We had heard the name of this eatery from our Pune colleagues and were curious to visit the place when we got to know of their opening in the city. So on a beautiful, cloudy Sunday morning we headed to Vishnu Ji Ki Rasoi at Ghodbunder Road in Thane for a taste of simple Maharashtrian cuisine.
The open-air eatery seemed to have already gained interest, as there were a number of people waiting to get a table. Looking forward to an exhaustive buffet, we paid for our thali (Rs 300 per person) at the entrance and were ushered plus informed about the food on offer by a smiling stewardess. With a refreshing glass of Kokum juice we started our lunch by helping ourselves with a variety of dry chutneys and a delicious red Thecha (spicy chilli-based chutney) to go with our Moongdal Bhajiyas.
The buffet is divided into Maharashtrian and regular Punjabi fare (two vegetables and rice preparations and tasty Moongdal Sheera). We skipped the simple Mixed Vegetable and opted for a paneer based gravy to accompany our naan and saved some space in anticipation for the Maharastrian section.
The separate section included Jhunka Bhakari (the jhunka wasn’t too fiery); Patal Bhaji and Sev Bhaji. A counter manned by women, churned up endless number of chapattis, bhakharis and puranpolis on order.
We savoured the thin-in-consistency Patal Bhaji with hot chapattis as the Sev Bhaji was average. Our favourite was the Bharda Bhaat, which was to be had with Chinche Saar (a liquid tamarind juice). The simple recipe of soft rice cooked with lentils went great with the tamarind juice that reminded us of the Khatta from Himachali cuisine, which is also eaten with rice. With a second helping of the Moongdal Sheera, we were full and content. By then the lovely old Marathi film songs were putting us to sleep.
If you love simple home-cooked food Vishnu Ji is worth a visit. Though the location might pose a problem for those without a car, as it is difficult to hitch an auto back and the commute turns out to be an expensive deal.