It’s not often that I wish I had a bottomless pit for a stomach but whenever I visit Sachin, I truly wish I had one.
So what is it about this place that makes me want to become a glutton? It’s mostly things that swim in the sea. Such treasures like prawns, fish and crab. Actually, mostly their prawns and fish.
First and foremost, their prawns. Fried Prawns, in particular. I can’t stop eating them, nor can I stop raving about them.
For me, they’re undoubtedly the undisputed No.1 prawn dish in Mumbai in the Indian food category. What makes the prawns a winner is the use of a light batter that doesn’t overpower the taste of the prawn, and yes, you can actually taste the sweetness come through. The sweetness, oh the delicious sweetness of fresh prawns!
The sweet and succulent story continues with Prawn Sukka – a hot, tangy and spicy dish.
Sachin’s fish menu offers only two variations – a light coconut based hot Curry, and Fried. The waiter will reel out the catch of the day and the choice is usually between pomfret (butterfish), surmai (kingfish), ravas (Indian salmon), bangda (mackerel) and bombil (Bombay duck). The curry is sophisticated, they’ve got the balance of masalas right and the perfectly cooked fish, firm yet yielding to your fingers, is best eaten with rice though you could mop it all up with a few chapattis too.
The fried fish (catch of the day) is outstanding, the light batter doing the trick again. The waiters use an ingenious method to coax you into that extra slice of fried fish, the slice that’s going to tip you over into the zone of gluttony – they come around with platefuls of an assortment of hot, just-fried fish, often deliberately carrying it close to your nose with a glint in their eyes, tempting you, teasing you. Clever little fellows, I am the first to succumb to their wiles.
It’s not all about seafood here though. They do some mean chicken and mutton dishes too, with that awesome and fiery thing called Mutton Sukka topping the list of must-dos.
The nice thing about Sachin that makes me go back is its no fuss, no frills, and wholesome homemade style of cooking that’s tasty and down to earth. A style that showcases all the intricate nuances of Gomantak cooking, the food of the Hindu Saraswat community who have their roots in the coastal regions of southern Maharashtra and Goa. And don’t be fooled by its romantic sounding name, Gomantak food borders on the devilishly hot.
Being a frequent visitor to Sachin (15 years and counting) has its privileges – you don’t have to share a table, a rarity in this cramped 10 table, 42 pax humble ‘bhojanalay’ or eating house. Started 40 years ago by Sanjiva Balaji Shetty, it’s now run by his wife Padmaja, who continues the old school tradition, that of substance over style.
Sachin. Corner View Building, Gokhale Road (North), Dadar, Mumbai 400028. Tel: +91 (22) 24466625. Open: 11.30 am – 3.30 pm, 7 pm – 10.30 pm. Thursday closed. No Credit Cards.