Eating out - Diva Maharashtracha
Glenna has posted the round up of WBB # 14- Ethnic breakfasts. Check out breakfasts from the world here. WBB comes back to Saffron Trail this month, I shall be posting the theme tomorrow. We have a couple of hosts lined up for the next two months. If you are interested in hosting WBB, please write to me at [email protected]
Check the viral ad for Orbit White chewing gum below based on Sholay! You'll laugh your guts out!
Goa Portugesa as the name suggests specialised in Goan food and Culture curry serves up a melange from the South Indian states. I have been to neither. The restaurants are run by a couple,Dr. Suhas Deepa Awchat. It was announced in the papers that their new and third restaurant Diva Maharashtracha -specializing in authentic Maharashtrian cuisine had a vegetarian food festival on for the month of Shravan, Sumanth and I decided to give it a go.Besides, we had never dined in an authentic Marathi restaurant, despite living in Bombay.
After a heavy duty Sunday late afternoon workout in our gym, we felt we had earned ourself a good meal. Having made reservations, we landed there 15 minutes before time. All 3 restaurants are located next to each other near Hinduja Hospital or the Shivaji Park area in central Bombay.
The outside is done up like a Maharashtrian fort, albeit a bit too shiny for a fort! After a short wait and a glass of complementary Kokum Sharbat, we were shown inside to the tunes of the traditional Peshwa style announcing trumpet. It was only later I realised that everytime someone opened the door, the recorded music played automatically, and after hearing the long drawn trumpet screech around 5 times, I was quite sick of that sound ;)
[Update: This instrument is called_ Tutari,_ credit to this enlightenment goes to our Maharashtrian friend, Kedar]
Made to sit in one of the corner tables, I did not get a view of the entire place but there was live music playing within...from popular Marathi songs to Bollywood and even ghazals
We ordered the Solkadhi, a coastal drink made using coconut milk, kokum extract. This was too thick and milkshake-like for my liking. Having spoilt by the coastal restaurant opposite Ogilvy in Lower Parel, I was expecting that kind of a taste. They were nice enough to replace it but still the taste wasn't the same. Hubby had a Shahaleche Limbu Sharbat, which is nothing but a lime squeezed inside coconut water, served in the shell
Mango pickle - Green chilli thecha - Garlic coconut red chilli dry chutney
For starters we decided to go with steamed savoury modak filled with mushrooms cooked in milk. While the filling was creamy and full of flavour, the outer cover of the modak made with rice flour was made out of a press (not handmade), hence quite thick and kinda under cooked. This was served with a green coriander chutney and we also had the option of eating it with the red garlic powder or the green chilli_ thecha_, as you can see from the picture above.
For the main course, we ordered a Paneer-Makai in hirwa rassa (Paneer corn in green spinach-coriander gravy), Chaulicha usal(small black eyed peas sprouted and dry sauteed with spices and coconut) and Khamang Kakdi (read more below). From a choice of breads available, I chose the simple poli (a larger sized phulka made with whole wheat flour) and Sumanth had one each of the Jowar and Rice Bhakri. The rice bhakri came in by mistake instead of the jowar and he decided to try it anyway.
The sprouts usal as delicately flavoured and garnished generously with coconut. The lentils were cooked just right and not mushed up, each grain having its own identity and flavour.
The green gravy did not find much acceptance with me, may be it was great but somehow I did not love its flavours much. The paneer was soft and fresh in it though.
The Khamang Kakdi was the star of the evening. Well, how much can you expect from a simple cucumber salad anyway, right? But this one was rich in flavours in an unusual (for me) peanut-coconut dressing was the surprise of the evening. I fell so much in love with this diced cucumber salad, dressed in coconut, bit of yogurt, green chillies, curry leaves and peanut - tempered with potent hing (asafoeida), cumin and mustard seeds. And I can announce that I have already tried making it for our lunch, with the omission of peanuts as its out of stock at home. You can eat it as it is, or as a sandwich filling or with some masala rice. Stuff like this inspires quite some creativity. I'm going to be making this again and again and again. And I promise I shall posting a recipe of this one in the next few days. Let me stop gushing here.
They serve the rotis hot and fresh from steel casseroles. Sumanth downed some two glasses of Matha - plain and simple salted buttermilk along with the meal.
Remembering how much we had to run to burn a few hundred calories, we decided to give the desserts a skip. There were some special desserts from the Sravan Menu, sounded interesting but not tempting enough for us to break our resolve.
Except for the disappointment with the solkadhi and the modak covers being somewhat undercooked, the main course was a pleasure to eat. Having eaten quite some times in my Marathi friends' homes, I know that the tastes and flavours were authentic without adding the ubiquitous ginger-garlic paste and garam masala in everything.
Service was attentive and quick. But alas, there was a hair in one of the small bowls and the waiter without noticing continued to pour a gravy into it - resulting in wasting a whole portion of the gravy, realising only after I pointed it out to him. The restaurant was pretty crowded and bustling, mostly a Maharashtrian crowd as I understood.
I would like to point out that the damages indicated in the Times Food Guide 2007 are not at all accurate and the actual rates exclusive of desserts and alcohol is just about double that, with almost a 25% tax levied (this includes VAT plus service charges).
While the food was good, the ambience is too noisy and music a tad loud for our liking, it is surely worth a one time visit to sample authentic Maharashtrian food, both for the non-Marathi Bombayite and people visiting from around the country.
Please check out their menu on the website to know more about the chicken / meat / fish dishes served.
Ambience - 2.5/5
Service - 3.5/5
Food - 3.5/5
Marathi Cuisine Unlimited
Near Hinduja Hospital, Shivaji Park,
-Check out some Malwani Recipes (coastal Maharashtra) here, including one for Sol Kadhi
On the occasion of the super-flop movie - Ram Gopal Varma's Aag - here's an ad -spoofed from the original Sholay :
For more such superb viral ads, check out here.