Mumbai in the Mountains; Innovative Indian Cuisine in Canmore
"...comforting street food with an air of sophistication."
A recent addition to the booming Canmore food scene, Mumbai Local has a creative and modern approach to traditional Indian cuisine. The menu features unique twists on classic Indian dishes and incorporates upscale ingredients. I've always loved Indian food, but I often find myself unsure of which new dishes to try ordering. I tend to fall back on old favourites like Butter Chicken. Although Mumbai Local does have Butter Chicken on the menu I didn't even order it, as I was so drawn to the variety of other intriguing dishes! Chef and co-owner Prasad Patil showcases the food he grew up eating in India, but with a distinct fine dining approach. He trained as an Italian chef and has worked in everything from high-end restaurants to food trucks. This diversity of experience shines through with the chef’s ability to create comforting street food with an air of sophistication.
"...you are instantly greeted with the most incredible aroma of toasted spices.... [which] instantly makes you hungry and eager to find out what smells so good."
The Space When you walk into the restaurant, you are instantly greeted with the most incredible aroma of toasted spices. This smell instantly makes you hungry and eager to find out what smells so good. The space itself is modernly interpreted with Indian flare. Turquoise banquets span the room of just over 40 seats. A bright red ceiling (lit with eclectic lamps) contrasts with the space. There is a feature wall made of real woks that divides the kitchen pass from the dining room. Creative and quirky, Mumbai Local is very welcoming and perfectly situated on the far end of Canmore’s Main Street.
"...although the menu is large and the dishes complex, every single dish we tasted was beautifully executed."
The Food In some restaurants the simple dishes like rice and naan might be an after-thought, but here they are perfected. The naan was some of the best I’ve had, fluffy with a nice char. There were a variety of rice dishes. I particularly liked the veg pulao because it was packed with a ton of veggies like zucchini, mushrooms, and caramelized cauliflower. We’ve been back three times now and have ordered different dishes every time we have gone. Not one dish has let us down. Some of the menu items are based on classic dishes but have high-end ingredients that elevate them, like the duck vindaloo and the beef short-rib curries. What impressed me most was that although the menu is large and the dishes complex, every single dish we tasted was beautifully executed. This is a testament to the small kitchen team. Some of the dishes we have tried (so far):
Coconut Calamari: A mountain of perfectly crispy calamari with a subtle coconut flavour.
Pav Bhaji: A mashed veggie medley (very flavourful) and served with pav (buns).
Gol Gappas: Irresistible crunchy one-bite pockets filled with potatoes, yogurt, and sprouts. There is a tiny hole poked into the top of each shell. This allows you to fill up your own with your chosen chutneys before popping them into your mouth in one bite.
Royal Kachori: A bigger version of the above Gol Gappas.
Shabudana Popcorn: I honestly had no idea what to expect of this dish with “fried tapioca pearls” and peanuts. What arrived were savoury bite-sized morsels with a crisp exterior and deliciously tangy dip. Although I wasn’t entirely sure what I was ordering initially, I know I will be getting these again.
Duck Vindaloo: This is a milder version of the vindaloos I have had before (most of which left me sweating and contemplating my life choices). This dish includes a whole slow-braised duck leg and tender potatoes, smothered in a rich red sauce with a pleasant heat.
Beef Short-Rib Curry: The rich flavours of coconut really stood out in this curry, and the short-ribs were incredibly “melt-in-your-mouth” tender.
Kid Lamb Kheema: Ground lamb in a deeply flavoured garam masala sauce with green peas.
Malvani Fish Curry: This dish really stood out with its deep complexity. The layers the curry had were so intriguing, with ingredients like raw mango and kokum (sour fruit). After the fish was long gone, I continued to dip my naan into this flavourful sauce.
Kandhari Murg Tikka: Skewered and charred in the tandoor oven, the chicken was incredibly juicy and flavoured with tangy pomegranate juice.
Tadoor Gobi: Picture an entire head of cauliflower, lightly charred and crispy, with a spicy, tangy green herb sauce. This was one of the showstopper dishes that you know you will likely order with every repeat visit.
Patrani Macchi: Delicate white fish with coconut, wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf.
Lasooni Saag Paneer: This was bright green, savoury, and comforting. The creamy spinach curry was a nice addition to the meal, studded with paneer (a mild Indian cheese, similar to set ricotta).
Veg Pulao: Lightly fragrant rice with a myriad of vegetables mixed in (like zucchini, mushrooms, and even caramelized cauliflower). I thought this was a beautiful rice side dish because it was delicate, yet still so delicious on its own.
Garlic Naan: A classic, but this place just seems to have the naan perfected. Everyone at the table was saying it was the best naan they’d eaten.
And while I feel like I may just have started to know the menu fairly well, the chef told me that they completely revamp their menu every 3 to 4 months. This keeps the creativity flowing and showcases seasonality, but they do appreciate that some of the fan favourites will need to stick around. I can’t wait to see what they cook up next…
The Drinks Another element of the menu that riffs off Indian flavours are the cocktails. There are several signature cocktails here that play with funky ingredients like the tamarind infused whiskey sour or the "Mumbai Mule" that playfully incorporates ginger and turmeric into a classic "Moscow Mule". Inventive and refreshing, these cocktails are an excellent accompaniment to the food. Also, I really appreciate a restaurant that has some creative "mock-tails" on the menu too! It is also nice to have something fun, even if you are the Designated Driver that evening.
"...yet another example of how the Canmore food scene is absolutely booming and thriving."
I can’t say enough about how this place just keeps impressing me. It is a welcome addition to the Canmore dining scene, with an inspiring interjection of worldly cuisine and creativity. I look forward to visiting again, to try new and familiar dishes again, as well as to see what the chef has in store for the seasonal menu change. I really encourage you to try this spot, whether you are a local in Canmore or just feel like a drive up on your day off. You will not be disappointed! This is yet another example of how the Canmore food scene is absolutely booming and thriving. With new restaurants like Mumbai Local, I can see why this small mountain town’s food culture is really flourishing.