When you think of food in the American Deep South, a variety of images ranging from Texan buffalo wings and barbequed ribs to New Orleans gumbo and jambalaya come to mind. But there is no eatery in India that serves up the experience of “soul food” – food that has its roots dug deep into the colonial south, where plantation owners set lavish, elegant tables and their African slaves slow-cooked their own meagre portions in pits. Except one.
The Boston Butt in Mumbai is India’s first charcuterie and smokery and serves up soul food, adapted for the fickle, modern Indian palate. It is named after a cut from a pig’s shoulder – a cut that was cheap and tough and smoked by the slaves in southern America to turn it delicious. So is this restaurant just about smoking or grilling meats? Looking at their extensive menu, we were happy to have the answer to that question, were thoroughly intrigued by the twists given to old classics, and super hungry by the time we got to perusing the dessert section.
The Real Deal
Walking into The Boston Butt is akin to taking a time capsule back to the pre-Prohibition era. Custom made leather seating, copper fixtures, mirrors, pictures on the wall – all convey a sense of timelessness spread out over two levels. If there had been soot and smoke, you could have mistaken it for a blues bar of yore (an upscale one, though).
The menu, then, is a surprise – and not a bad one at that. You expect grilled meats. They’re there, but they’re not your regular charcoal grilled variety. They’re slow cooked, lovingly and painstakingly for sometimes as long as days. There’s a lot of interesting fusion in the works here and surprising touches of oriental cuisine in the menu (The chongqing style shrimp with smoke dried red chilli was one such fantastic dish.) What was most surprising – and delightful to a few of us – was the large selection for vegetarians. Most meat dishes have a vegetarian option and the menu actually has more vegetarian food on offer.
The cocktails are innovative and have even more innovative names. The Curry Scented Bitch (of Zayn Malik fame) is a sweet, vodka-based concoction flavoured with, but obviously, curry leaves. The Smokey Apple Pie was on point on flavour and effect, both, and the combination of sage and cardamom made Risque Whisky an instant hit. Next time, we’re going to explore Hello From The Other Side which contains melon liqueur and avocado and maybe the Vvanderfell, flavoured with elderflower liqueur.
Image Caption: Cocktail/drink
Oh, but did we mention the beer? And not just any old beer. This is the only place in the country where you’ll get glitter beer. Most of you must have raised a brow at that and so did we till we were told that the beer was flavoured and topped with edible glitter – the type that’s liberally used in cake decoration these days. The glitter beer comes in two flavours – elderflower and salt water taffy and we have to admit we fell in love with the latter. For those of you who can’t digest glitter in any form, there’s a wide variety of normal beer to choose from too.
And desserts! If you do go to the Boston Butt, you had better not leave without trying their skillet cookie or skillet cinnamon rolls served with homemade ice cream. Talking about ice creams, with flavours like burnt orange, salted apple and blue cheese and jam, you’re sure to find one that will suit your taste buds.
The Boston Butt is the brainchild of Chef Siddharth Kashyap who first sampled smoked meats at the Grillstock Festival in the UK and has been an aficionado since then. From barbecuing in his backyard and experimenting with smokers and grills, he’s now proud co-owner of this fabulous smokery. They experiment with smoking everything here – chillies, apples and of course, meat and seafood. The smoking is not done with modern liquid smoke – they follow the southern tradition of brining the meat and smoking with wood chips like apple, hickory or birch. Apart from smoking meats, they also make their bread, sodas, and ice creams in-house.
Southern food is soul food – it’s hearty and bursting with different flavours. And that’s exactly what The Boston Butt offers. Whether you go for their mini brioches stuffed with smoked bacon chilli jam or their bloom bread, which is a pull apart bread with a LOT of cheese, or their smoked calamari, or even their classic philly cheesesteak, you can be sure that you’ll be getting a flavorsome, delicious dish.
A meal at The Boston Butt will definitely be a delight for everyone at the table. Their gracious, smiling servers know that they have a good thing going!
Where: 1st Floor, Rampart Row, Near Rhythm House, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai
Timings: 12 noon to 12:30 am
Contact: 022 30151318
Cost: Rs 800 per person, minus alcohol
Follow them on Facebook for the latest deals: https://www.facebook.com/TheBostonButt/
#ProTip: They have a new Sunday brunch menu out, so if you’re planning to go, we suggest that you gorge yourself on the goodies for brunch, come home and sleep it off on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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