On my second visit to this little restaurant things were much the same standard, the format being an all you can eat thali with a wide variety of dishes. I was particularly taken by the little fried lentil balls, and bhindi (okra) was excellent, carefully cooked and entirely avoiding the sogginess that afflicts this dish in so many restaurants. Little puris had lovely texture, as did soft rotis and breads. Yellow dhal was better than I remember it, spicier this time. Alphonso mango syrup, sweetened with a little sugar, was a fine way to finish.
The thali had many dishes, including green pea patties, sandwich dhokla, dal pakoudi, bhindi, malai parwal, corn capsicum, aloo masala, chaowala, meetha dal, meetha kadhi,tikka kadhi, lachko dal. There was wheat roti, puri, corn roti, bajra roti and juwar roti for breads, as well as biscuit bhakhri. There were various chutneys (green chutney, garlic chutney,meetha chutney and coconut chutney) as well as a little raw papaya salad, chilly fry and popadoms. All this food was served until you were full, and all for less than £4. Amazing.
The notes below are from a visit in August 2011.
If there was a prize for the most unpromising restaurant location anywhere this place would probably win. Near a busy commercial market in downtown Mumbai, you approach it via a narrow lane barely wide enough for a car, thronged with people, carts and perhaps the odd cow. Down a grubby corridor is a lift and a flight of stairs, and up these stairs is the restaurant. The decor was very simple, with bare tables and a couple of ceiling fans.
This is a Gujerati restauant serving thali on a steel tray. A little dish of moong bean curry had strikingly distinct flavours from its spice mix to enliven the beans (14/20). A potato curry and gourd curry were competent but less interesting (11/20), but then came an excellent okra dish, lightly cooked and accurately spiced without a hint of the sliminess which so often happens with this ingredient (14/20). Dhokala is a dish of rice and lentils, and there was a good pakora with a tasty spicy lentil filling (12/20). A series of different styles of roti appeared: plain, one with the consistency of a biscuit, another stuffed with sweet jaggery (13/20).
Bhatura bread was also excellent, light and freshly made. A sort of mini samosa called ghughra had a crisp outside and superb green pea spicy filling, again with strikingly vibrant spicing, where each distinct spice could be clearly tasted. This was one of the best Indian vegetarian dishes I have eaten (16/20). Dhal came in regular and sweet forms, and for me these could have had a less watery texture (11/20).
Finally gulab jaman, made from scratch in the kitchen rather than bought in, was genuinely excellent, again one of the best I have eaten (15/20). The head chef Gemayel Hemeram is in fact from Rajasthan, but he can certainly cook Gujerati food. The entire thali cost RS 250 (less than £4). No, I did not miss a decimal point there. The restaurant has been running continuously in family ownership since 1945 and is a hidden gem. My thanks to Rashmi Uday Singh for introducing me to it. I really liked this little place, and according to Rashmi, Alain Passard was also taken with it; I quite understand why.