Inside Bindaas Begum Rockin Raja, Mulund | All The Deets
I’m always one for trying new things, you will always find me searching the menu for ingredients and preparations I haven’t tried before and trying to discover new restaurants. Before visiting Bindaas Begum Rockin’ Raja in Mulund, I checked their menu on Zomato as I usually do, and discovered an Indian food menu that I couldn’t understand.
When I arrived, I met with one of four co-founders of the restaurant, Anuja Gupte who took me through the concept of the restaurant. I realised, while I was talking with Anuja, that I had been a fool to think of BBRR as just an ordinary Indian food eatery. Anuja explained, that all the food items on the menu at BBRR are recipes from royal households of our country. The founders of the restaurant, Jeetendra Sonar, Jaya Sonar, Anuja Gupte, and Prasad Gupte, along with a historian, spent nearly four years traveling, researching and testing recipes before they launched. “Our restaurant is our passion, which is why we spent so long perfecting our research,” said Anuja. She had brought a big hard-cover book along with her, which she proudly presented to me as The Bindaas Begum Rockin Raaja Thesis. Four years’ worth of research in the form of recipes, anecdotes, essays, notes and photos, were compiled in this book.
I was blown away by the sheer dedication put into every aspect of the restaurant.
My companion and I started with a soup each: The Vegetarian Pyajo and the Lamb Trotter Soup. I personally would not have a gone for a soup that blistering afternoon at all, but we did on the restaurant’s insistence. The Vegetarian Pyajo was a simple bowl reminiscent of a typical tomato soup, and the Lamb Trotter Soup felt like I was having a mild version of a homemade mutton curry. It was packed with flavour, but had I eaten the entire bowl, I surely wouldn’t have been able to make it past the appetisers that followed.
The Kewa Datshi is a dish that hails from Sikkim’s royal family, wherein jalapeno peppers are stuffed with cheese and potato, and topped with a semi-spicy curry. Their Kewa Datshi can be best described as an Indian version of jalapeno poppers. It also happens to be one of the most fast-moving vegetarian items on their menu.
Our last vegetarian starter was the Bhutte Ki Karanji. Hailing from Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar province, these fried dumplings were stuffed with minced corn, and would be wonderful to have on the table with a round of cocktails.
For our non-vegetarian starters, we went with the Qabargah, an old Kashmiri preparation passed down through generations, wherein succulent lamb chops are cooked in saffron milk, aromatic spices and gently fried. The mild flavour profile of this dish worked really well and we enjoyed the dish thoroughly.
The Patrali Komdi is one of the few Gujrati non-vegetarian dishes that you can find in India. The royals of Baroda helped them with the recipe behind the steamed chicken dish that comes rolled between colocasia leaves, or as they say alu in Marathi. I have been eating the vegetarian version of the same dish all my life at home, and I never knew a chicken one existed.
This is what I loved about Bindaas Begum Rockin Raaja: they have taken authentic recipes that needed a light to be shone over them for so long. Almost everything I was eating was brand new, still, it’s roots were decades old, buried in our own cuisine.
Next up was one of their own creations, the Butter Chicken Croqettes (how can you go to an Indian restaurant and not have at least one butter chicken-y dish?!) were perfectly crispy on the outside, and thick, creamy and full of buttery goodness on the inside. A classic flavour profile in case you don’t want to try something wildly new!
To quickly run you through the mains, we had a classic roti basket which had a selection of breads such as cheese garlic naan, missi roti, lacchha paratha, kulcha and butter naan. Our breads were paired with their aromatic, flavourful curries like the Jimikand Kalia, Paneer Bhawalpur Railway Mutton Curry and Rajpapila Chicken Curry.
The Jimikand Kalia was a tangy tomato based gravy with tough pieces of yam in it. It’s a wonderful switch up from the tiresome paneer gravies for vegetarians. The rest were very familiar tasting so we found that the curries that didn’t stand out as much as all our appetizers did. There was no doubt that they all tasted brilliant, I just thought they played it rather safe here, and maybe we could have chosen some dishes more on the unknown side.
Another surprise was their Dak Bungalow Chicken, which was a big plate of roast chicken which tasted and looked as if it was influenced from a Mediterranean restaurant but was actually sourced from the Khansamas of Pakistan again. The tender chicken was perfectly cooked and well marinated in their rich, thick gravy.
I enjoyed the Yakhini Pulao, a preparation from the royals of Kashmir. It was a mild and aromatic rice cooked in chicken stock which borrowed its flavours from the intricate spices it was cooked with. I liked it for how light it was, after all the heavy eating we had just done.
Lastly, it was time for dessert. The most out-there dish by far, was the Lasooni Kheer. It was literally, a garlic flavoured bowl of kheer! I was so surprised to see how seamlessly garlic had been factored into this dessert. For dessert, I tend to prefer something wholesome and simple (basically anything with chocolate!), but this complex dish was pretty good.
Overall, I definitely thought it was worth going all the way to Mulund for BBRR, and I was happy to hear that they have plans of expanding to other parts of the city soon! I recommend Bindaas Begum Rockin Raaja for just how exciting their menu. It’s vast, so you might keep going back to tick everything off, too!