Chandu Halwai (Sion, Mumbai)

To round off a carbohydrate crescendo at Via Napoli, I find myself at Chandu’s on the back of a recommendation, chomping at the bit for some sugary thrills. It’s been over 2 months of abstinence from carbs and sugar; some might even say a life not worth living for a restaurant critic. I’m here throwing caution to the wind, and ordering anything that’s pitched to me. Poor lad looks a bit bemused with a stare to say “are you seriously considering atta ka ladoo”. Yes I certainly am! Bring on the double whammy of carbs (atta) and sugar!

I proceed to pick out a balushahi, the signature mootichoor ladoo and the mango malai burfi. Bearing in mind I’m already 2 pizzas and some arancini down, you might be tempted to say “eyes bigger than your stomach”, but oh no, like my fellow countrymen who have expertly understood beer binging, I’m on a sugar binge and nothing can stop me! It’s all got too much though, I’m sweating like a stray dog in a Korean neighbourhood, at the thought of this much sugar.

The Motichoor Ladoo, is a good way to start and thankfully not overly sweet. It had been billed as the best Motichoor Ladoo in Bombay. I’m not sure it lives up to it’s full promise, but it is still very nice. The tiny pearls of gram flour are soft, silky and the whole thing melts in the mouth.

The mango burfi is fresh, very sweet and not too dense. It must be said I’m not sure about the obsession with mango in mithai. Mango being naturally sweet seems somewhat de trop when used in Indian sweets.

The balushahi is the weakest of the lot: bland and certainly not as fresh as it could have been. I think that’s the problem with balushahi, unless you get a real fresh batch, any amount of exposure to air is detrimental to the taste and texture.

I’m now sat writing this in a taxi on my way home. My head is whirling from all the sugar. A tinge of nostalgia hits me, from those pre-pubescent days of eating bowls of whippy ice cream down at Pizza Hut and adding as many toppings as the bowl would take and then sloshing on countless varieties of that saucy, syrupy goodness.

Well…. all I can say is it seemed like a good idea the time…

p.s Heerson’s (Ville Parle) any day 😉

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