A bright neon sign at the entrance of Dirty Buns reads ‘Let’s Get Dirty’. Take that as a warning. Chef Boo Kim’s latest eatery is a choice place for eating sticky, slurpy, messy food in a fun environment. Eclectically designed with disco balls, exposed brick walls, mood lighting, and an entire wall dedicated to old TV sets screening Hindi and English classics, Dirty Buns is as quirky as it can get. Seating is spread across high chairs, marble top community tables, and sofas. Located at Kamala Mills, this place brings together suits and jeans to bond over beer and buns.
As the name suggests, Dirty Buns is high on carbs – baos, buns, breads… But start with the cobb salad dressed up with red wine parmesan. The charred corn with avocado will leave you grunting lustfully and shaking your head at Boo’s witchcraft. It makes for a great bite with the jalapeno and tamarind spiked Dirty Margarita. My dining companion and I warred with forks over every last morsel, little better than savages. There are more such good times on the menu.
The crispy prawn with a generous helping of lime and sesame is almost indecently good. A slight squeeze from the torched lemon will have the prawns singing. Fries, hot and generously sprinkled in chilli cheese sauce and parsley make a cameo too. Though you will be tempted to go in for seconds on the starters, save room for the obvious star of the show: Buns, buns, and more buns. They come stacked up high with all sorts of proteins, pickled veggies, cheeses, and sauces. Be warned, the food is gloriously messy and delicious.
I am partial to the lobster roll, which is a medley of lobster with garlic and butter stuffed in a bun with crispy onions on the side. It’s perfectly seasoned and beautifully constructed. The breads made by Magazine Street Kitchen are eggless. And if you are off carbs, the buns could be replaced with lettuce cups. If this review so far sounds like a carnivore’s delight, wait…vegetarians can join in on the fun with the mac n cheese roll, stuffed with macaroni, cheddar, and parmesan. There’s another one wreathed in BBQ jackfruit and apple slaw.
Boo Kim’s baos are pillowy and drip with juicy deliciousness. This is a messy affair, and unashamedly so. I highly recommend the pork belly bao fired with hoisin sauce. Another bao I would urge you to try is the bulgogi bao with kimchi. This spicy, salty treat is hugely gratifying. Vegetarians will love the zesty flavours of corn fritters bao. Portion sizes are of the ‘visible-from-space’ variety. That means abundant leftovers are almost inevitable.
Drinks are intriguing and whimsical. Even if you don’t really drink much, do try the Yuzu that brings together vodka, coriander, yuzu puree and white wine. It’s both inventive and interesting. The Dirty Mary comes spiked with mustard, honey and tamarind. Dirty Margarita is another interesting drink with tequila, jalapeño and limejuice. The Dirty Boo dessert of waffle, churros, and a doughnut soaked in whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and chocolate is cloyingly sweet. I prefer the donuts with chocolate mousse and dark chocolate chips.
Where: 9A, Trade View Building, Kamala Mills Compound, Gate No. 4, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Contact: +91 84339 88818
Recommended dishes: Cobb salad, crispy prawn lobster roll, corn fritters bao and donuts with chocolate mousse and dark chocolate chips.
Timings: 5:00 pm to 1:00 am, Mondays closed
Price: Rs 2,500 for two, taxes extra
All images: Courtesy Dirty Buns