Hmm, while you could be pardoned for thinking about a special coastal train with piped music, its actually a restaurant and judging from the piped music, I don’t think a love for music had anything to do with that being the name. I’m guessing numerology.Don’t even think Ekkspress, evil soul!! :p
So, this place is a bit away from our regular haunts but since we had to go to that part of town for some other purpose, we thought we might as well drop in at Shivananda Circle, especially since my previous experience there was wonderfully fishy . Here’s the map, and if that is confusing, lets make it simple. MG Road- Raj Bhavan Road-Race Course Road (Taj West End), take a right when you see Petals on your right, as soon as you turn, you’ll see the Solitaire Hotel on your left. Keep going straight and you’ll hit Shivananda Circle (its the next traffic signal) and see Coastaal Express on your left, but the other side of the road. So, don’t take a left turn at the junction, just go straight and turn left at the next bylane and another left, where you can park. Then just walk up the road, and you’ll have the place on the left. (Why do I get this feeling that these directions turned out more confusing, just like the erm, Left?) The first floor has the a/c section, and that’s where we went.
The ambience is quite good – they have this quaint display of old cooking utensils as soon as you enter, and the seating is quite comfortable. We reached there around 8.15 and quite surprisingly, found only one table occupied, though by the time we feft an hour later, most of the tables were full. The menu starts with coastal food, but I also found an extensive Chinese section, complete with about 8 veg and non veg soups each, and a huge selection of starters and main course dishes. Ditto for the North Indian section (without the soups though) While you might wonder about the intelligence of this, i have seen enough people eating chow mein and dal makhani at such places for its presence to be justified. No, not that combination, thank God.
In the sea food section, there are different versions of squid, prawn and crab, even chinese and tandoor versions. Choices of fish too – anjal, kane, pomfret, silverfish, bangda. Mussels are not available, you could try a marvai sukka though. And to go with that – kori roti, moode, appam, pundi (rice balls) or if you’re a larger group, a coastal basket which has all these. And there are quite a few veg dishes too. There are thali options for lunch – veg, fish and chicken at Rs. 55, 80, 85 respectively.
We started with an anjal (king fish) masala fry – a single piece, we thought would be enough, a half portion of chicken ghee roast, and to go along with that, a plate each of moode and appam (2). Serving time will be at least 30 mins, the menu says. Bingo, and when the food got to us – we asked for it to be brought together, we realised that we would need one more plate of appam and also ordered a kane rava fry. The anjal fry would’ve been great if not for the all pervasiveness of salt, ditto for the chicken, in which you have six pieces with a pasty ‘gravy’. It went well enough with the appam and moode. The kane rava fry was excellent though – crisp and crunchy. The appam was made very well, and so was the moode. Moode tastes similar to sannas, but is smaller and more cylindrical.
One word of caution here – the kane and anjal are priced according to size, so you might want to ask the price beforehand. We actually didn’t bother, and realised that one anjal piece cost us Rs.180, which was really not worth it. The kane rava fry (2 pieces) cost us Rs.160, over priced, we felt, but was at least worth it.
The dessert section had the usual suspects, from fruit sald and ice cream to gajar ka halwa and gulab jamun and caramel custard. For those who are wondering, they serve liquor too.
The total bill came to just over Rs.700. I’d say Something Fishy is a much better bet.
Coastaal Express, 6/4, Shivananda Complex, Sivananda Circle, Ph: 22355094/95
Menu at Zomato