Drive towards south Mumbai and head to Fort – one of the most famous areas of the buzzing metropolis of Mumbai, and you’re sure to be directed towards what Mumbaikars consider the unsung delight of the city. Khyber is that quintessential old place which has seen crowds big and small dine between its well-preserved walls. From Brad Pitt to Senior Bachchan, Shakira and M.F. Husain, everyone seems to have been here! Saba Ladha takes a peep inside..
Dream restaurant of Om Prakash Bahl, Khyber began operations in the 1950s. Om aspired to create a nice little place that attracted food lovers towards basic cuisine made with lots of love. After redesigning Khyber in 1988 with the help of Parmeshwar Godrej, they restarted the place. That change led to a boom in Khyber’s fame, and the restaurant has been packed with food lovers ever since. One can even hear anecdotes of painter M.F. Husain creating one of his exceptional paintings while enjoying a meal here.
Khyber’s ambience is old school and rustic, with ancient poetries carved on the walls in Persian. The decor is charming, with a touch of Mughal and Persian styles that can take you back in time. “The concept and design of the restaurant was designed by the family and the interior designer, Ms Parmeshwar Godrej who had a great vision for the place, and we give her all the credit. The interiors are rugged yet classy, and they look brand new even today,” says Ishaan Bahl, son of Sudheer Bahl, the current owner of Khyber.
The restaurant has stuck to Indian cuisine on its menu, and offers wide variety of options right from TandooriPomfret to Paneer Korma, Afghan inspired kebabs and the Tandoori Lamb Chops. The food is succulent and satisfying in terms of taste and portions. Ishaan says that they have made a conscious decision to stick to Indian cuisine at Khyber, which, according to him, has a food history that is decades old. “We want to improve on the Indian flavours and introduce better concepts and ideas within this theme instead of introducing other cuisines,” Ishaan confides.
Khyber has stayed true to its taste over the years, and has attracted a crowd of faithfuls who fill up its ancient wooden benches day in and day out. That the crowd includes a few big national and international names, including Amitabh Bachchan and Brad Pitt comes as no surprise given the authenticity of flavour and feel at this old Mumbai restaurant.
Telephone — 02240396666
Timings — 11:30 pm – 12:30 am.
Price — ₹1500 – ₹3000
Meal for two — ₹2700 INR without alcohol
Our pick — Reshmi Broccoli, Chicken Badami, Malai Paratha, tandoori lamb chop, rabdi, paneer korma, Afghan inspired kebabs.