Serpis is shut for good.
Most people, even many long term Bandra residents, will have no idea what that meant. Even google in all its wisdom knows where it is but has nothing to say about what it is. A bare handful of links mention it at all, and no reviews or gushing blogs serve up its secrets. This alone, in todays hyperinformation world, would have guaranteed Serpis the status of a “find” but alas – no more. One fine day, discreet as ever, Serpis put a small notice on its door saying it was closed till further notice. It sounded more like a monsoon break than a retirement, but confirmation has come through the grapevine; there will be no further notice.
Serpis was a cold storage. That does not mean so much in Bandra, but Serpis was a special kind of cold storage. He was, you see, a master of the daily meat. On different days of the week he produced different meats – Wednesdays for roast beef, Saturdays for barbecue chicken on his large outdoor grill, other days for other things like tongue – I didn’t even get to know his schedules well enough in the short time we had together. The roast beef was how I first got to know about this tiny corner of a tuckedaway place; for a while Sunanda suspected my visits to her house were less about her than the Wednesday roast beef tucked away in her fridge, sliced beautifully fine by her mother and ready to be picked off, or piled high on bread. Once I moved to Bandra, shouting distance from the store itself, I thought I was set with roast tongue and barbecue for life. Alas, it was not to be.
The shop was always discreet, even the sign hard to see from the main roads, an unlikely gem tucked into the nape of Chimbhai Road just before it straightened out and went its purposeful way. You had to know where it was, or you would be one of the thousand cars that go by the busy St. Andrews junction each day, unaware of any such institution. A small yoga studio and cafe has opened up next door, beautiful green walls and spiritually satisfied foreigners included; apparently the rent from that more than makes up for the closure of the store, and old man Serpis was not getting any younger.
I wonder who he’ll pass his meat secrets to…