Though burdened by a heavyweight title (which, as you will see, positively sings with relevance) this is really about a tiny but very promising burger joint. I must say though, that I walked in not knowing anything about the place except that it had a cool blue sign, Andy Warhol posters on the walls and a very cosy ambience about its twelve seats. It looked like those tiny neighbourhood hippy-owned cafes that so dotted the cool streets of New York, and seemed the perfect place for cozying up to Sunanda over coffee.
The unusual blue sign hid, of all things, a burger joint called Gostana. In minutes, I was confronted by whole wheat lamb burger (which the menu cheekily informed me was their take on the keema pao). As it turns out, it was quite good - and indeed closer to the keema pao than the gourmet classics the Americans are so fond of. Of course, this is grown up keema pao – a nice, soft, crumbly wholewheat pao considerably wider than your local pao-wallah encashing a nicely formed and nicely sauced keema cutlet. A hot dog followed, boiled sausage and pickle in tomato and mustard – closer to the New York original than most people will like (including the very high bread to meat ratio). Of course, the bread is considerably better and the mustard much nicer than the streets of the big apple, so all in all a very satisfactory experience. Great coffee too.
It turned out to be less of a “find” than I thought. The place has been reviewed extensively in the papers, on blog sites and even has a blog of its own conveniently listing all of it – Burgers, Blogs, Bandra. I filched the photos from there.
I’m always a little worried when food joints go heavy on healthy advertising, but this place really takes it seriously. The family that owns it apparently brought Subway to India; thats probably where these corrupting influences came from. Putting it to work with burgers really takes work, but it seems to work here – mostly because their burgers are not traditional burgers at all. Yes, there’s round bread and meat in the middle, but think of them as tasty sandwiches in a very cozy cafe than something out of a steakhouse.
The name has a story of its own. Apparently, Gostana has nothing to do with either meat or a movie. The stepson of Ashoka (who was vegetarian and would have thoroughly disapproved of the menu) set up kingdom in an oasis in the desert on the edge China, and named the capital after himself. Now called Khotan, it goes down in history as the first place outside China to grow silk; apparently one of the kings married a Chinese princess who smuggled the silkworms out of the country in her hair, thus making it the only place in the ancient world for a good bed sheet if you didn’t like soy sauce. No relation to burgers of any kind but it does make for a pretty tale.
Final analysis; very tasty food, very cute place.