29 - Twenty Nine
Spotting a 'Veg' Xacuti on the menu of 29 - Twenty nine left us a bit baffled. However, we decided to keep it aside for the main course as we began our review at the restaurant with walls that remind you of Piet Mondrian's works. On offer is food from all the states of India (hence the name, and unlike many other restaurants in the city, without a twist (we are tired of staring at thepla tacos and food served in tiffin boxes). First up was Potato Chops with Sanmeholi Chutney (Rs 160).
Goan Daali Thoy and Veg Xacuti with Coriander Steamed Rice
The potato tikkis, stuffed with spiced onion, and the crispy crust of the chops, won us over. As for the Sanmeholi Chutney, which attracted us to the dish in the first place, it tasted like homemade green chutney. An enthusiastic owner, who was flitting across all tables, informed us that he uses Northeastern chillies for the chutney, which gives it the name. Chutney woes aside, our next starter, Punugulu (Rs 110) was a fried delight. Usually served as round bhajiyas in south India, the Punugulu here is served in the form of thin discs; a move we loved. It is served with the same set of three chutneys that came with the chops.
We loved the Malabari Parotta served
We highly recommend giving the beverages section a dekko. We tried Sattu Ka Sharbat (Rs 90) and Shikanji (Rs 90). The thought of a sharbat made from roasted gram flour might sound too heavy but it made for a refreshing summer drink that is nutritive at the same time. We loved the Shikanji too, nimbu pani with special spices.
Punugulu was a crispy snack
For the mains, the owner insisted that we order Bhuna Kofta Curry with Kerala Parotta (Rs 275). We also picked Goan Daali Thoy and Veg Xacuti with Coriander Steamed Rice (Rs 275). Opt for the Bhuna Kofta mainly for the pillow-like parotta, both of which we finished off in a flash. The Veg Xacuti tasted more like Veg Kolhapuri that is available in most local restaurants. But the coconut-flavoured daal with the coriander rice was a match made in culinary heaven, a fine example of how a few tweaks can upgrade a dish like the humble daal rice.
Sattu Ka Sharbat added a fresh zing to our meal. Pics/Onkar Devlekar
For dessert we were too tempted to order the banoffie-sounding Sultani Phal ki Toffee (layers of crunchy banana and caramel said the menu) but ordered the lesser-heard Gulgule with Gulkand Rabadi (Rs 100). The fennel flavoured sweet pakodas is a simple, common north Indian dish known by different names in different states up north. With other richer desserts on the menu (Mawa Jalebi with Kesar Rabdi, Double Ka Meetha), the Gulgule could have done with a little more Rabadi on the side to make it merrier.
29 — Twenty Nine has already gained a lot of fans as it was full during lunch hours when we dropped by. And with its variety, good food and pocket friendly prices for its location, the space deserves more than one visit.
Time: 11 am to 3.30 pm and 7 pm to 11.30 pm
At: Near Cumballa Hill Hospital, Kemps Corner.
29 — Twenty Nine didn't know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.