His name is Kalyan but to many he is known as finelychopped.net or @finelychopped. He is Mumbai’s most inimitable food blogger. He traipses around the city, fork in hand (actually most Indians eat with their hands) searching for delicious treats to eat and tell the World about.
I first discovered Kalyan when I was starting to plan my food tour around India and saw that he’d already beat me to so many places I wanted to go and investigate. I didn’t let that put me off him and decided to ask him if we could meet in his favourite restaurant in Mumbai.
Now it’s all very well surreptitiously clicking on someone else’s blog from the comfort of your bedroom to see what they’ve been eating recently, but truth be told I was nervous about meeting Kalyan. What if he ended up in a conversational vortex about lentils? Or ended up talking about 100 ways with a coconut? I predicted a lot of geeky food chat amid sideways glances to ensure no one else was listening in.
In fact it was a perfectly sane evening with a man who ‘eats out’ in the most admirable way.
He took us to Ling’s Pavilion, a Chinese restaurant in Colaba. Kalyan knew Baba Ling the owner, he knew what was on the menu (without looking), which ingredients were in the kitchen (after he asked Baba Ling) and what the restaurant excelled at and on that basis, he ordered our dinner.
Therefore twenty minutes later we were subjected to the freshest, tastiest feast of Chinese food I’ve eaten. A barely-touched black pepper crab that was so fresh, I had to fight to get to its sweet bits. Some interesting bitter gourd in egg, fantastically tasty prawns tangled in noodles with some sweet greens on the side.
Everything was delicious and the evening brilliant. I shook Baba Ling by the hand and Kalyan and I planned to meet in London next, where I would take him to my favourite places.
*best, not fattest