Rich Substitute: Ten Delicious Buff Dishes

Among the things the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena coalition in Maharashtra will be remembered for is the ban on beef. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent attempt at damage control, the parent BJP regime at the centre will forever be associated with the frequent violence unleashed by cow-worshiping vigilantes on Muslims and Dalits. While beef is off menus in Mumbai, buffalo meat or buff continues to be served. Buff might be yokelish compared to the sophisticated flavour of beef but it’s tasty nonetheless. Here are our ten favourite buff dishes, sometimes referred to as beef in menus, at restaurants across the city. Tell us your favourites in the comments section.

Seekh kababs at Sarvi.

Seekh kebabs at Sarvi.

Imbiss’ beef rouladen
There’s no shortage of beef on Imbiss’ menu, perhaps the most unabashedly meaty in the entire city. Among our picks is the beef roulade, in which strips of meat are rolled around pickled vegetables and served with mashed potatoes and brown sauce. The tender, minimally spiced beef is a flavourful contrast to the crunchy pieces of veg. Rs360.
Imbiss, 3, Pipewala Building, Fourth Pasta Lane, opposite Camy Wafers, Colaba. Tel: 022 3312 6778. Also at Ben O Lil Haven, Waroda Road, off Hill Road, Bandra (West). Tel: 84549 46413.

Indigo Deli’s Philly cheese steak sandwich
An empty stomach is needed to relish this indulgent sandwich, which has been on the menu ever since Indigo Deli opened in 2005. It’s stuffed with a winning combination of pieces of steak, caramelised onion and melted cheddar. Rs715.
Indigo Deli, Pheroze Building, Ground Floor, Apollo Bunder, near the Gateway of India, Colaba. Tel: 022 6655 1010. Also at Clifton Trishul CHS, off Link Road, Andheri (West). Tel: 022 2633 6262. Palladium Mall, First Floor, Phoenix Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 4366 6666. 8, Fatima Villa, 29th Road, Pali Naka, Bandra (West). Tel: 022 2643 8100. For a complete list of locations, see here.

Kofuku’s Japanese hambagu steak
A Japanese corruption of ‘hamburger’, the hambagu steak is a generous patty of buff mince. While the hunk of meat is quite tasty by itself, it’s elevated several notches by a rich, tart sauce. Rs645.
Kofuku, Sixth Floor, Suburbia Mall, next to Shoppers Stop, Linking Road, Bandra (West). Tel: 022 6695 5105.

Leopold Café and Bar’s buffalo chilli dry
This Indian-Chinese dish of chunky meat is smoky, crunchy and a great accompaniment to beer. Rs482.
Leopold Cafe and Bar, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba Causeway, Colaba. Tel: 022 2282 8185.

Beef olives at The Bombay Canteen.

Beef olives at The Bombay Canteen.

Ling’s Pavilion’s BBQ platter
The generously-portioned platter has barbecued pieces of beef, chicken and pork. The bite-sized pieces of beef are crisp, lightly chewy and have the mild flavour of lemongrass. As they’re addictively good, you might find yourself knocking them back like popcorn. Rs495.
Ling’s Pavilion, Lansdowne Road, behind Regal Cinema, Colaba. Tel: 022 2285 0023.

Sarvi’s seekh kebab
This Nagpada institution undoubtedly serves the best seekh in the city. Despite the ban on real beef, the flavour of the kebabs, which are now made of buff, is miraculously unchanged. As the meat is marinated and pounded until its pliant, the kebabs are soft. They’re best had with Sarvi’s tandoori roti. Rs48 per plate.
Sarvi, Dimtimkar Road, opposite Nagpada Police Station, Byculla. Tel: 022 98201 42967.

Sneha Restaurant’s beef fry
The beef fry at this modest joint in Mahim, a toss up of juicy chunks of meat in a masala of onion, garlic and chilli, has the approval of the city’s Malayalis. It goes without saying that the beef ought to be eaten with Sneha’s buttery, flaky Malabar parotas. Rs150.
Sneha Restaurant, Lady Jamshedji Road, opposite Paradise Cinema, Mahim. Tel: 022 2445 6330.

The Bombay Canteen‘s Goan b**f olives
The classic Goan entree of pan-seared buff tenderloin was introduced to The Bombay Canteen’s frequently changing menu a month ago. Served as a juicy roulade, each blushing, olive-shaped roll is stuffed with bacon, Bhavnagri chillies and caramelised onions, making it spicy, sweet and unapologetically meaty. A buttery hasselback potato, sautéed radish greens and a spicy beef broth add depth of flavour to the delicious dish. Rs650. 
The Bombay Canteen, Process House, Kamala Mills, near the Radio Mirchi office, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 4966 6666.

Cast iron meatballs at The Table.

Cast iron meatballs at The Table.

The Good Wife‘s tenderloin gyudon bowl
The Bandra Kurla Complex bar and restaurant’s version of the popular Japanese rice item is a bowl of jasmine rice topped with shredded beef in a peppery gravy and a poached egg. As the beef is not heavily spiced, the meat-laden dish deceptively weighs lightly on the gut. Rs525.
The Good Wife, The Capital, Ground Floor, behind ICICI Building, Bandra Kurla Complex. Tel: 022 4010 9433.

The Table’s cast iron meatballs
A splendidly flavourful combination of pork and beef, the meatballs come in a bath of rich tomato gravy with a topping of shoestring fries. Rs750.
The Table, Kalapesi Trust Building, below Hotel Suba Palace, near the Gateway of India, Apollo Bunder, Colaba. Tel: 022 2282 5000.

SPECIAL MENTION
Farm Products & Co.‘s roast tongue

The 126-year-old store selling Goan food makes its own cold cuts. The best among these is the roast tongue, which they cook whole and slice while selling. The meat is firm yet tender and full of flavour. Have it on its own or in a sandwich with cheese and relish.
Farm Products & Co., Red Shield House, opposite Hotel Diplomat, behind the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, BEST Marg, Colaba. Tel: 022 2284 0335.

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