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India on a platter

On the occasion of Independence Day, get some national integration in your tummy by visiting these pocket-friendly places for delicacies from Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and others in between.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2012 15:21 IST
Romi Purkayastha
Romi Purkayastha
Hindustan Times

On the occasion of Independence Day, get some national integration in your tummy by visiting these pocket-friendly places for delicacies from Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and others in between.


Khane Khas

Junction of 16th and 33rd Road, Bandra (W)

Average Meal for Two: Rs.800

Call: 26006970

An unassuming dhaba-style eatery with quaint signs and a happy sardar always ready with a warm welcome, this place has been serving home-style Punjabi food and their Special Holi Thandai since 1989. From their simple and light Chicken Curry with Aloo, and Paneer Bhurjee, to their rich and flavourful Bheja Masala Roll and Sookha Mutton, the food here smacks of Punjab in every bite. Try their slightly spicy biryani served in earthen pots and the deliciously smoky and succulent Tandoori Chicken.

Chicken curryAssam


Assam Bhavan, Vashi

Average Meal for Two: Rs.400

Call: 27810888

Not many people know of this place, but there it sits humbly, inside a pretty well known landmark and busy area in Vashi — the Assam Bhavan. Named after a river near Guwahati, this place, originally just a canteen for in-house guests, is now a fully functional, though small, restaurant. It is simple, value-for-money and honest about its authentic ‘Osomiya’ roots. The spicy Chicken Jeera Jhaluk is rich and wholesome. The aromatic bright yellow fish curry, Sarson Rohu, and the tangy fresh-water fish gravy, Rohu Tenga, remind you of the deep and bountiful Brahmaputra. There are veg and non-veg thalis to choose from as well, with prices that haven’t changed since the ’90s. The much-loved sweet dish ‘Pitha’ will add cheer for those with a sweet tooth.

World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade
Average Meal for Two: Rs.800
Call: 9821115784
A houseboat-style eatery with flowing curtains and copper vessels, this little place, tucked inside the WTC, has some really delicious Kashmiri food on offer. The Nadier Palak (lotus stem and spinach), Rajma are lovely, the traditional Dum Aloo Kashmiri is steeped in flavours, and the Goshtaba (meat balls in yoghurt curry) is simply amazing. Virender Takoo of Poush says, “We keep Kashmir alive in our hearts through our language and our food, and what drives us is sharing the rich heritage of ‘paradise on earth’ on a Trami (large copper serving plate) with the people of India, and the world.” For a feel of the Dal Lake, just lean back against the embroidered cushions and sip on a herb-infused Kashmiri Quawah tea.

Uttar Pradesh
Kakori House
Bandra West, Inorbit Malad, Mahim
Average Meal for Two: Rs.750
Call: 65229211
Mostly a takeaway, what this place lacks in comfort, it makes up for in the food. Team up the almost-gooey Galawti Kebabs or the beautifully flavored, Kakori Kebabs with tender Warqi Parathas. Or sink your teeth into the Saundhe Aloo, stuffed and cooked to perfection in the tandoor. Their Achari Paneer or Chicken is great, and so is their Dum Biryani. And if you have a sweet tooth, finish off with the rich goodness of the Shahi Tukda. This place will keep you coming back for more.

Andhra Pradesh and Kerala
Dakshin Culture Curry
: Kataria Road, Mahim
Average Meal for Two: Rs.1000
Call: 24440202
One would normally not club these two distinctly different cuisines together, but if you get the pick of the good stuff from both states under one roof, and get to cheer up with bright Kathakali masks, kitschy film posters and Tanjore paintings while you savour you meal, then why not? For the spicier Andhra bouquet, the red Veinchina Paneer or Chicken, and the Prawns Andhra style are great, as are the Banana Flower Vadas.
For the Kerala goodies, the green Pollichathu in veg or non-veg is a good start. Then, head straight for the simple yet flavorful coconut-milk based Ishtew with fresh and hot Appams. The traditional dessert Wattalappam is a good way to end a meal that will surely remind you of swaying palms and pristine beaches.

