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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Restaurant Review: Panki, Sbarro

Priyanka Jain, Rochelle Pinto, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 23, 2012
First Published: 15:19 IST(23/3/2012) | Last Updated: 15:23 IST(23/3/2012)

Good food, bad setting

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What: Panki
where: 48, Tian, 1st Floor, Gulmohar Road, Juhu, Mumbai 400049
Call: 2624 0666
What’s on the menu: Gujarati, Rajasthani, Mughlai and Chinese
Drinking: Yes
Smoking: No

Panki has opened where Petra stood earlier, and besides some new lamps, the decor hasn’t changed much.

The staff is courteous and service is quick. The presentation needs some sprucing up, though. The menu is an unappealing black and white printout.

Being Marwadis, the acid test for us was how the Dal bati churma (Rs 169) would turn out. While the traditional dipped-in-ghee bati style gave way to a contemporary item with less ghee, perhaps targeted at the health conscious, the taste was just as delectable. The menu boasted Chinese and Mughlai dishes too, which is pretty tiresome. So we decided to try the traditional Gujarati and Rajasthani course only. The gatte ki sabji with masala satpadi (Rs 169), kela nu shaak (Rs 169), peru nu shaak (Rs 169), fada ni khichdi (Rs 164) were all palatable and left us wanting more. All items are served with papad and pickle. For desert we had rajbhog rasmalai (Rs 129). Cooked in less oil than traditionally used, the food retained its authentic flavour. But the portions could have been bigger. If you are an average eater, you may have to order at least four dishes between two people to feel satiated.

The Rajbhog thaali, Nizam thaali and panki — the dish the restaurant is named after — were all sold out, or so we were told. The restaurant also has a bar, which seems out of place, considering the predominantly Gujarati cuisine on the menu and the bartender didn’t do justice to the cocktails we ordered — Margarita (Rs 249) and Bloody Mary (Rs 249).

What we like
Food

What we don’t like
Decor
Portions

Rating: ***1/2

Pizza’s stuffed, so are you

What: Sbarro
where: Opposite Diamond Gardens, Chembur
Call: 022 2640 0066
What’s on the menu: Pastas, pizzas, salads, soups and desserts
Drinking: No
Smoking: Yes

Chembur doesn’t have a reputation for being the culinary capital of Mumbai. Which is why it’s surprising that a foreign gourmet pizza chain would choose to open their first joint here. But small mercies are always welcome, so we won’t start now. Situated opposite Diamond Gardens, Sbarro isn’t a placd you’ll easily miss.

Service is cafeteria style, you walk past the glass display cases of freshly baked pizzas, tray in hand, and they pop your selected slices in the oven for a few minutes to reheat. Open barely eight days, the staff have been well briefed about the chain’s history and origins, and know how to sell you a slice. The downside is that they’re instructed to loudly welcome each and every customer, so if it’s rush hour, good luck getting heard. We liked the crunchy veg feast stuffed pizza (Rs 139), overflowing with broccoli, mushrooms and spinach. Full points for freshness.

The equally overloaded chicken sausages and pepperoni pizza (Rs 149) would have been better had they heated it to the right temperature. The margerita pizza, titled New York Style Cheese Pizza was shockingly reasonable at Rs. 59 for a mega slice. It had crisp, wholesome dough that can put most high-end bakeries to shame. The rice and chicken combo (Rs 119) was as tough on the tastebuds as it was on the eyes, a pre-digested mash of tomato sauce with olives and chicken tossed in. Clearly avoidable, unless the necessary redecorating takes place.

What we like
Stuffed pizzas

What we don’t like
No beverage options


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