7 Jul 2011

BL Murarka Marg (Pandit Soli Mandir Rd), Malad (E)

A taste of home: Short cut to Gujarat.

Thanks to a photo-story I did for Mumbai Boss called 'A Taste of Home', I have been eating at a lot of affordable restaurants, 'hotels' and mess that cater to mostly young working bachelors and students in and around Mumbai.

What set these places apart is that they are run by and cater to people from a specific region. The Mumbai-fication of the food is minimal and they use the magic of taste to take home-sick bachelors away from the misery of living in a this space starved, claustrophobic city where you do little else other than work.

Near the Diamond Market (yes, they sell real diamonds like vegetables on the street here) in Malad (E) is one such Bhojanalay called Ambika Bhojanalay. It's a classic mess. The owner is a Khadoos Mama who plays the bad cop but his staff is friendly.

He stays open for a few hours for lunch and later in the evening for dinner. After lunch, they pack up by 3pm. On Sundays, he's got sweet dishes.

And yes, like all such eateries, the portion size is 'unlimited'. You can have as many of the two types of rotis, rice, dal, etc. except pappad. The bachelors can choose from monthly plans or buy coupons.

But you would say - this is in Malad. That's more Gujarat than Gujarat can be. And that's true. But the difference is that the food is exactly the same as what you would get in a small family run restaurant in small town Gujarat. It's not the copy of some ornate Amdavad Pol rooftop restaurant or a fake Flimistan village with sorry looking waiters dressed up as bonded labourers of some medieval tyrant.

It's for you who likes to taste what the state offers in its regular restaurants. The rotis are of the same size and taste. So is the Aloo side-dish. The two varieties of dal. The food is seasonedwith the same amount of salt that you will find in Gujarat where the water served is usually hard and yes, the chaas ... yum. It will make all that asmita in a Gujarati to boil over.

It's the exact taste that I once tasted in Gujarat, in a dabba a Gujarati mother cooked and packed for her son to take to work.

It's also for those Amitabh Bachchan has convinced to go get a whiff of Gujarat and you don't have the time to take Flying Ranee or a Duranto to Gujarat. You can go to Ambika Bhojanalay, sit in a row seat and transport yourself to Gujarat.

Special thanks to Akshat Trivedi for directing me to one of his favourite eateries.

Read the rest of the Mumbai Paused, Eating out in Mumbai list


pRiyA said...

Man, I loved this post. I am not much of a traveller but at least I can see the rest of this endlessly fascinating India through your blog.

Nrupal Mehta said...

Good post

Slogan Murugan aka M S Gopal said...

Thanks Nrupal... Thanks Priya... I would love to travel more and one thing is sure, I will not run out of stories!

Alberto Rojas Jiménez said...

How beautiful is the simplicity

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