
Basking in its half-a-century old cult status, Bade Miyan is a street-food adventure in itself with all that crowd, smoke, chaos and confusion. Visit for the experience more than anything else.