Lucky Bandra Restaurant

Though it might look like just one more neon sign competing for attention among the bright lights of Al Fahidi Street, the gaudy red lettering of ‘Lucky’ marks out an eatery with a much richer history than most. Lucky Bandra Restaurant was established in the Bandra area of Mumbai in 1938 by an Iranian immigrant. The brand did well and has opened various outlets across India over the past 70 years. This is its first branch outside of the Subcontinent, brought to Dubai by the third generation of the Lucky dynasty. To maintain authenticity the owners have even brought their very own Chef Ramzan with them. He’s been cooking up a storm in the Lucky Mumbai kitchen for the last six years, so he should know what he’s doing. Excited at the prospect of some trademark, traditional fare, my dining companion and I climbed the stairs to Lucky Bandra. The set-up was simple: a few plastic tables and chairs, a few nondescript pictures hanging crookedly and a faded carpet that had seen better days. This is exactly what we were looking for: no fuss, just food. There were only two starters available on the evening that we visited, so with little choice in the matter, we ordered them. We had no idea what to expect from the hare bhare kebab, but it turned out to be a wiser choice than the mutton cutlets. The former is best described as a selection of fried vegetable patties, golden brown on the outside with an unnaturally bright green interior. They’re a mishmash of spinach, beans and cauliflower. And, with so many flavours blended together, it was difficult to discern anything in particular. But they were still tasty, in a generic, veggie burger sort of way. The cutlets, on the other hand, were disappointing. Again, a selection of fried patties appeared on my plate, but meat that has been compressed until it’s two dimensional does little to excite. Plus, the dish was bland. There was a variety of mains, but a dearth in cohesive descriptions. I tried to make my waiter my guide. ‘What’s in the mutton kadai?’ I asked. ‘It’s meat with sauce,’ he replied. I tentatively probed, ‘what kind of sauce?’ ‘Brown sauce,’ he replied. I gave up and ordered it. My bemused companion elected to play it safe with butter chicken. Both were good. My kadai had a pleasantly earthy undertone and the kind of heat that creeps up on you. The mutton fell apart at the touch of my fork. But it was the butter chicken that really impressed. Often this dish is a thick gloop, more creamy than buttery. This was different: the overriding taste was of butter, although it was not overwhelming. It was a distinctive flavour that seeped out satisfyingly from the sauce. It’s testament to Lucky Bandra’s cooking that the place is packed with Indian men. I suppose this explains why the waiters have such difficulty describing the menu. Their clientele pretty much knows what its ordering. Though perhaps, for us, part of the excitement is not knowing, and in discovering something new. The bill (for two) 1x Mutton cutlets Dhs12 1x Hare bhare kebab Dhs10 1x Butter chicken Dhs20 1x Mutton kadai Dhs18 2x Butter naan Dhs8 2x Small water Dhs4 2x Pepsi Dhs6 Total Dhs78

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