Tuesday 21 August 2012

Joseph's : Mumbai Master Butcher

This post is for home-sick expats craving quality meat who think there is no western style butcher in Mumbai.  Or worse, for those expats who actually go all the way up to the Renaissance Hotel in Powai to buy their meat (does the head chef know about this?). Or even worse than that, for those British whom I have heard bring frozen steak on a flight all the way from the UK in their luggage and try to squeeze it past Indian Customs. 

Perhaps there are many quality butchers in Mumbai, I don't know - but what I can tell you is that Joseph's Cold Storage (which I believe to be the best) is about one minute's walk away from our apartment in Pali Naka and they do great steak.  Yay.

The first I heard of Joseph's was when I was stuck back in London for four months apart from Mr Jules, prior to me coming out to join him.  One day, I had a joyous text message announcing that he found a place to buy Yorkshire Pork Sausages. All was right with the world again.

Today, I went to buy steak for tonight's dinner.  It doesn't say fillet, sirloin or rump steak on the board - there is one choice available and it's called tenderloin or 'undercut'. I would say that it is closest to sirloin steak but it is has hardly any fat on it.  You buy it in whatever lumps of meat are available - usually anything over 1kg.  Today I had to buy a piece that was 1.5kgs.  And by UK standards it's so cheap....300 rupees per kilo - that's £3.50 or $5.6 per kilo!  Because there is only two of us I have them slice it up and placed in two bags so that I can freeze one of them. That means that tonight's portion of steak will cost about £1.75 for the two of us.

What's available / the pricelist

You can also buy lean mince, hallal chicken breasts and joints, Yorkshire pork shoulder or leg (we made a mean roast a couple of weekends ago), bacon, beef etc etc.  The full list is on the board above.  Everything is cheap by western standards and as I have found, cuts of meat are as good as anything you can get in Waitrose.  Not so great is the bacon - it is a little too salty but if you chop it up small and add it to dishes such as spaghetti and pesto, it is fine.  (Note: the bacon comes in packets and looks like ham, but it is not, you must still cook it). The sausages again are too salty and we would not recommend them for a British or American fry up (oh yes, Mr Jules was a bit disappointed in the end with his sausages).  However, they probably would be good chopped up into a pasta sauce with fennel seeds.  Also with the ground beef, the mincing is a bit too fine for say, a bolognaise sauce (it's more keema style for curries and koftas), so Mr Jules and I shipped a mincer from Amazon  to mince the undercut and it works just fine. You are all invited for lasagne! 

Free range eggs are also available (bring your own box or you have to carefully carry them home in a plastic bag like we did!) - 6 for 23 rupees (27p), home-style curry sauces and pickles.  In fact I am sure if you ask the very nice owner, Anil, you can probably get pretty much anything for your home cooking requirements.

As a side note, you can buy beef and pork because this business is run by Christian folk - Anil and Sandra D'Souza - and Bandra has a long Christian heritage being settled by the Portuguese in the 1700s. You will often find Anil at the counter serving throngs of expats - I have seen French, Japanese, American, many British - as well as Indians who come far and wide to buy his quality products.

Anil manning his meat empire

When you go to the shop on St John's road and go up to the counter you will see large numbers of staff milling about in the back.  There are four or five men at the counter taking orders and shouting them to the back (they wear the red t-shirts), there are about ten guys pulling stuff out of the fridges (blue t-shirts, yellow aprons) and then two counters with several more guys doing the chopping and weighing.  It's quite an operation - I can only guess that they are supplying the many local restaurants as well as the expat and non-vegetarian community.

The hordes of workers.  The shop is closely managed, very clean and the staff wear uniforms.

The guys who take the orders.  Anil let me take a photo behind the counter. This boy wanted to get in all the photos.

The big man himself.  Anil D'Souza "here to serve God and here to serve you"...or so he says

Selection of cooking sauces to go with your meat purchases.

The beef tenderloin / undercut.  Very lean and very tender (really really sorry to any vegetarian Hindus reading this post)

Last weekend's yummy Yorkshire roast pork with crackling and roast potatoes.  All achieved in our convection oven/microwave. After being in British Roast Dinner Wilderness, we were a bit hasty to get it on the plate and eat it, hence the lack of presentation!

Tonight we will be having steak with chips, fried onions, mushrooms and green beans.  Or perhaps I will slice it thinly and make a stroganoff with mushrooms and onions.  I will have to see what Mr Jules fancies when he comes in.....

Joseph Cold Storage
Gasper Enclave
Shop No 15, St John's Road
Bandra West
Mumbai 400 050

Tues to Sat 8am to 1.30 pm and 4pm to 8pm
Sun & Mon 8am to 1.30pm only.

PostScript: we had mashed potatoes and al-dente green beans with our steak.  Yum.


  1. hai anil bhai nice to see yu here...

  2. I've been a meat mule for four years now, I think it's time to give Joseph's another go!

  3. "really really sorry to any vegetarian Hindus reading this post"

    Hey, I'm a non-beef eating non-vegetarian Hindu and you don't have to apologize at all. I'm glad you're able to enjoy your favourite food in this country. I love pork though, it's one of my favourite meats after mutton.

    1. Hi Sahil, thanks for visiting! Thanks for your lovely comments...happy meat eating!

  4. Joseph's has always been a great place to buy meat and I know that cause I supply him with Yorkshire pork meat and some of the pork products he offers from a long long time. Anil never compromises on quality and that's the best part. He also makes sure that the shop is clean and you will notice it when you visit the shop. Anyone wanting to buy the best quality meat no matter what meat it is should visit his shop coz it definately worth it.

    1. Hi Jovian. I agree with everything your say and Mr Jules and I love your Yorkshire pork - the crackling always turns out perfect, even just using our convection microwave oven. And we are actually from Yorkshire so that's even better! Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Hey...lovely article...how about sharing your recipe for cooking the roast pork...thanks in advance

    1. Oh gosh, just saw this sorry! Well my husband is the one that makes an amazing Roast Pork - perhaps I will take some photographs next time he cooks it and post them up..stay tuned!

  6. Knew I'd be able to find out where to buy quality beef in Bombay from your blog! You, Mrs. Jules, are a lifesaver! :)

    P.S. You wouldn't happen to be interested in teaching a beef newbie how to purchase quality cuts and what one can make with them, would you?

    1. Hello Paras...glad to be of service ;) Unfortunately I can not provide beef consultancy...but there is plenty of advice on the internet so I wish you good luck and happy cooking! Do look up my Chilli Con Carne recipe in the Recipe section of my Directory - tips on buying beef and mincing it there :)

  7. I just moved into Union Park, about 5 minutes away from Pali Naka. I have been looking for places just like this and your scoop is gold, Mrs Jules. Thank you !!!!



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