India on a platter
An end-of-year survey finds that the thali continues to be popular in an era when keto meals are one swipe away. Good enough reason for us to offer you our top six list of Mumbai's most unique thalis.
Hectic schedules barely leave time for a home-cooked meal, forget three preparations, which is the crux of the tradition of the thali. And so, eateries in the city are whipping up regional cuisine to give you a wholesome taste of different cuisines. Follow this thali trail.
Muse called mutton
The deconstructed goat is ideal for a traditional celebratory meal as the thaal is a meat lover's dream come true with dishes such as raan and naan, nalli nihari and taftaan and hari mirch kheema being served. Some of the popular dishes include the nourishing paya shorba, a clear bone broth prepared with goat trotters, and the smoked mutton chops marinated in red chilli, garlic and yogurt, cooked in the tandoor over charcoal, before they are smoked in a wooden box with cloves. There's also the unique gosht ka halwa made with minced goat meat.
At Arth, 604, Pinnacle House, PD Hinduja Marg, 15th Road, Bandra West.
Time 12 pm to 4 pm; 7 pm to 1.30 am
Cost Rs 7,500 (half, serves five to six people)
Gaga over Goa
Only served at lunch, this thali has a mix of Christian and Goud Saraswat Brahmin fare. It includes chicken baffad curry served with warm pao, Beryl's fish curry red snapper served with Goa rice and Panaji green watana rassa dried green peas cooked with fennel, mustard and curry leaves, served with chapati. “We wanted to introduce the Goan eating culture to Mumbai and eating a holistic meal is an integral part of the culture there. Keeping with that, most houses and restaurants in Goa offer thalis. So, we are focusing on staple Goan classics for our thali. We are also doing a different foogath preparation — a vegetable inspired by native ingredients,” executive chef Hussain Shahzad says. The dishes are served with futi kadhi, sprout salad, veg foogath and orange serradura.
At O Pedro, Unit 2, Plot C 68, Jet Airways — Godrej, BKC. on Monday to Friday, 12 pm to 3.30 pm
Cost Rs 395 onwards
Simply South Indian
If you dream of fluffy appams and chicken chettinaad, this South Indian eatery offers flavours from five states on their thali. “You can enjoy the subtle flavours of Kerala, the spice of Andhra and Telangana, the ancient cuisine of Tamil Nadu and the versatility of Karnataka. The fish gassi from Mangalore has a unique tangy flavour due to the use of a dried fruit called jaargey,” says Dharmesh Karmokar, co-owner.
At Thangabali, Manmohan Bhavan, Mahim West; Bandra and Andheri.
Time 7 am to 12 am
Cost Rs 499 onwards
A whiff of Nepal and Tibet
Possibly the only eatery in Mumbai to serve authentic Nepali thakali, complete with the ever-elusive gundruk sadeko, this thali keeps things simple. It comes with dal, saag, piro aloo, raddish pickle, bitter gourd fritters and rice. There's also a chicken variant. It works best when it's all mixed together, which is how thalis should be consumed. “We wanted to serve food in a rustic way,” Goumtesh Singh, co-owner, says. They also have a delish Tibetan platter.
At Yeti — The Himalayan Kitchen, road 4 and 5, Rohan Plaza, Khar.
Time 12 pm to 10 pm
Cost Rs 525 onwards
Tadka, Punjab da
With over 40 items, the Dara Singh thali is a family meal. When our colleague tried it out, he gave top marks for the authenticity of the flavours. There are four beverages, three chaat options, a soup, pickle, chutney, curries, khichdi, biryani and seven desserts. “We have flavours from the northern region of India with dishes like the yoghurt lamb curry,” says chef and co-owner, Harmeet Singh.
At Mini Punjab Lakeside, Adishankaracharya Marg, Powai; and Thane.
Time 12 pm to 1.30 pm, 7 pm to 12 am
Cost Rs 2,400 (veg) onwards
Eat like a Nawab
Bringing you flavours from Lucknow and surrounding areas, this Awadhi thali uses Mughal cooking techniques. Naan, missi roti and saufinyani khamiri brushed with home-made butter, lagan hara murgh that's dum cooked and potli nihari, a Lucknowi lamb stock preparation that's simmered with spices for more than two hours, it sticks to what UP is known for. “Traditionally, meals for the royal families of Lucknow were presented in a thali which includes a good amount of meat, poultry, veggies, bread, fats and dessert,” Shibendu Ray Chaudhury, executive sous chef, says.
At Nawab Saheb, 2&3B, Powai.
Time 7 pm to 11.30 pm
Cost Rs 3,500
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