Sunday 19 August 2018

“Unity in Diversity - 29 states- all united in 1 thick gravy” - Ala

29, Malad West       2/5

Address: 11, Padma Nagar, Link Rd, Evershine Nagar, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400064

Specialty:  Vegetarian Food from 29 states of India
Type of Restaurant: All day restaurant
The details above are from the restaurant/their website and are subject to change at their discretion
Price Range: 1000/- for two with one non-alcoholic beverage each. Exclusive of applicable taxes and charges. They levy a discretionary 8% service charge. We chose to exercise our discretion. Read on to know why.
There was much ado about nothing. We were really excited to try this one. The bubble that was our excitement burst with a single pin prick called “thick gravy”
The moment you enter, you realize the necessity of the “Swacch Bharat” campaign. There are flies just about everywhere. Run of the mill wood and steel furniture. Open kitchen, overcrowded, nothing to write home about. The only aesthetically pleasing thing was the carved wooden swing in the waiting area.
Life’s Good, but it’s not perfect
Starters: Paanki Chutney: Paanki is a Gujrati snack, which is essentially a rice flour pancake cooked between banana leaves. Visually appealing, the dish lacked flavour and texture. There was no seasoning whatsoever. A bland start to the meal, it wasn’t as light as it should have been. That’s the reason the green chutney overpowered the dish.
Maroi Nakuppi Bora: Maroi Nakuppi is Manipuri for garlic chive and Bora is pakoda. The menu says it comes with a tomato mint dip. We didn’t get it. The batter was heavy and doughy; the only flavour that came across was gram flour. The dish was difficult to finish. Your neighborhood pakoda-wala would probably do a better job.

Mains: Dhanbadi Do Saalan - Twin gravies served with a butter kulcha . The saalan is the result of the Mughal influence on Dhanbadi cuisine. The gravies were tasty, the kulcha or flatbread was ok. What was missing was Dhanbad. The abundant use of red and green capsicum is reflective neither of Dhanbad nor of Mughlai cuisine.
Bhuna Kofta Curry with Kerala Paratha This chef’s special was just one more thick gravy, garnished with cream and coriander. This had no trace of Kerala. Coconut in some form: oil, roasted and ground or milk is an essential part of Keralite cuisine, along with the curry leaves and spices. It appeared all of these were vacationing on the backwaters. Had this not been served with a Kerala paratha, it could have very well been a Punjabi dish. The vegetable koftas were soft and the paratha was ok. It was served scrunched up, so we couldn’t tell if they got the distinctive layers right.
Dessert: We had Carrot or Gajar Halwa, Doodhi or Bottlegourd Halwa served with Rabdi in an earthen pot. Served with love, this was utterly disappointing. Despite 2 sets of sweet teeth at the table, we couldn’t get through a single serve. The dish had been plated what seemed like ages ago, soaking up all the moisture, leaving behind dry overly sweet, bordering on inedible carrot halwa, passable Bottlegourd Halwa and an okayish rabdi.
Drinks: They don’t serve alcohol. They don’t have a great selection of non-alcoholic beverages. We ordered a Kala Khatta Sherbat which was below average. No childhood memories were brought back, as promised on the menu.
Service wise, the servers are courteous. The chef was too shy to make an appearance. He let his food do the talking, unfortunately it didn’t say much.
Insider tips
The concept may be food from 29 states, expect the same old thick gravies base, with random vegetables tossed in, served in ”multi-cuisine” or “Indian “ restaurants for years.
Our advice to the restaurant is vegetarianism is a choice and not an obligation. Don’t make your customers exercise that choice elsewhere.  The concept looks great on paper, the execution needs serious work.
What to wear Anything Casual and carry a fly swatter if possible.

"We customize everything to suit the Indian palate"-Siddarth K,Sous Chef

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