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A ‘ Thali ’ Sojourn : Panchavati Gaurav

" STAINLESS STEEL PLATES HOUSING NUMEROUS VATIS (CUPS) FULL OF TASTY RAJASTHANI AND GUJARATI RELISHES , MAKES PANCHAVATI GAURAV A     MUST VISIT PLACE , SAYS GITA HARI. "

When I feel I am done , well almost with world cuisine and north Indian foods , my gastronomic senses get drawn towards light-on – grease Thali joints , just to break away from routine stuff. This time it is the pure-veg thali restaurant Panchavati Gaurav on the 3rd level in korum mall in Thane . Manager Monohar Singh Rajpurohit inform us that the Nashik based Panchavati Group Of Hotels and Restaurants has made a mark on the mumbai food map since 1982 with its flagship restaurant opposite Bombay Hospital.There after it has gradually branched out to Vashi , Thane , Andheri and Malad catering to those who relish Gujarati & Rajasthani food .

As in any Thali place , tables are laid with stainless steel plates housing numerous vatis(cups) . No sooner are you seated than a battery of waiters serve the dishes with much fervor. With the subzis in the menu being repeated only once a fortnight , except for certain dishes like dal bhati churma and kadhi , one can try different items by eating here for 15 days at a stretch. Four vegetables , two farsans and sweets , puris , phulka roti , kadhi , two dals – gujarati and tikka , dal bati , steamed rice , khichdi /masala bhat , chaas , salad , curd , papad , pickle should be enough for you to take an off for the rest of the day .

And while you relish the delicious fare , the glass panels provide a ringside view of shoppers in the mall . Though minimal , the restaurant is done with pleasing interiors .

As the subzis appear , I realize this place serves mix of both gujarati and rajasthani cuisine . Batata vada and Shahi dokla , were farsans  of the day while Jalebi with rose petal garnishes and pahari kheer (tastes more like cooked rice added to cold milk with sugar and garnish of raisins) made their way to the sweet menu . The vegetables and dals are excellent – Gauhar Lasunia (a kind of beans) will be liked even by those who don’t actually fancy gauhar , Dudhi Dahiwali though much like the kadhi tastes good . Aloo Rassawala and matki usal are the other two subzis .

The major thing that evaded us was the variety of pickles thali restaurants are popular for . We were only served sweet and tikka chutneys for the farsans and when despite repeated requests no pickle appeared , I presumed they had run out of them , though it is quite unlikely .

Hot phulkas , biscuit rotla and masala puri are the variety of Indian breads . Khichdi with homemade ghee poured generously makes for a good rice dish . You can also steamed rice with curd or dal.

The credit to this lip smacking thali goes to Maharaj Netiramji Choudhary , the desi chief of Panchavati Gaurav . The charm of unlimited thali food is you can eat to your heart’s content for a fixed price of Rs 260 and on weekends for Rs.290 with an extra sweet dish . A must visit for all thali food lovers .