A makeover is just the tip of all things fresh at this heritage restaurant

Now renamed as a tribute to their father and founder, Fresh Catch by Francis Fernandes’ Bandra outpost works to retain all the flavours in a swankier avatar.
It's not an uber cool fine dine, neither is it a traditional fancy space. But fresh catch by francis fernandes at bandra has a spirit of its own.
It’s not an uber cool fine dine, neither is it a traditional fancy space. But Fresh Catch by Francis Fernandes at Bandra has a spirit of its own.

Founded by Francis Fernandes in 1998, Fresh Catch has long been one of the culinary highlights at Mahim. Started out of a modest bungalow converted into an eatery, the place soon expanded to include a top floor for private dining.

While the flavours and history of the restaurant will always loom large, Fernandes’ children Ankita and Adith seem more than up to the task of shouldering the legacy. The new outpost at Bandra, renamed Fresh Catch by Francis Fernandes, is everything you could expect from the flagship outlet, madeover to cater to modern tastes. 

Upon entry, you’re greeted by the Fresh Catch mascot, a pelican with a fish in its mouth. Framed newspaper clippings and photos of Francis Fernandes with celebrities at the Mahim restaurant adorn one wall, while the other has tall French windows with green views outside.

The pale pink interiors, french windows, and beautiful lights all make for a pleasant vibe at fresh catch.
The pale pink interiors, French windows, and beautiful lights all make for a pleasant vibe at Fresh Catch.

Trading off the leather bound menus for QR codes, the restaurant is saturated with hues of pale pink, replete with plush sofa booths and hanging cane lights. As waiters waltz through the space in bright Hawaiian shirts, the restaurant isn’t a classic family space nor a fine-dine, but neatly sits in a modern upscale vibe in the middle.

A few upgrades aside, you can be rest assured that the food on offer, namely the bombil, prawns, bangda, kane, pomfret, chicken and clams or tisrya, to name a few remain the same. With Adith having worked as a cashier at the restaurant since he was 14, and Ankita’s experience as a chef with the likes of Oberoi herself, the sibling duo brings their best to the table at every turn. 

The menu features cuisine from the North Kanara coastline, a mix of Goan and Mangalorean dishes. Given the Fernandes’ origins from Honnavar in Karnataka, there’s a special emphasis on Karwar cuisine. 

The bombil rava fry is immediately reminiscient of home in terms of flavours, in spite of being flatter than one might usually expect from the fish.
The Bombil Rava Fry is immediately reminiscient of home in terms of flavours, in spite of being flatter than one might usually expect from the fish.

Distinct from Goan fare, the speciality of Karwari cuisine is that it holds on to its traditional roots with minimal influence. While the sour and ambot tik factor might be the same, the agents used vary, and therein lies all the difference. Fresh Catch ensures the same diligently, sourcing all ingredients from Karwar, Kumta, Ankola, Bhatkal and other parts of the Konkan coast.

As for the food itself, it’s all things familiar and comfort food on a plate. To start off, there’s nothing like a plate of perfectly crispy Bombil Rawa Fry. While the bombil is a little flatter and less fleshy than I’m used to, it’s still perfectly delicious and washes down well with a glass of their fragrant, rich Sol Kadi. A trip to Fresh Catch would be incomplete without sampling the heavenly Prawns Butter Garlic, which is plated in the shape of a fish. Fair warning, the prawns might be a little bigger than one expected, but when was that ever something to complain about?

The garlic pav and prawns butter garlic are a killer combination, although the pav pairs well with really, anything else.
The Garlic Pav and Prawns Butter Garlic are a killer combination, although the pav pairs well with really, anything else.

The Garlic Pav comes highly recommended by owners and staff alike, and once it arrives, we can immediately see why. The buns are literally dripping with butter and generous amounts of garlic, but are surprisingly not soggy. They pair so well with the traditional style Chicken Rossa Curry, which in itself is packed with flavours. 

Vegetarians, fear not, for Fresh Catch has you covered too. The Wallachi Amti Bhaji is easily the star of the show, and makes for a great side to the entire seafood heavy meal. If I had one gripe, it would have to be the overall lacklustre spice content across the meal. As dishes come and go, you find yourself waiting for a hit of spice to satiate your true traditional Karwari cravings. However, it’s almost as if there’s a glass wall between you and the heat you expect from each bite. You can just about see it, but you can’t really reach out and feel it.

The refreshing sol kadi, delicious wallachi amti, and super soft neer dosas all espouse the ever strong flavours of fresh catch.
The refreshing Sol Kadi, delicious Wallachi Amti, and super soft Neer Dosas all espouse the ever strong flavours of Fresh Catch.

To end the heavy meal, the range of desserts is kept deliberately light. From caramel custard, bebinca with vanilla ice cream, and bread pudding, the traditional, homey vibes continue. While they weren’t serving at the time of our visit, we’re told that wine and beer is soon to make its rightful way to the menu. And given the nature of Fresh Catch’s menu, we can’t wait to revisit and have it all together again. 

Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars)

Food: 7

Drinks (where applicable): 7

Service: 7

Interiors/Décor: 9 

Vibe: 8

One dish we loved: Bombil Fry

One dish that didn’t work for us: Chicken Rossa Curry

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