Are you so much in love with food that it feels like you are in an intimate relationship with it? Do you get these food cravings at anytime in the day? Does the idea of eating at your favorite restaurant feel orgasmic? Are you ready to explore uncharted paths to discover that special dish that will make you go “Yum!”?
If the answer to all the above is a Yes.Welcome you've reached the right place.
Having lived in Mumbai and Maharashtra for all of my life, it was a pity that I got introduced to the native cuisine just recently. Yes, the credit goes to my friends (stop feeling proud while reading this). So a little about the cuisine – it isn’t only about batata vada’s and puran poli’s. There is much more to offer both interms of nutrition as well as tastewise.
A couple of Sundays back a group of friends and me headed to rediscover the cuisine. Having the Maratha’s in the group was quite a bonus. They helped us get familiar with the food and it’s nitty gritties (ok now seriously guys get over yourselves). So we headed to Dadar, the centre of all Maratha/Shiv Sena activities in Mumbai.
We started off with Prakash – an authentic Maharashtian eatery about 10 -15 minutes away from the station. Legend has it that this eatery was going to shut sometime back, however the tiger himself a.k.a Bal Thackrey requested the owner to keep it going. For this I would personally like to thank Mr. Thackrey or else I would never get a taste aamcha jevan. The ambience of this place was simple with wooden tables and chairs. The waiters wearing white dabbawala caps and, a pen on their ear coming to note your order. The menu is a laundry list of some 35-40 items and doesn’t get into describing it’s fair making it necessary to go with someone who is familiar with the cuisine.
We started with my all time favourite ‘i-can-eat-this-anytime’ dish – Sabudana Vade – the soft innards made of sabudana/sago pearls, crushed peanuts, mashed potato and hint of chilly coated with crunchy golden brown exterior was delicious. It was served with coconut chutney again with a hint of peanut. The dish is a Maharashtian staple mostly eaten during upvas/fasts. The next was the Kotambhir Vadi – fritters made of Kothmir or Cilantro and chickpeas again with a hint of crushed peanut – healthy and yummy snack. The Thaalipeeth – a roasted roti/pancake kind of dish made from multi-grains, the colour of which reminds you of dung however taste was fiery and simplydelicious. The garlic-ginger flavor added zing.
Aadu Adi (pic courtsey Rohan Moorthy)
The Misal was served minus the pav here don’t know why. The culmination of sev, grains, pulses, lentils, fried poha, onions, and ground spices was heaven in our mouths. The Aadu Adi or what the Gujarati’s call as Patra was nothing like I had had before. The crunchy rolls actually gave the sqishy sawgy one’s you usually get a run for their money. We also had the usual Batata Vada which was beautiful with it’s thin and crispy besan coating the soft melt in the mouth spice laced mashed potato mix. In the beverages we had Piyush, again a Maharashtrian signature drink which was diluted version of shrikhand. The saffron laced thick drink was refreshing yet filling at the same time.
We moved on to another famous Maharashtrian Restaurant called Dattatrey located about a 5 minutes walk from Prakash towards the station. A look at the menu and you could see that it was a twin of the one a Prakash in addition was the south Indian fare. We asked for Kanda Poha but the waiter disappointed us by saying it was not available. So we ordered for Sabudana Puri which wasn’t actually what was supposed to be. It was more like a sabudana vada albeit an inferior cousin of the one we had in Prakash. On much insistence of Maharashtrian friend we had the Dudhi Halwa. Yeah I know what your thinking, the thought of Dhudhi/bitter gourd was making me puke too. The halwa should be renamed to Death by Sugar with an extremely overpowering taste of mawa and jaggery. Well datatrey was quite a disappointment after Prakash.
Pic courtesy Rohan Moorthy
We moved on, now going more towards the station. There was huge this crowd gathering outside a shop. The shop was Panshikar – a sweat meat shop pretty famous for it’s shrikhand and kharvas – a sweet made from milk of a lactating cow. There is no seating arrangement in this place. Just a few tables. Warning you are not allowed to eat on the glass tables. We ordered of Piyush again – however this one could not match up to the one we had at Prakash. The karvas which is a native version of crème caramel laced with saffron was soft and melted in mouths. The shrikand too was brilliant.
An average meal for two would be a mere 150 – 200
Quicktip: Go get your dose authentic Marathi jevan, at no frill yet delicious eateries. The portions are small for single people so go on a rainy morning for breakfast/brunch with your friends, enjoy some cha and snacks!
·Prakash, Shiv Sena Bhavan, Next to Kithe Hall, Gokhale Road, Shivaji Park, Dadar West , Mumbai
Timing: 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM
·Dattatrey, Ranade-Gokhale Road Junction, Dadar (W), Dadar West , Mumbai