Tag Archives: All you can eat

Rajdhani, Mumbai – Where a Vegetarian Thali Rocks

Rajdhani Thali
Source: http://www.go-nxg.com/

By Lakshmi:

Growing up in Mumbai with a plethora of Gujarati friends, I absolutely loved the food at their homes.  Many of these friends had “Maharajs” or cooks in their home, who cooked for the extended family of parents, siblings, their spouses and kids who all lived under the same roof.  Food was abundant, the cuisine vegetarian with the perfect palate pleasing combination of sweet, spicy, sour and salty at the same time.

There is many a restaurant in Mumbai that recreates this traditional Gujarati Thali (plate).  For a fixed price, you get to eat unlimited quantities of food, all served at your table.  The waiters are incredibly efficient and observant, always watching discreetly to see if something is done on your plate, so they can appear with more.

On my last couple of trips to Mumbai, I discovered Rajdhani.  This chain has outlets throughout India and claims to have 72 different rotating menus with 22,464 delicacies from Gujarat and Rajasthan.  Never knew you could have that much variety at one restaurant!

Now to our experience.  We ate at multiple branches and the food always hit all the right notes.  Let me warn you that on weekends, the place has a very very long line, so your best bet of eating with no wait is hitting it on a weeknight.  First, a waiter comes by with an urn of water for you to wash your hands.  Next you are served an an assortment of appetizers, followed by fresh breads with an assortment of curries, rice and of course dessert.  All accompanied by a yogurt drink (chaas) which is the perfect cooling antidote to the spicy, hot food.  And when you are done, you can ask for paan for a token price (that sweet betel leaf confection) which is the traditional way to end a meal.

On our many visits, our appetizers included muthias (fenugreek leaves mixed with chick pea flour and deep fired), dhoklas (steamed cakes of rice or chick pea flour) and dahi vada (deep fried lentil balls soaked in a spiced yogurt sauce).  The curries are too many to mention and the desserts included rasgulla (milk balls in sugar syrup), moong halwa (a lentil based dessert flavored with cardamom and saffron) and fruit salad.

So, why chose Rajdhani over a plethora of options?  First, if you are in Mumbai, you’ve got to try the local cuisine which is so different from what most Indian restaurants serve around the world.  Second, for a price of 500 rupees, a couple can eat to their heart’s content.  And the final reason is to absolutely go and eat like a local where the locals eat.

To learn more and get enticed, please visit their website at

http://www.rajdhani.co.in/index.html

Vatan – Awesome, Authentic, Pricey Gujarati Indian Food in New York City

Vatan Entre Plate

By Lakshmi:

For many years, I have heard from local friends who hail from the Gujarat region of India that the best place to sample authentic, Gujarati, vegetarian food in the tri-state area is at Vatan in New York City.

So, a few weeks ago, we decided to give the place a try.  As soon as we entered Vatan, the decor and ambiance stood out.  Welcoming us into the restaurant was a huge idol of Lord Ganesha.  The entire place was set up like an authentic village from Gujarat, with trees, thatched roof huts, and low seating.  And just like at a home, you are asked to remove your shoes prior to sitting down for a meal.

A few facts you should know before going to Vatan.

– The food is vegetarian.  No meat is served.

– The meal is a set meal.  Which means that other than drinks, you don’t have to order anything.

– It is an all you can eat meal, but not a buffet.  You get unlimited refills of whatever you like.

– You can ask your meal to be mild, medium or hot.

– If you have dietary restrictions, you simply let them know and they bring your trays pre-populated with food you can eat.

– The meal is not cheap.  It is $32.00 per person and drinks are extra.

– The place is only open for dinner, which is a good thing, since you can eat little all day and then indulge in this repast.

Now to the actual meal itself.  First, we were brought a tray with an assortment of appetizers.  This included green chilly bhajis (green chillies deep fried in batter), batata vada (a spicy potato ball, dipped in batter and deep fried), dhokla (steamed chick pea flour cakes), ragda patties (potato balls with a spicy sauce), dahi batata puri (a yogurt, lentil street food), a chick pea salad, and more.  (There is so much, that it is easy to lose track of what was served!)

You can have seconds and thirds of appetizers, but you need to save some space for the entres.  The entre tray comes with puris (fried bread) with an assortment of vegetables, plain rice, a rice lentil combo, papad and kadhi.  The food is simply yummy and while it is difficult to polish off such a big meal, we seemed to have done justice to the food presented.  There was an added bonus for me.  Siddhi (with her gluten challenges) and Sathya (with her picky eating habits) both loved the meal and devoured most of what was put in front of them (they brought Siddhi bajra roti, a gluten-free bread).

Yes, there is dessert at the end of this meal: mango ice cream. And if you are so inclined, they offer masala chai and coffee, a perfect finale to a lovely evening.

If you are in the New York city area and craving for an Indian meal that is off the beaten track, Vatan is a lovely discovery.

To learn more about Vatan, click here.

http://www.vatanny.com/