New Martins
Strand Road, Colaba
Average Meal for Two: Rs.350
Call: 22029606
If simple Goan food is what you want, head to New Martins. This small 4-and-a-half table eatery attracts hungry regulars, who work or live in the vicinity, and nostalgic foodies on returning visits, who are all happy to share tables with perfect strangers as they tuck into their beloved Pork Vindaloo, Goan Sausage Fry, Fish Curry Rice and other mouth-watering dishes scrawled on the chalkboard that serves as a communal menu. A must-try is the Roast Pork served with a yellow, dipping gravy. The veg options are limited, so spare your vegetarian friends and go with your hardcore carnivorous gang. Try not to linger since there are usually many hungry people outside, waiting for a seat. You will be surprised at how little you end up spending here, even if you order everything on the menu.

West Bengal
Bhojohori Manna
Off Oshiwara,
Link Road
Average Meal for Two: Rs.800
Call: 65993385
Although there are many places that are happily riding the wave of Bengali food frenzy, this one is where you get a good balance of home-style food, authentic ingredients, robust flavours and good prices. Do try at least one of their rotating specials listed on the blackboard. Don’t miss the Mutton Kobiraji, the signature Kosha Mangsho, the Mustard Hilsa or Fish Paturi, and the traditional and wholesome Posto. The in-season Notun Gur ice-cream is very good, while Patishapta is a dessert only loving moms make painstakingly at home, rarely available commercially. Enakshi Chakraborty, foodie-cook-manager-ring master says, “Our attempt is to bring a piece of Kolkata to Mumbai-ites, in every aspect of the restaurant—we want you to taste Kolkata in the grain, the masalas and the fresh river produce that we serve every day”.

Swati Snacks
Opposite Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo
Average Meal for Two: Rs.600
Call: 65808405
Any Gujarati worth his Dhokla will tell you that Gujarati food goes well beyond, well, Dhoklas. So by all means try them here, but save enough space in your tummy for the ‘real’ stuff. The Panki—delicately steamed pancakes wrapped in banana leaves—are worth the wait. The spicy Besan Pitla with the Thalipith is simply delicious. And the Fada Ni Khichdi is a hot favourite in any season. If you are not on a guilt trip, try the very loaded, but heavenly, Malai Malpua. This is what Gujarati food is all about, in its varied textures and flavours. Which is why this place is packed, with very long queues outside, every single day.

Nirmal Lifestyle, Phoenix Market City, Palladium and R City Mall
Average Meal for Two: Rs650
Call: 40802118
Thalis and traditions never came together as seamlessly and beautifully as at Rajdhani. They have several branches in Mumbai, and every branch consistently delivers a hot, tasty and a mind-bogglingly varied spread, served with amazing speed and efficiency. The care and hospitality shown is a famous tourist-friendly characteristic of the state. The traditional Dal Bati Churma served with a generous drizzle of pure ghee, the fresh and tangy Gattey Ki Subzi, the creamiest Shrikhand, and the seasonal delicacy of Aamras will not just please but also linger on your palate. Warning: This unlimited thali may re-define your capacity to eat.

Tamil Nadu
Mani’s Lunch Home
Telang Road, Matunga
Average Meal for Two: Rs.250
Call: 2412 7188
This is almost an institution by itself, feeding authentic south Indian fare to Mumbai-ites since 1937. Apart from the holy trinity of dosa-idli-wada, this place serves up specials like Semiya Pulav, Avial and even the nutritious Addai Dosa, along with an unlimited supply of a delicious, hot Sambhar and a spicy Chutney. For lunch or dinner, opt for the traditional thali served on a banana leaf, and eat with your fingers for an authentic experience. For a hot and fresh breakfast, get in nice and early at 6.30 am and do have the Bournvita on the menu, apart from the age-old favourite of filter coffee, served bubbling hot and fragrant in a steel tumbler.

First Published: Aug 15, 2012 13:28 IST