[Mumbai, India] Dinner at Mahesh Lunch Home

It’s been 20 years since I was last at SC Karkerar’s iconic Mahesh Lunch Home. Established in 1977, offering Mangalorean seafood dishes for the first time to Mumbaikars back then, Mahesh Lunch Home seemed to have climbed higher and higher in terms of sheer quality of cooking and its super-efficient service.

Our dinner last night was a revelation - we ordered from the menu and our waiter promptly showed us our live seafood orders table side - they are as fresh as they come: a gargantuan live crab, and some tiger prawns.

Our dinner consisted of:

  1. Mahesh Lunch Home’s signature must-order: the butter garlic crab. Once you’ve had the sweet-fleshed, meaty crab here, you won’t be satisfied from those anywhere else!

  2. Prawn Gassi, served with appam - the prawns had a “butter chicken” kind of look and colour tone, but the rich coconutty-shellfish flavours were stupendous. Mangalorean cooking has higher levels of chili than Mughlai cooking, so the chili hit came as a shock to our palate.

The Mangalorean appam were robust and heavy, unlike the moist, delicate Sri Lankan or Keralan appams which we’re more used to. Still, the perfect accompaniment to the prawn gassi dish.

  1. Butter chicken - we ordered this dish, thinking we’re going to get the smokey, rich, creamy dish that we loved.

However, the rendition here bore no resemblance to the butter chicken we know - instead, it was an aggressively spiced chicken dish with audacious levels of chili, onions and garlic. Tasty, no doubt, but not what we expected!

  1. Neer dosa - lacy thin crepes - the name translates to “water crepes” - were a good accompaniment to the curried dishes we ordered.

  2. Mahesh Special Vegetables was a pretty-looking combination of mild, creamy navratan korma and super-spicy kolhapuri. Best vegetable dish I’d ever had in any Indian restaurant anywhere!

I’d always enjoyed my visits to Mahesh Lunch Home - twenty years ago as now. In the intervening decades, the service had become more crisp and polished, whilst the cooking displayed the kind of confidence which assured diners we are tasting some of the best efforts to come out of the kitchen.

Mahesh Lunch Home
Ground Floor, WRMM+G8P Life Insurance Building, 8-B, Cawasji Patel Rd, near Mumbai, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India
Tel: +91 22 2202 3965
Opening hours: 11.30am-3.45pm, 6pm-11.45pm Monday to Saturday
11.30am-3.45pm, 7pm-11.45pm Sunday


Hi Peter. Good to know you finally made it back to Mumbai. Do you still have plans to visit the Irani cafes?

I’ve sent a link to your review to the owner of our favourite Mumbai street food restaurant. If he has any suggestions of places, I’ll let you know.

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Wow, that is a blast from the past. Between 1999-2014 I used to visit Mumbai at least once a year and I went to MHL a number of times for those crabs. Messiest food ever, but wow are they good. I miss all my India food stops! Is Jimmy Boy still around? I had some okra there that I’m still dreaming about 20+ years later.


Oh yes, of course, John - we are planning to do Britannia & Co tomorrow.

We did Leopold Cafe at lunch today, and I was just about to post about it.


Mahesh Lunch Home actually has a deshelled version of their garlic-butter crab dish, so we don’t have to get our fingers dirty! But we chose the more photogenic shell-on version. :joy: :joy: :joy:

Yes! Jimmy Boy is still around! There’s a branch quite near my hotel.

@klyeoh Welcome back to Mumbai! If you’re still around in a week or two (when I get there) we should meet over a meal.

I hadn’t been to Mahesh in decades until this summer. That butter garlic crab is just ridiculously good :joy:. We had ordered in ghee roast crab earlier in the year, but that was both very spicy, and also not butter garlic which is what we really wanted :rofl:.

I’m impressed you guys ordered so much — we normally run out of space between the crab, some grilled / tandoori seafood (prawns top of list), and some rava-fried fish (Bombay duck is my favorite, but I didn’t like Mahesh’s version this year).

I’ve had Gassi with Rotti, a crisp, cracker-like Mangalorean dosa which you crumble up and cover with the curry, which softens it, but I have to admit I prefer rice with all the curries over any of the appam or dosai!

What else is on your eating itinerary?

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I loved the berry pulao when I went in 2016. Boman Kohinoor was still alive and holding court. What a gent. He was delighted to discover we were English and asked us to give his regards to her maj.

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Thanks! We fly to Aurangabad on Sunday, and much of our trip will actually be spent traversing the Malabar Coast of Kerala.

An interesting character indeed. Too bad we missed him.


Sounds wonderful – have a great trip! (Assume you’ll see the caves from Aurangabad, they’re fabulous.)

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Yes, that is the plan. :blush:

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Peter - Sandeep from my local restaurant offers the following suggestions:

Gajlee ( seafood)

Mirchi & Mime - Powai location.

Bombay Nazariya - Andheri location (

Spice Klub in Lower Parel opposite to Paladium mall. “It is vegetarian but I thought they have been creative. Its Gastronomy experience.”

Kayani - Irani cafe

He also suggests the food court at Juhu beach - several Indian street food vendors and others selling Indo-Chinese.

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Thanks for the list, John - we leave Mumbai tonight, though - off to Aurangabad to see the cave temples.

Gajalee was an old favourite of mine - it even had a branch in Singapore for a few years back in the 2000s, but the cooking there never reached the level we get here in Mumbai.

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Looks terrific. Several years ago when I was there, we heard about Mahesh and Trishna, ate colossal spicy prawns at Trishna.

My daughter and I had gone on an overnight backwaters boat trip in Kerala, crew of 3, meals included. At one point there was an opportunity to buy those special prawns so, for a little surcharge, we bought 3 BIG prawns for dinner.

One each filled us up so we let the crew share the last one.

That night we went to bed early because there were millions of big bugs attracted to our lantern light.

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We’ll be doing the boat trip in Kerala, too. Looking forward to that.

Trishna, together with Mahesh and Gajalee ruled the roost where dining out is concerned for the past 2 decades!

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Gajalee is our family favorite.

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