Dining: A popular hot spot

Mau Pau serves up the authentic flavors of India.

Mau Pau restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Mau Pau restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
If you’re looking for some truly authentic Mumbai street food, Mau Pau is the place. Opened just over a month ago, Mau Pau has already become a hot spot in Tel Aviv’s trendy Nahalat Binyamin area.
Mostly indoors with an open patio area, the restaurant is small but full of warmth and character. Inside, the dim lights, intimate design and music from the Bollywood films projected on a large screen all contribute to the special atmosphere of the place.
As we made our way to our table, we whetted our appetites by feasting our eyes on the elaborate dishes being served to others.
Mau Pau is owned by siblings Noah, Israel and Ronit Isaac, whose parents made aliya from Maharashta.
They decided to open the restaurant in honor of their mother, who died a year ago. They wanted to convey the tastes, smells and colors of the food they had experienced at home.
The menu is divided into three sections. The first section is chaat – Indian savory snacks typically sold at the roadside. These include chicken samosas, onion bhajis and pakoras.
Next is the chipatis and tandoori meats, and finally the curries and thali.
We began our culinary journey with the batata vada (NIS 25), which is one of the most popular snacks in Mumbai. It literally means “potato fritters.” The word batata means “potato” in Portuguese; the Portuguese introduced potatoes in India. The dish consists of a potato mash patty coated with chickpea flour, then deep-fried and served hot with chutney. If you’re concerned about carbs or cholesterol, skip these. But if you want a fantastic flavor combo, this is your dish.
This was comfort food at its best.
This was followed by kanda bhaji (NIS 18), which were crisp onion fritters. They were spicy, crispy and crunchy, and we couldn’t stop at just one.
In between, we were treated to two glasses of lassi, which is a creamy yogurt drink with walnuts, banana and honey. It was delicious and had the perfect consistency – not too watery and not too thick.
It went especially well with the spicy dishes.
Next up was the malai kofta (NIS 39), which is a classic North Indian dish that originated from the Mughlai cuisine. Malai refers to the cream, and koftas are deep-fried paneer and vegetable dumplings in rich, creamy gravy. The balance of flavors and aromas showed a real mastery by the chef. Not to mention the accompanying naan, which was fluffy with just the right amount of crispiness.
Last, we were presented with the chicken briyani (NIS 45). It was well portioned, with a good amount of tender chicken pieces throughout.
For dessert, we were served authentic Indian chai, along with a slice of coconut banoffee pie.
Unfortunately, the pie looked much better than it tasted. I found it to be very dry with not much flavor.
Overall, I would recommend Mau Pau to anyone who loves Indian food.
The chefs seem to take real pride and effort in their flavors, and it shows in the delicious dishes.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Mau Pau
Not kosher
59 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 773-7979