Restaurant review: This Colaba vegetarian eatery is still a work in progress
Among other things, Thanjavur (formerly Tanjore) is renowned for its temples and artworks and is also reputed to be the 'Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu' due to high yields of the crop. Its food is distinct with a charm of its own. So, when the eatery Tanjore — by Angie opened at Colaba, we were curious to sample its fare, and dropped by.
The Mini Thanjavur meal was satiating albeit bland
The eatery gets its name from the owner Gitanjali Ramji's nickname: Angie. The walls of the tiny eatery are decked with artworks as well as a photograph of the famous Brihadeeshwara temple. Carnatic music plays on the background to set the mood. There is a sense of yesteryear simplicity to the settings: wooden tables with plastic covers on top, chairs with tiny cushions fitted for backrest and window hangings adorning the glass facade at the entrance.
The Vasantha Neer was refreshing
The menu was quite concise. To start off, we opted for the Kal Dosai (Rs 160), a soft dosa cooked without oil on a special stone. Among the beverages, we tried the Vasantha Neer (Rs 90), a drink made using tender coconut water, honey, lime juice and tulsi leaves and Paanagam (Rs 90), a mixture of jaggery, ginger, cardamom and lemon juice. Both were refreshing.
Kal Dosai is made without oil
Next up, we ordered the Mini Thanjavur Meal (Rs 240) which included rice, puris (the parotas listed on the menu were missing), sambar, rasam, vegetable curry or kuttu, a dry green vegetable preparation, yoghurt-based kadi or more kozhambu, curd, pickle and papad. The sambar wasn't sweet, thankfully, and we savoured the flavourful rasam.
The Pongal was packed with pepper
But the vegetable dishes, the Kozhambu and the Kesari (a semolina pudding similar to pineapple sheera) tasted bland.
The meal was all downhill from here on. The Bisi Bela Bath (Rs 180), a hot lentil rice cooked with nutmeg, asafoetida, curry leaves and tamarind pulp, was too dry, spicy and lacked the subtle play of flavours which make the dish a hit. Ditto for the Pongal (Rs 180), rice boiled with jaggery and milk, which was a bland disappointment, again despite having an abundance of pepper. We have enjoyed better versions, and at cheaper prices.
We were looking for a happy ending but the Semiya Payasam (Rs 180) that arrived after a 20-minute wait was just warm milk served with vermicelli and lacked both flavour and texture. By the end, we couldn't help but rue that while the menu seemed promising and the service was prompt, we wish their food was half as satisfying.
At: Bela Court Building, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba.
Time: 11 am to 11 pm