Bombay duck is not duck at all.

But don’t worry… it’s still something you eat, and something you should make all efforts to eat when you’re in Mumbai.

In this blog post I’m going to tell you about Gomantak, a restaurant that serves Malvani seafood, and some seriously good Bombay duck in Mumbai.

what is bombay duck
What is Bombay duck?

First, what is Bombay Duck?

Also known as bombil, Bombay duck is a term used for a type of lizardfish that’s commonly eaten along the western coast of India, specifically the state of Maharashtra (state of India where Mumbai is located).

It’s not completely known how the name “Bombay duck” originated, and there are a number of different legends and theories.

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, one of the stories is that the British named the lizardfish after the Bombay Dak, which was a transport train that was known for smelling bad, similar to the drying of lizardfish. However, it still remains a bit of a mystery.

Gomantak Restaurant
Gomantak Restaurant (located in Dadar West, Mumbai)

Gomantak Restaurant (Dadar West)

So anyway, Bombay duck (bombil) being one of the most iconic foods to eat in Mumbai, it was one of the things I was most looking forward to eating when I was there.

When I asked where to eat in Mumbai, Gomantak was a restaurant that was recommended, and it looked like exactly the placed I needed to go to try Bombay duck.

Gomantak restaurant Mumbai
Inside the non-AC section

One more quick note: There are a number of different Gomantak restaurants throughout Mumbai, and not sure if they have any relation. I chose Gomantak Boarding House, the restaurant located in Dadar West.

My wife Ying and I arrived to the restaurant in the mid afternoon, and it was full. Good sign.

So we waited for about 15 minutes until there were two empty seats. They have both an AC and non-AC section. The non-AC section had a bit more character and local feel to it, so that’s the area we sat it.

Malvani food
The menu at Gomantak – Malvani cuisine

The menu was luckily written in English and they had a long list of different, mostly Malvani seafood dishes to choose from.

For my wife Ying and I we decided to each get a thali (which is a full plate meal including rice and chutney and main dish), and then a couple extra dishes to share. There was also a pink liquid included with the thali (more about this below).

Surmai masala
Surmai masala thali – Kingfish masala

Surmai masala thali

Ying ordered the surmai masala thali, which I wasn’t fully sure what it was until it arrived. But it happen to be king fish in a curry, with rice, chapati, and a number of set dishes.

What I immediately noticed about the curries and dishes at Gomantak, and I think characteristic of Malvani cuisine, is that the dishes weren’t very oily or buttery, but they tasted more watery based, perhaps with coconut milk (I’m not totally sure), but if so, not a rich coconut milk.

best restaurants in Mumbai
Surmai masala

The flavor of the masala was mild, yet well rounded, with not too much cumin, but I think plenty of turmeric, and perhaps some ginger and lots of onions cooked down.

It tasted light and refreshing, the type of curry sauce you could just about drink and it wouldn’t feel oily.

bombil fry
Bombay duck fry, also known as bombil fry

Bombil fry thali (Bombay duck)

I of course had to go for the bombil fry thali – the Bombay duck.

The Bombay duck was a little curly, and I’m not sure what it was coated in, but I think it was a dry rub flour (I think semolina flour similar to this recipe), and then deep fried.

The lizardfish was crispy on the outside, and wonderfully buttery and silky soft on the inside. It had a mild taste, not really fishy, but an amazing flavor and texture.

eating lizardfish
Curly fried pieces of lizardfish

What really bumped up the flavor was eating the fried Bombay duck along with rice and some of the curry sauce provided on the side.

It was delicious, and again, the flavor of the curries were not overly pungent, and not oily, just good flavors.

pomfret masala
Pomfret masala

Pomfret masala

Since Ying and I were both quite hungry the day we ate at Gomantak Restaurant, we decided to order a couple extra side dishes.

Malvani seafood in Mumbai
With rice, it was heavenly

I’ve always been a big fan of pomfret, so I got the pomfret masala.

It was in the same masala curry as the surmai masala. Again, it was well rounded in flavor, with a turmeric flavor, and I think lots of onions in the sauce.

The pomfret itself was small, but the meat on it was good. Pomfret is always a wonderful fish to eat.

Chicken sukka
The chicken sukka was also excellent

Chicken sukka (or sukha)

Finally we got a side order of chicken sukka, which is another western Indian dish.

This dish was a little more buttery than the others, but it still wasn’t the heavy kind of north Indian style curry (both styles good).

What I immediately noticed about the chicken sukka was the cinnamon or sweet spice taste to it at first, followed by the more pungent spices like cumin and coriander. But that cinnamon was really nice as the first taste.

Solkadhi
Solkadhi

Solkadhi (pink dish)

At Gomantak Restaurant in Mumbai, all the different types of thali’s were all served with a dish of pink liquid.

I had no idea what it was or how to eat it. But as I watched other people eating there, most people saved it until the end and then drank it to finish off their meal.

It tasted like natural yoghurt, but complete watery, with just a hint of spice to it. It felt kind of like a probiotic digestive beverage, but while I was drinking it I had absolutely no idea what it was.

After finishing it and doing some research online later, I found out it was something called solkadhi, a type of curry drink commonly served in Malvani and Goan food.

