So also has been the case with the mince. Kheema as a dish has been largely set aside as a staple in comparison to its more dynamic or romantic cousins namely the Kebabs and the Kofta's and the Biryani's. From times immemorial the various kingdoms of the Indian sub continent have had at their behest Maharaj's , Bawarchi's and Khansama's of phenomenal skills. Sampling the culinary delights of these kitchens would be an honour unparalleled that led to certain dishes being accorded a local speciality status. Thus we have the Hyderabadi Biryani, Kashmiri Koftas and the Kakori kebabs. In no small measure did the kebabs and koftas use mince , in fact it was an integral part of it. However on its own no province or community owned and made the kheema , develop its own standing in the culinary food chain , as the Irani and the Muslim restaurants of Mumbai or Bombay as it was known then.
Today we do not have many Irani restaurants present , fast track realty price upgradations and cost of living in the major cities have often had owners relinquish their superbly located corner commercial properties to high priced buyers. In the rush of economic progress a tradition is swamped and becoming extinct.
The best places for Kheema pau in Mumbai are
Hotel Naaz - Kurla (W) on LBS marg. Opposite the Mukand foundry campus nestles this quaint place which was earlier a taxi and transporters paradise. Now it has grown to have its own family and air conditioned sections and is worth a visit. Today it is a landmark by itself.
Gulshan -E - Iran : Opposite Crawford Market . Getting a seat here on even an odd week day is difficult . The air conditioned section used to be upstairs and was under renovation off late. But the kheema sampled with either pau or tandoori roti is superb. While here you can also try the other delights. Gulshan -E -Iran is exceptional with their chicken items.
Hotel Sassaniyan : This is another place near Marine Lines which is an authentic Irani restaurant , one of the surviving breed . Here apart from Kheema Pau the traditional parsi cuisine can be sampled . If u reach at times which are not meal times not to worry..even a simple chai-khari is heaven. The ambience is old world.
Hotel Kayani : This is another Bakery Restaurant Stores the other stalwart of the surviving Irani restaurants. Opposite Metro Cinema . Here after the kheema Pau , the meal should be rounded of with a Bun -Muskaa and Paani kum Chai.
Noor Mohammadi Hotel ; Bhendi bazaar, on Mohammed Ali Road close to JJ Hospital is this unique place. Kheema Pau is not the dish this eatery is famous for, however the one available is nothing short of excellent. The mince is beef. Here the options for meals are huge. The Nalli-Nihari for which this restaurant is famous across India is available in the evenings , Try the Shammi kebabs here, you shall be a convert to mince in no time , like I have been. This place operates on a very modest price tag so u would end up sharing your table with a hand cart puller, but all here for a common higher purpose..justice to food cooked and served with devotion.
Cafe Bostan : On the way to Goregaon serves some good kheema pau. But this one still has leagues to go before it achieves that cult status. But its mutton masala is truly nice.
Cafe Sahar : On the way to the International Airport beyond the Godfrey Phillips cigarette factory is another gem of a place. Kheema roti is what you order. Though the waiters would discourage you from having it,and instead would throw at u " try the arabi gosht, the lucknavi " all slightly high end and good . They would even go to the extreme of saying not available today. Kheema traditionally is staple simple low margin food and any waiter trying for an up-selling effort may be excused .
Jafferbhai's Delhi Durbar : Grant Road, the pride of this area. This place is known across for its ultimate Mutton Biryani. The Kheema here is quite phenomenal too. The place reminds you of VT railway station so much is the streaming crowd in and out of this restaurant. The aroma of this place would set your tatse buds flowing. Strictly for the meat lovers. The other restaurant by the same name at Colaba causeway is better suited for the corporate crowd, but the genuine foodie wont mind the walk down Grant Road enjoying the colourful apsects of Mumbai while he seeks his satisfaction.
This list is by no means exhaustive or complete. Please feel free to add your personal favorites and suggest places. It will only mean that there still are more places to visit and more culinary mountains to be scaled.