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adventure — By Vawn on March 12, 2010 at 1:06 am
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Where to find the best thali in Mumbai

There are many reasons to travel to India, and food is one of them – despite its reputation for Delhi Belly. While dishes vary across the country – from the seafood curries of Kerala to the tandoori flavours of Punjab – one common dish you’ll find almost everywhere is the thali.

This is essentially an all-you-can-eat meal served on a large stainless steel plate with small stainless steel bowls that are continuously filled with food until you’re ready to burst.

A thali includes items such as potato curry and dhal (curried lentils), a variety of pickles, chutneys and relishes, as well as salads, rice and chapati smothered in ghee. One of the best thali restaurants in Mumbai doesn’t look like much from the outside (in fact, it looks a bit sketchy), but has what’s considered possibly the best thali in Mumbai – perhaps in all of India.

Located in southern Mumbai in the area known as Kalbadevi, Shree Thakkar Bhojanalay serves a Gujarati-style thali (different regions have different variations). In Gujarat, almost 90 per cent of the population is vegetarian, due in part to the prevalence of the Jain religion, so staple foods revolve around lentils, chickpeas and wheat. This particular restaurant is entirely vegetarian, but even if you’re an avid meat-eater, you won’t leave with an empty stomach.

You eat a thali with your right hand (no utensils), since the left is used for unsanitary pursuits. It does take some practice to rip a piece of naan with one hand and wrap it around a slippery piece of potato, but it gets easier with time – though you can always revert to a fork if necessary.

Shree Thaker Bhojanalay
Address: 31 Dadiseth Agyari Lane, off Kalbadevi Road, Mumbai
Tel: 2201 1232

Tip: Make your way down the crowded street, look for the sign and climb a darkened staircase to the second floor where you’ll find the entrance to the restaurant. The food (and service) more than make up for what may be lacking in ambience.

Photo Copyright @ 2010 VH Media

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