This vegetarian restaurant in Girgaum impresses with its variety
A new vegetarian restaurant in Girgaum impresses with its variety of dishes, but could do better on the flavour front
Going to a new restaurant is no longer about discovering what it has to offer on arrival. An online recce of the place is now part of the eating-out ritual. So, when we spot bhutte ki kees on the menu of The Culture House in Girgaum, we know we are ordering the much-loved dish from Indore's Sarafa Bazaar to satiate our Madhya Pradeshi palate — and to employ it as a litmus test to gauge the attention the recently opened restaurant pays to the vegetarian flavours of northern and western India it promises to bring to Mumbaikars.
We head to the eatery with a friend on a crisp Wednesday night, where we are welcomed by a hospitable staff. The spacious dining area has a haveli-like feel with chandeliers and wooden engravings. Located on a slightly raised level, it even has a vintage elevator for guests; a thoughtful addition, the friend points out.
Bhutte ki kees
As planned, we call for the bhutte ki kees (Rs 279) from the starters right away. "It will be made of sweet corn, though," the server tells us. Important information, considering the original recipe features desi corn, a monsoon crop, which isn't as sweet. But we are used to this jugaad at home, too, and are keen on seeing how the chef finds his way around it. The dish arrives in quick time, but is of a runnier consistency than it should be, and the mild use of spices does little to combat the extra sweetness. Disappointed, we move on to the one-plate meals, from which we pick the khichu khau suey (Rs 379) and Delhi stuff chilla (Rs 279).
The chilla, or besan pancake, is a staple on winter shaadi menus up north, served sizzling hot. We like the twist of stuffing it with paneer bhurji, but in the process, the chilla seems to have stayed on the tava a tad too long. The khau suey, a Gujarati twist on the Burmese dish, is what has got us all excited. And digging into the cotton-soft rice flour balls swimming in a coconut milk and curd broth leaves us reaching for more. The fried onions, peanuts and soya sticks make for the perfect accompaniments. But we do agree with our fellow diner when she remarks that the broth could have been thicker.
From the plethora of mains, we go for green Gujarat with bhakri (Rs 449). The undhiyo-like sabzi made with fewer winter veggies tastes just fine, as does the accompanying kadhi, but there is little on the platter that justifies the steep price.
It's time for dessert, and from the seasonal options, we pick their strawberry phirni (Rs 349), which is a regular phirni topped with slices of the fruit. The moongdal sheera (Rs 299), when had later at home, reminds us of another winter shaadi indulgence, but we have tasted better versions. We'll return another day. But only because there is still much left to be tried from the vast menu.
AT The Culture House, Soni Building, opposite Bharati Vidya Bhavan, Girgaum
Time 11 am to 11.30 pm
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