Adventures with Food

Adventures with Food

Fish Steak in Lemon Almond Sauce with Sautéed Vegetables
It was a Thursday evening, and as commonplace as a Thursday evening can be. All was commonplace except for one thing; I did not want to have my dinner at the hostel dining room that night. There was a strange craving for change, meat and a lighter pocket, which drove me out of my room and took me straight to Hiranandani Gardens, where I hoped to find something that would satisfy me.

After looking around for a while, still wondering if I should return, I climbed up the stairs to the 1st floor food court at the Galleria. I remembered the overpriced chicken kababs I had had there a few weeks back, the 100% vegetarian meal, that I was unable to finish, owing to its mammoth size. I never thought that a hundred rupees in Mumbai could buy me a meal that I would not be able to finish!! I saw the stall selling Mexican food, with few customers, as usual. A strange cross between Mumbai street cuisine and Mexican nachos waited in the glass box waiting for someone to eat it. I finally decided to go to that stall in the corner, which has always puzzled me. There were never any customers around. However, they seemed to have a large number of home delivery orders. The staff seemed somewhat better than those at the other stalls, and the man at the desk looked more like a chef than his baniya-like counterparts.

The décor of the stall was tasteful, with a light brown color of the tiles, which faded into white as they reached the ceiling. The board with their name was a backlit display, with the name “Gostana” displayed in light blue on a white background. There were a few light blue circles floating around the name too. I had lways wondered what the name meant.

Well, I was in the mood for some adventure, and I stepped up to this stall. The man greeted me, and so unlike the other baniyas, he started a conversation by introducing himself, and asking my name. This man, Lenny, is definitely an interesting character. I glanced through the menu, and learned that this stall specialized in Lebanese food. The word Hummus caught my attention, and I immediately asked Lenny about it. What followed was certainly educational.

Lenny started by asking me, “Do you know why these Israelis, Lebanese, and others from the Middle Eastern states bordering the Mediterranean are so well built?” I nodded in denial through my confusion, and he continued to explain. “Hummus. That is the reason. They have hummus all the time. And what does hummus have? It is made of sesame.” I just nodded. Second question: “Do you know what hummus gives the body?” I did not. “Several weeks’ dose of Vitamin C. That is what a single serving of hummus will give you.”
However healthy hummus may be, I chose the fish steak in lemon almond sauce and sautéed vegetables over it. Hummus will have to wait for another day. Lenny warned me that unlike most Indian dishes, what I had ordered would not be spicy.

When the plate arrived, it looked tantalizing. I will let the picture speak the thousand odd words that it could take me to describe it.

The sauce had a slight tinge of the lemon, and the fish fillet was tender, and slightly smoked. The veggies made for good accompaniment. Lenny explained that the vegetables were sautéed so that they would retain their nutritional value. A light fry in olive oil would actually enrich them.

I would have loved some white wine with this, but sadly, alcohol was prohibited in the food court. I took my time, nearly forty-five minutes, with this dish, and I enjoyed every morsel. However, I did observe one thing. Compared to Indian foods, this was quite bland, and even though I am usually very ready to experiment with food, it was initially a little difficult to appreciate the finer tastes in this preparation. Also, the fish seemed to smell a little in the beginning, but before I was midway through the plate, I was relishing every bit of it.

I thanked Lenny for this wonderful fish steak, and was even more surprised by the bill of only Rs. 135. As I stuffed the bill into my pocket, I made a mental note: “Return next week to Gostana for Chicken Steak with Hummus.”

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