The Baahubali Thali at this Pune eatery is not for the faint-hearted
Every once in a while, there comes a moment, when you give in to the calorie-blind gastronome in you. It was on one such languid Saturday afternoon that we landed up at JM Road's House of Parathas. It was 3.30 pm, and the place was choc-a-block. After an hour-long wait, we were finally allotted a table. Another 30 minutes were spent waiting for the Baahubali thali to be readied. It was only when the fulsome speciality arrived at the table that the turbulent start of the food expedition transformed into a rather swell ride.
Too much on your plate
Unassuming in its avatar, the stand-alone paratha joint is a no-frills affair. The most interesting dichotomy reflects in its minimalist décor juxtaposed by a smorgasbord of offerings in its home-grown Baahubali plate. Says Ravindra Rathi, owner and the brain behind the eatery's signature dish, "The name Baahubali has become synonymous with grandiosity and enormity. Whether at home, or at work, I used to observe how grown-ups and children alike were taking a fancy for Baahubali. That is how I thought of coming up with the eponymous thali."
At R1,680, you are served a copious fare, including Devasena parathas, Katappa biryani, Sivagami shahi pakwaan, Bhalladeva patiala lassi, and of course, the humongous Baahubali mixed veggies and paneer paratha, which spreads over the entire circumference of the 26 inch plate. The quantities are not just over-whelming, they are quirky, too. Take for instance, the palm-sized Amritsari chur-chur stuffed naan that sits like a centre piece or the ghee-oozing moong dal halwa that shies away from its zesty surroundings.
Dishing out the 18 inches gigantic Baahubali paratha is not just a culinary challenge, it is a matter of art. "We got the necessary kitchenware and serving plates customised. Normally, about 15 minutes are spent in placing the preparations on the plate, with no discounts on its visual appeal," fills in Rathi. The whole idea is to give the epicureans an ultra-grand and larger-than-life experience, he adds.
House of Parathaser at JM Road
In the midst of this immersive food romance, we asked a gentleman at the adjacent table about his take on the experience. Shriyash Apte, who had walked in with his friend, admitted being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the thali. "It is delectable, but it won't be possible to finish between the two of us." Sharing Apte's views, Rathi adds how typically, it takes a group of at least six to eight, to wolf down the fare.
Our two cents
Sure, the vegetarian food station's indisputable winning stroke is the novelty of the Baahubali thali and the necessary cooking and serving paraphernalia that it comes with. The thali is a well-designed junction of all things palatable—right from the choice of pickles to 10 different lentil and veggie preparations, chaat, mains and the sweets. Although it's not a complete hands-down 'paisa vasool' idea, the experience factor overrides the slightly overpriced Baahubali plate. The service wasn't stellar, nor was the serving time monitored. Also, a true-blue food devotee would always fancy gastronomy wisdom and trivia, along with his food. Despite being slightly rough around the edges, the Baahubali thali excursion is worth taking.