Last week post my round of avocado scouting in Pali market, I saw a tiny restaurant nestled away inside Pali village. The Hungry Duck at Pali situated in a tiny lane after Janta bar can easily be missed especially if you’re not proficient with bandra by-lanes. The next day I dragged Bee down there for dinner, after a quick Zomato search brought out some wonderful reviews. Selling points included the words – roast tongue, Messi burger, and grilled chicken.
The space is tiny. An open kitchen counter ensures you can smell the meat aromas wafting through the kitchen – no complaints there. The menu is exhaustive and covers meat of every kind – buff, pork, chicken, and the namesake duck – in dishes of every kind – roast, grilled, chops, sandwiches, and burgers the size of your face.
In an attempt to eat healthy I resisted all temptation and ordered the Grilled Chicken (LOL) with mashed potatoes on the side (because balanced diet). The chicken was cooked perfectly with caramelized onions and carrots on top which tasted divine with the creamy mash. I would have loved more sauce on top though. Also, when your meat comes with a large steak knife on the side, you know they mean business! Bee’s Duck Meat burger was messy, meaty and indulgent – just as how burgers should be – with the meat cooked in a sweet spicy sauce. Overall, delicious food, and the icing on the cake was our bill. We paid Rs 550/- with tip (I heart restaurants that do not shove service charge down my throat), which is a steal considering the portion size, and meat quotient.
While paying our bill we decide to chat up with the smiling, cheery owner – Lawrence Cardoz – who not only served us that night but also threw in a complimentary portion of garlic toast with our order. (No he did not know that I blog!) I asked him why he did not have the restaurant’s menu up on Zomato – something that all restaurants do. He looked at me questioningly and asked, ‘What is Zomato?’ It was heart warming when I showed him the restaurants listing on the app, and made him read the good reviews people had written. He was amused to see that people actually clicked pictures of his food and uploaded them online.
It is really a breath of fresh air to see restaurants like this – launching the old school way. No blogger tables, no invited free meals, no ‘Rate Us Online’ posters. The question being that ‘Can a restaurant flourish in today’s day and age without any sort of online presence? Can a restaurant launch today without any promotional buzz or marketing activity and still pull crowds?’ I hope the answer is a yes.
As we left that night, Bee and I declared that we found a new, VFM, favorite in bandra – one that we would return to. I enjoy feasting at small mom and pop joints, places where the food tastes like it would at home, and doesn’t cost a bomb! I’d like to believe I try and do my bit by eating at smaller restaurants and heritage restaurants by eating there and writing about them. It’s been ten days since we dined there, and now Hungry Duck at Pali has a Facebook page here and a basic website here. The Zomato page is still menu-less however.
Contact: Hungry Duck at Pali, Shop 3, Plot 2, Aruna Niwas, Pali Village, Pali Hill, bandra West. Phone – 022 2600 5792.
(The author dined anonymously and paid for her own meals.)