Maharaja Bhog is Bollywood on a thali. What's more is that diners get the opportunity to pause during their meal, perhaps so that they may reflect over this celebration of food

The Indian thali is a celebration of plenty. The experience of eating from the several katoris placed on the inside of a plate that is far too heavy, and far too large to eat in, is in itself an exercise in excess.

The thali at Maharaja Bhog includes three sweets
generously laced with ghee

To successfully partake of the ritual, you must first ensure that you eat your full, this is typically followed by politely declining repeated attempts by servers to refill one's plate, and ends by yielding to the server's persistence.

The only politeness, or courtesy that you are required to extend is to smile at your server and make feeble attempts to declare how you cannot possibly eat a morsel more, and then greedily proceed to tuck into a second, or possibly even a third serving.

The Gujarati thali is by far the flashiest of all thalis. It's Bollywood on a plate. Yes, it's 'pure' vegetarian, but even the rather curious tribe of the "die-hard non-vegetarian" is unlikely to feel deprived of their meat.

At your service
The evening we dropped by Maharaja Bhog, we went prepared to wait in a queue, to be jostled by fellow diners, to breeze in, and then stagger out onto the pavement twenty minutes later.

Instead, once inside, we were immediately whisked to a table inside a golden room, where there were just two other tables that were occupied.

Glasses were swiftly turned the right way up, chilled buttermilk was poured inside, cloth napkins were unfolded and placed to the side of our golden thalis, and we were soon part of a feeding frenzy.

Food for thought
Other than the thali itself, the high point of our experience, was that we were offered the chance to linger over our meal which, as anyone who has ever eaten at a thali joint knows, is not an easy opportunity to come by.

Service starts off as energetic, slowly tapering off towards the end, until you are left, staring at the remnants of another glorious food memory.

For Rs 275, you get four sabzis, two dals and a kadhi, three types of rotis, khichdi, rice, three sweets, two or three starters, chutneys and 'slaad'. Portions are unlimited, not to mention the generous spoonfuls of ghee and glasses of chaas.

If you are likely to stop by more than once in the same week, you needn't worry about eating the same sabzi twice, as the menu changes everyday.

So, if you do happen to be in the area or in Goregaon where they have their second branch, and are exceptionally ravenous, do drop by. You can always starve later.

At Inorbit Mall, second floor, Malad (W). Call 28780022/ 44
Maharaja Bhog didn't know we were there.
The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.