Chef’s Log 75: (Leop)old is Gold

Earth has a surprisingly large number of old restaurants. Restaurants that have withstood the ravages of time, silent spectators to human-induced revolutions, wars, technological advances and horrendous clothing trends. Much like Café Tato (Goa) or Prems (Pune), Leopold Cafe in Colaba, Mumbai ceased to be a mere restaurant a long time ago, and has become something of an institution. If the drinking glasses are to be believed, it has been around since 1871. That’s a long time even in Gastronomican terms.

I paid a brief visit to Mumbai recently and I simply had to see what the fuss was about. I ordered the steak, onion and chips—a signature dish, I’m told. And I was definitely not disappointed. The steak was tender and juicy, the ends every so slightly crisped. The sauce was delicious and drizzled on in the perfect amount. It was enough to add a smoky piquancy but did not overpower the flavour of the delicious meat at all, allowing it to really stand out. The onions lent a lovely sweetness and a soft crunch to the dish, while the chips had that distinctly rustic, homemade taste that I love. My verdict? Well, let’s just say I can fully understand why this place has been around for as long as it has.