A thousand different flavours, a hundred different colours, tens of silver vessels, all on one green expanse of a plate. Thalis have been a personal favourite for us for a long time—the thrill of being served bowls and bowls of chutney, pickle, dal, and even dessert is unparalleled. The only thing better than eating refill after refill? Eating them on banana leaves, as is authentic of many parts of coastal and South India! We’ve put together four of the best Banana Leaf Thalis of Bombay, that are all so delicious that you won’t be able to help yourself from licking your leaf clean.
I. Vegetarian South Indian Thali at Hotel Deluxe
Where: No.10-A Pitha Street, PM Road, Opp Citi Bank Horniman Circle, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
Forgive us, but we love this thali so much that we couldn’t help talking about it again. On the leaf in front of you at Hotel Deluxe, you will be served mango pickle, imli chutney, sambar, rasam, a variety of veggies, papad, rice and kheer, in unlimited quantities, of course. If you must satisfy your non-vegetarian cravings (and we always suggest you do) you can opt for the Kerala Chicken as a side too.
Cost: Rs. 350 for two; we don’t know why you’re still waiting.
II. Good Old Andhra Meal at Gonguura
Where: Shop No. 5 & 6, Juhu Ekta Co-operative Society, Juhu Versova Link Rd, Near Juhu Circle, Andheri West.
Simplicity and traditionality go hand in hand in this thali at Gonguura. This meal consists of dal, three types of vegetables, rasam, chutney, sambar, flavoured rice, curd and sweet accompanied by roti/poori, and papad, all of which share the green, smooth backdrop of the banana leaf. As if these aren’t enough, your table is adorned with delicious pickles that accompany your hot rice in the most perfect way.
Cost: Make sure you can’t get enough at Rs. 385.
III. South Indian Meal at A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding
Where: 1st Floor, Lakhamsi Nappu Road, Lal Bahadur Shastri Market, Outside Matunga Railway Station, Matunga East.
Are you ready to stuff yourself with three types of vegetables, rasam, sambhar, dal, curd, pickle, papad, rice, roti, puri, buttermilk and a sweet dish? Indulge in this South Indian Meal on a banana leaf in this restaurant in Matunga. Apart from the sweet dish, you can eat as many quantities of everything on your leaf. Especially delicious are the unlimited meals of piping hot puris, bhaji, sambar, rasam, daalitoya (a special kind of dal), kakdi koshimbir, papad, curd, buttermilk and mango juice. They have rasgullas and gulab jamun that are bound to make you salivate, but you can choose the sweet dish of your choice. The service in this restaurant is rapid; call for anything whilst licking your rasam-covered fingers, and you’ll have it in a split second. You know how popular this restaurant is the minute you step into it - although it holds just tables, it is forever packed with excited, ravenous people.
Cost: Experience heaven on a leaf at Rs. 225.
IV. All the thalis at Hotel Sunny
Where: Shop No. 43, Shell Colony, Shell Colony Road, Chembur (E), Shramjivi Nagar.
We couldn’t pick one; we loved all the Banana Leaf Thalis at Hotel Sunny. However, we do recommend the Beef Chilli Fry and Kerala Chicken Curry, with appams and parathas that are bound to satisfy your hunger pangs for aeons to come. We hope you’re more decisive than we are here. If you aren’t, then just have them all.
Cost: Never make your decision at Rs. 700 for two.
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