When we think of homemade food, the first visuals that appear are those of hot chapatis or puris served with a simple yet delicious sabzi, piping-hot rice with dal, chutney, papad and salad on the side.
The Premium Thali included a total of 10 items, but the only saving grace were the dal, chapati and rice.
Naturally, when we heard of Chadaro Tiffin Service, we browsed through their online menu, and hoped for fare that would come close to homemade meals.
Run by a Navi Mumbai-based catering company, Chadaro (short for Chawal Dal and Roti) offers four different vegetarian thali packages.
Chadaro’s thali comes in sealed plastic pacakges inside cardboard boxes. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
All the items are vegetarian, and Jain-friendly too. The range starts with the Basic Thali for '50 and goes up till Rs 160 for the Premium Thali. Our order included all the four thalis and a surprise Gandhi Tiffin (Rs 130). We are not sure if the name has any connection with Mahatma Gandhi, but it caught our eye.
The food arrived well in time, and was packed neatly without any spillover. Impressive, more so, considering the distance it might have travelled to reach us.
While the Premium Thali includes three vegetables (chauli, cauli flower and peas, and paneer), dal, rice, four chapatis, sweet, salad and pickle, the Deluxe Thali (Rs 115) didn’t include any sweet dish and had two vegetables (cauliflower with peas and chauli), dal, rice, four chapatis, salad and pickle. The Regular Thali (Rs 90) on the other hand, included only one vegetable (chauli), dal, rice four chapatis, salad and pickle.
The Basic Thali offered a choice between pre-selected package of Dal Rice, Chapati Bhaji (one vegetable and five chapatis), Pulav and Raita, and Puri Bhaji. Ours include two packages - the Dal Rice and Chapati Bhaji (chauli and five chapatis). The last package, the Gandhi Tiffin included dal, rice, chauli and four chapatis, packed neatly in plastic containers in tiffin-like cardboard box.
Despite the long commute, the chapatis in all the thalis remained soft till the end. The dal was a healthy mix of palak and lentils, good for nutrients, and the rice was soft and fluffy. Unfortunately, the rest of the food was too basic for our liking. And it’s not because the food is Jain-sensitive, but we felt that a lot had to do with their poor selection of items. For example, having chauli as the only vegetable option in both Chapati Bhaji and Basic Thali options disappointed.
The cauliflower and peas preparation was too oily by restaurant standards even. The paneer was flavourless. And, as if this wasn’t enough, some of the thalis weren’t accompanied with spoons or paper napkins. Worse, the salad was two slices of cucumber and carrots each.
Just when we hoped to find an alternative to boring canteen food, Chadaro’s thalis disappointed us with their utter lack of basic culinary inspiration.
Note: The items in the menu change everyday. Thalis can be ordered only as part of their monthly (minimum 22 orders), quarterly, half-yearly or annual plans.
Log on to: chadaro.com