By Dr. Shernaz Baji Avari
If you're a seafood connoisseur, then Fresh Catch restaurant next to Mahim Fire Brigade, Diamond Court L.J. Road, Mahim (W), Tel. 24448942 is the right place for you to indulge your taste buds, please your palate and sample the freshest catch in town!
This quaint little restaurant started 14 years back has a pleasing homely décor and can accommodate 35 covers between the ground and first floor. What started off as a daily common food of the people of the coastal area has today snowballed into a feast with every bite being the perfect delight. Over the years they have maintained the consistency in their food and visitors who frequent this place even after many years feel that the taste and flavours and the richness of the indigenous curries with speical masalas have remained unsurpassed. Besides the fresh sea food that you get here, masterfully made and unerringly cooked is uncomparable with other regular sea food joints. Stalwarts like Busybee, Sachin Tendulkar, Siddharth Kak, Rashmi Udday Singh, Marcello Baptista and other celebrities who used to be regular visitros have made this place more popular by word of mouth. People who frequent this place very often, don't go by the menu, they just know what to order! If you're a newcomer, then their very hospitable owner Francis R. Fernandes will guide you all the way and make your visit a memorable one. His personal involvement into every dish and its ingredients has made this little eatery stand out in prominence.
Flag off with Sol Kadi as the perfect appetiser. Then savour their delicious Crab Soup or go in fox Mix Sea Food soup which is also very popular. Whoever frequents this place will always asks for their Bombay Ducks (bombil), a perfect 'starter' along with tasty bites of fish roe. Says Francis 'this is the best place for crispy Bombay Ducks and everyone asks for the same.'
If you're a prawns aficianado, indulge your tastebuds with Rechado Prawns, tangy and spicy and cooked to perfection in Goan style masalas. Prawn Gassi stands out as the most aromatic and authentically flavoured curry which can be had with Neer Dossa or white rice. Amboti curry which is also their speciality can be relished with prawns, pomfret or any other fish, and also goes well with Neer Dossa and white rice and so does the 'Gaunti' (country) chicken made with coconut milk and grounded masalas. The speciality of Goan cuisine – prawns Balchow which are pickled fresh prawns, tangy and spicy will tantalise your tastebuds. Prawn Pulav is a delicacy here with its unique time-tested mild masala flavour. Mix Sea Food Pulav and Sippi Pulav are unrivalled in taste. If you're a rice lover, try any one of these.
Smack your lips in delight with Crab Meat Butter Garlic. It's unique soft and succulent meat, cooked to perfection, sizzles on your plate. Superlatively cooked with the 'freshest catch' of pomfret is the Hara Bhara Pomfret. Calamari chilly sukkem is a delectable stir fried fish with spicy tangy masalas and kanne (Lady Fish) which is a fried preparation is savoured with equal gusto. Sippi or Clams are shell fish made with scrapped coconut and home made masalas lends a distinctive flavour. In fact, the secret to the success of this restaurant lies in the fact that all the different masalas are painstakingly made by them – authentic and flawless.
Happy endings with Goan Bibinca, Chocolate Mousse, Caramal Custard or Vanilla ice cream with chopped mango pieces in season, serve as the perfect finale to this excellent culinary jourey. One thing that you notice and feel is the fact that even after a multicourse meal you don't feel heavy – just light and refreshed! That's the beauty of homely food which can never go wrong!
When love and skill work together, do expect a masterpiece!
How did the name 'Fresh Catch' originate? Says Francis, “Staying next to the riverside and at a tender school going age I had watched my mother do her daily cooking for the family and keeping her masalas ready for the curries and gravies. Getting the 'fresh catch' of the day, my mum always said that whatever the curries with ingredients, the taste always depends on the 'Fresh Catch'. How true!
Drop in for lunch or dinner (open from 12 noon to 11.30 p.m. with a break from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.) or have a date with your loved one. Fresh, tasty, wholesome and homely food, great service, warmth and hospitality of its owner Francis R. Fernandes will make you undertake a culinary jounrey to this restaurant again and again.