This post is a part of the What’s On My Plate series
Picture Courtesy: Fernando Monte da Silva
Tibb's Frankie...now available in Goa...
Way back in 2001, I spent a month on the fringes of Mahim. Yes, I know, the question would invariably be WHY? To cut a very long story short, my father was being operated at Hinduja’s, my mum would spend the night at the hospital with him, and I, the homeless waif, needed to make myself scarce as Hinduja’s didn’t endorse third wheels.
All that being said, it was a phase of much learning. My experiences in Bombay were always limited to ‘town’ or South Bombay, which I love to this day. Being in Mahim for this long, always on call was somewhat of a new experience; and an enjoyable one at that. I discovered the joy of steaming-hot Kheema accompanied by a loaf of bread that rivalled its counterpart’s temperature, from Crown Bakery at 6:30 am. I discovered the joy of purchasing bound and battered editions of Archie comics at a meagre Rs 20 per copy from Victoria Library. Most importantly, it was during this period that on the singular step that led to the aforementioned library, I discovered my love for the ‘Frankie’.
I have always been intrigued by food, and for me a strange looking wrap in the hands of an even stranger looking pedestrian is, but naturally going to pique the interest. Looking at me with as much curiosity as I glanced at him with, he told me where he procured what he was eating. I proceeded to trot off in said direction, and saw a dingy looking stall in the distance, from where I purchased my first-ever Frankie. To this day I could swear that I’ve heard choirs of angels sing and a tractor beam of light descend upon it as I approached. A long lost cousin of the kathi roll, the Frankie is infinitely better. And the inventors of the Frankie, the Tibb family want to ensure that that philosophy is maintained. One of their many slogans very bluntly states, 'Everything rolled in a naan and roti is not a Frankie'. Unable to decide whether I wanted to try the mutton or chicken variant, I promptly went on to order one of each, and the mutton was infinitely better (please note that I’m highly allergic to mutton, but to this day, stand by my point of view that it was completely worth it).
Much later, I began doing a little digging and discovered that a member of the Tibb family was inspired by something that he ate in Lebanon and in turn went through the process of laborious testing his idea of an Indianised version of what he referred to as mutton roll and naan, using friends and family as guinea pigs…oh to be a guinea pig at that juncture… with all the positive feedback that the family received, they ventured into their first Frankie outlet in Powai, Mumbai, in 1969. However, it was the ‘townie’ capital of Colaba, the second venue that the Tibb family ventured into, that propelled the modern day Frankie to new heights. Rumour has it that as far as the etymology goes, the name was the brainchild of Amarjit Tibb who christened it in honour of West Indian cricketer Frank Worrell, later registering the name as a trademark of Tibb’s.
Fast forward to 2015, and it turns out that Goa has managed to get its hands on their very own Tibb's outlets. Situated at the food court at Caculo Mall in Panjim and Delfino's HyMart in Porvorim, these stations are far more clinical than the gritty, roadside, charismatic stall that I once ate at. The flavours, however, stay the same as the first time I ever partook of them. Now Goa’s stall had no mutton variant until recent times, and to be fair, it had been a while since I’ve eaten a Tibbs Frankie in one of the metropolitan cities, so I was uncertain whether they were even on the menu 14 years later. However, much to my relief, they it turns out that they are. And in any case, the chicken is still great and I personally love it. Tibbs is the real deal. It’s worth heading down to the mall and digging into one, bearing one of their old slogans in mind: ‘No wrap shap, no hanky panky. Eat the original Tibb’s Frankie’.
There are numerous people that make Frankies and Kathi Rolls in Goa, but none have managed to replicate Tibb's flavours yet.
As of now, Tibb's outlets can be found at Caculo Mall in Panjim and Delfino's HyMart in Porvorim.
The average cost of a Tibb's Frankie is approximately ₹130 (at the time of publishing this review).
Food is a huge part of any culture and for me, chancing upon a good meal is synonymous with having a great day. The What’s On My Plate series of posts is where I discuss food, great places to eat, and anything gastronomically moving. This could be anything from a great place to eat, to an obscure kind of food, to an origin story. After all, there is no love like the love of eating.