Solkadhi is made with coconut milk and kokum fruit, and to me it really tasted like the water that settles on the top of natural yoghurt.

It was a fantastic way to end a delicious Bombay duck meal in Mumbai.

prices at Gomantak Boarding House
Our total bill

Price for the meal

The total price for our entire meal for my wife and I came to 710 INR ($10.60). And we had two full thali’s, plus two extra curries.

best restaurants in Mumbai
Paan vendor right outside the restaurant

Conclusion

Bombay duck, which is not actually duck at all, but lizardfish, is one of the iconic things to eat when you’re in Mumbai.

Gomantak Restaurant, located in the Dadar West neighborhood of Mumbai, is a fantastic restaurant that specializes in Malvani cuisine (food from the Konkan region of Maharashtra where Mumbai is located), and they serve some delicious Bombay duck.

When you’re in Mumbai, you’ve got to try Parsi food and many other delicious foods, but don’t leave the city without eating some Bombay duck.

Gomantak Boarding House Restaurant

Address: 301 Miranda Chawl, Kelkar Road, Dadar West, Mumbai
Open hours: 11 am – 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm – 11:30 pm daily
How to get there: I took a taxi to go straight there. I think that’s probably the easiest and most convenient option. I was staying at a hotel in Colaba, and the taxi ride cost approximately 250 INR (). If you take a taxi make sure you take down the address and have it pinned on a map so you can follow along the route and tell the taxi driver how to get there.



24 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Ashwin Sinha

    4 days ago

    This food is so yummy. That Bombil fry thali looks so delicious !

  • Prakash

    2 weeks ago

    My God!! The food looks so delicious! And I think it is reasonable too.

  • Sunil @ Car Rental in Agra

    7 months ago

    Nice blog posts – it is very interesting food stuffs and perfect Bombay duck gomantak restaurants in Mumbai. This is all cover area for the buildings and beautiful apartments.

  • Art Travel Eat Repeat

    8 months ago

    Interesting, and looks delicious!

  • Dilshad Merchant

    8 months ago

    Hey Mark , First I must say that your videos and blog are just the best. The minute details that you give regarding the food and the places you travel are very helpful to first time travellers to that place. And again as I have commented on your video you seem to eat for the soul not stomach. Everyone at home join me whenever I watch your videos. Lots of love to you and Ying.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 months ago

      Hey Dilshad, thank you so much. Greetings to your family as well!

  • pratheesh t s

    8 months ago

    kindly check for kerala dishes must try http://tastyspots.com/kerala/dish/list/

  • James K

    8 months ago

    Nice post Mark! I’d never heard of Bombay duck before and that’s interesting to know how it got the name (given that it’s not duck at all!). Great to see more posts about India. I remember the Calcutta videos you uploaded… It looks like a fascinating country.

  • Darryl

    8 months ago

    Mark, i have been following your food journey for a really long time. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching all your videos and look forward to watching the upcoming round-the-world series! Keep up the good work!

  • Ritesh

    8 months ago

    Hi Mark pls come gore gaon satkaar rice plate. Awesome malani food

  • Curso Cabeleireiro

    8 months ago

    wow mark, thanks for the information, you explained very well, I have been following your blog and I’m loving every post

  • Ratheesh R Nath

    8 months ago

    Great information about Malvani Food.

  • All Travel Journeys

    8 months ago

    Thanks for the post Mark. That food looks fantastic, and the price a great value. I haven’t been to India yet, but it’s certainly on the list. We need to wait until the kiddos get older. I am not a huge fan of currie, but my life loves Indian food, and I learned about “Bombay Duck”.
    -Bryan

    • Mark Wiens

      8 months ago

      Hey Bryan, great to hear from you, thank you very much. Hope you and your family can visit India in the future.

  • Bama

    8 months ago

    When you said the curries were not overly pungent, that’s when I got really interested in trying those dishes. When I traveled a month in India, I liked to have thali for a few days. But after a while I needed something refreshing. However in Goa and Kerala I never got bored of the local dishes. Probably because in Kerala they also used coconut milk, and the spices were somewhat similar with what we use in Indonesia. Nevertheless, when I do come to Mumbai one day I’ll make sure to pay a visit to Gomantak.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 months ago

      Hey Bama, great to hear from you, this is a really good place in Mumbai – definitely the spices were a little milder, but really well balanced and fresh. Thanks for reading, hope you’re doing well.

  • Frank

    8 months ago

    I have not been to India, but posts like this make me want to go as soon as possible. I’ll settle for getting some great meals in Malaysia this winter though!

  • David.

    8 months ago

    You’re very luck to travel around the world for a living! I love your YouTube videos!

  • Jayesh

    8 months ago

    Perfectly explained each dish including solkadi… And yes malvani food contains more use of coconut hence u will get test of some milky flavour in it.
    I will recommend ppl from out side maharashtra.. if u ever visit mumbai and want to test authentic malvani food do visit gomantak.

    • Mark Wiens

      8 months ago

      Hi Jayesh, great to hear from you, thank you for reading and for the extra insights. The food at Gomantak was fantastic.