Eat. Travel. Pray. Freeze.
As I write this, snowflakes (gentler than a baby’s breath) are falling softly outside my window. Gulmurg is preening in all her pristine, gleaming white glory. This is not paradise. This is Paradise on earth and its thanks to being on the jury of “The Foodie Awards” ( Kunal Vijayakars show on Times Now) that I’m travelling from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari. Its the most watched food show which over 7 years has had the ever-hungry Kunal unearth and sniff out eateries from obscure destinations to gourmet capitals. In Srinagar, Kunal tracks down the family run, 60 year old “Mughal darbar” as we wolf down the 36 course wazwan (wedding banquet) and
the soft yet spongy Goshtaba lingers in my tastebud memory, as does the nadru yakhni of the Taj Vivanta and the Rishta of Gulmurg’s newest luxurious The Khyber (where I meet the honeymooners Surendra Hiranandani and Alka),
In freezing, cacophonic Amritsar, we not only partake of the sacred langar in the breathtakingly beautiful Golden temple, but also take the early morning holy dip (yes) in it’s freezing waters of it’s sarovar. Healed and rejuvenated, we cant stop eating parathas in the ancient“Kesar da dhaba”, rajma at “Bhrawan da dhaba” (guided here thanks to my Income Tax batchmate and commissioner Pathania) and breakfasting on the plump golden puris with cholle and the tangy laungi in the no-frills “Kanha”. By contrast Ista’s sophisticated kababs innovated with sarson marination delight.
We shoot in them all..from the gullis of old delhi’s Chache di hatti and it’s snaking queues to Gurgaon Oberoi’s fabulous, sprawling 10,000 sq ft specialty-multi-cuisine (yes there is such a thing) 361. From the high energy On the Waterfront to the iconic Spice Route, super chic Veda and more.
We feel like Vasco da Gama in Calicut (he landed here first) as we discover the three generation-run Zain s superb Moplah Biryani and stuffed mussels cooked to granma’s recipes.Paragon’s Calicut fried prawns are enlivened with curry leaves but it’s the Royal Vega of the brand new Grand Chola in Chennai which stuns with it’s purity and taste. In Goa, A Ferradora’s owner-chef cooks every single meal himself and his Portugese Fejoida is to kill for.
GURU DA DHABA – Mumbai
Balle. Balle. This is it. A discovery to beat all discoveries. Having taken the holy dip in the Golden Temple, this is like receiving one more blessing. The true blue Punjabi in me is thrilled to eat in this seriously small (It seats only 30 people) functional, table and bench, non-airconditioned dhaba in Lokhandwala. The robust, homestyle flavors ensure that we keep eating. Most of the dishes are the kind which are not served in restaurants…like the dahi kadi pakodi with it’s perfect whisper of tanginess, the winter special of sarson da saag paired with well-cooked makki di roti delights with it’s authenticity. It’s the simply cooked aloo spiked with jeera that is another favorite as is the stuffed karela with it’s slightly bitter signature. The “sukhi matki dal” is a surprising and yummy healthy addition.Except for the arbi masala (I prefer flattened and crisp arbi) all the other homestyle dishes (rotis included) do a bhangra on our tastebuds. That’s why I shoot the accompanying photo when everyone is saying “balle balle”.
P.S. While the food and the prices (average per head Rs 100) please our palate and wallet, heres what warms our heart… owner Inderjit Anand, worked as an auto rickshaw driver and saved and set up this dhaba with his wife Ranjit. She passed away tragically, a few days before our shoot but her daughter Mandeep promised her that they would continue to be consistently excellent. She lives up to her promise. Mubarkaan!
GURU DA DHABA
Shop No.1, Kamdhenu Shopping Centre, First Cross Road, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri (West). 2632 0440.
Open lunch and dinner.
Average price for two Rs 200
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3 DÉCOR 2
By the time you re reading this ,we will be eating in Shillong and Kolkatta. But right now , to be in walled in by the Gulmurg snow and yet be connected to you is an amazing feeling. Mail
(7738022873 ) to be listed here.Due to space constraint am unable to
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Mahinder for veg (Rs 1600) and non veg (Rs 2600) tiffin Monday- Saturday in Malad you can call Nirmala Kotekar, Tasty Bite Foods. Ph: 28814797, 9819550172Read More