Paisa vasool is a term that means moneys worth in India. Anything that delivers value for money would be described as "totally paisa vasool'. Tangentially this term can also have emotional overtones, for example a father who saves to buy his child a toy will feel he's got his moneys worth when his child smiles at him. There is nothing emotional about my appreciation of Bamboo shoot at Khar however, just the hearty "paisa vasool" that comes to mind whenever I think off it.
In China it is said that the best restaurants are the ones that look the worst but forgive me if I prefer a little ambiance with my dinner out. Something that Bamboo shoot delivers. It is little more than a hole in the wall, but pleasing bamboo decor and mood lighting go a long way in elevating it from restaurants of it's ilk like the more serviceable Stomach and Jim-Me's Kitchen nearby.
Service can be a moody as the lighting and beverage options are small but i will cut to the chase and get to the food which is what I go there for. The menu is a clutter, but we have eaten there enough know the winners.
The Hot and Sour soup here passes my personal taste test, striking the balance of hot i.e. spicy enough to make your eyes and nose run, sour enough to make you drool at the thought of it, salty i.e is savoury enough to carry the other flavours best. In fact it's good enough for me binge on two bowls. I never have any other soup if Hot and sour is on offer but I have it on good authority that the Sweet corn Tom Yum soups are good as well. (Although a restaurant that messes up Sweet corn should shut down!)
Starters, mains and Stuffed!
We usually order a whole lot of starters and might not bother with mains or dessert, mostly because we're stuffed. Here are our favorites on that front.
Crackling Spinach Chicken, is (and I kid you not) fried spinach and was once a speciality of Mainland China chain of restaurants. Like most Indian Chinese offerings this dish is a fast track to a coronary but share amongst 4 and you spread out the damage. But I digress, the spinach is shredded, deep fried, tossed with toasted sesame, fried chilli and sugar and at Bamboo the airy fried leaves are substantiated by boneless chunks of chicken, friend and tossed in a spicy sauce. Bamboo Shoot is heaven for a lover of dumplings.
The other Thai offering we love is the Mango leaf wrapped chicken. I suspect this is a spin off on Thai Pandanus leaf wrapped chicken using more accessible mango leaves. That said, unlike the pandanus leaves used in the ancestor of this dish, here, any aroma the mango leaves could contribute to the chicken is fried out long before you get your hands on them. But it's the hands on part we love, the chicken morsels, smothered in a spicy sweet sauce require unwrapping and offer a sticky, succulent bite once you get to them. It's hard to be polite and let your companions have that last piece of this one.
By this time we are usually loosening waist fastenings so we haven't sampled too much of the main course section of the menu. But if you do get to that part, tread cautiously. I do remember sampling the Red Thai curry on one occasion and it was disappointing; too thick (due to cornflour I suspect) and not spicy enough.
Just check all previously held notions about food at the door and dining at Bamboo Shoot will be total Paisa Vasool, especially when the bill is presented!
The Bamboo Shoot 8 & 9 Mangal Bhavan, Junction of 14th Road and Khar Pali Road, near Khar Gymkhana, Khar (W) (5607-3188, 2600-5476). Daily noon-11.30pm. No alcohol. All major credit cards. Dinner for two approximately Rs 275.