Restaurant Review: Gujarati food goes hip

A new restaurant in Lower Parel experiments with popular Gujarati and Rajasthani street food and home recipes to present them in hip, world-cuisine style. Not all experiments work, though

Food: Above average
Service: Quick
Ambiance: Vibrant

Firki is a new all-veg restaurant housed in the busy locality of Raghuvanshi Mills in Lower Parel. The walls are lined with things you longed for as a child when the fair came to town — bright coloured firkis, wooden toys and dolls, and dhurries in bright colours, creating an ambiance full of memories. Its white walls are carefully done to balance the colours and to not make it look too kitschy. The menu reminded us of the fare one would probably see in kitty party lunches and potlucks. While the dishes sound extremely familiar, there is a certain twist to each one.

Baked Cheese Khichdi
Baked Cheese Khichdi

The hits
We started with the White Rose Petal Sharbat (Rs 150) out of curiosity. The transparent drink brought back the memory and taste of the good old rose sharbat. Masala Chaas (Rs 150) with rock salt and chaat masala was refreshing too.

Then came the Dabeli Bruschetta (Rs 250). Based on the popular street food, the dabeli, this version served the dabeli masala on toasted miniature bread buns. A good appetiser and a fun innovation, we thought. The Pudina Panki (Rs 225) was one of our favourite items. A panki is a traditional Gujarati dish wherein rice flour batter is steam-cooked between banana leaves.

Dabeli Bruschetta
Dabeli Bruschetta

There wasn’t too much of an experiment with this one except the Pudina flavour. Don’t miss this one. The light Panki that melts in your mouth will have you coming back for more. The Baked Cheese Khichdi (Rs 350), which was initially mastered by the legendary Swati Snacks in Tardeo, was flavourful and tasty but a bit too dry on its own. Ordering a gravy for company might have been a good idea.

The misses
Another Gujarati specialty, the Handwa, which is a baked dish made from various lentils, rice, sesame and spices is transformed into the Handwa Pizza (Rs 275). The Handwa forms the base of the pizza with toppings on it. The Khathiywadi Khow Suey (Rs 275) was mainly a mix of chana and gathia. We found dishes average.

Pudina Panki was one of our favourites
Pudina Panki was one of our favourites

The Dal Pakwaan (Rs 250) was the most disappointing. A far cry from the original Sindhi dish, this version of the chana dal served with crispy puris was more like ragda and hardly inspiring. The Baked Rasgulla (Rs 250) was delicious but hardly baked. The crust could have been crunchy. This was more of Rasgulla in thick condensed milk.

Still, if you’re in the mood for a dash of experimentation with Gujarati fare, and don’t mind the tweaks, you might want to swing by Firki.

Time: 12 pm to 12 am
At: 11/12, Block 27, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Call: 61054695

Firki didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.

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