I’ve always thought of college canteens as the place that births of some of the most blasphemous culinary fusions. In fact, my own college canteen had a notorious reputation for dumping an unbelievable amount of Szechwan sauce in every dish on the menu, stuffing noodles into a good old crispy dosa, or taking a perfectly respectable sandwich and turning it into a chocolate pastry of sorts. This urge to experiment with food is not just limited to college canteens it seems. A restaurant in Matunga is famous for its ‘dosa waffles’ — a unique and unimaginable blend of eastern and western cuisine.
In this age of multiculturalism, the culinary world has contributed more than you’d think. But in doing so, they’ve gotten diluted and sometimes tweaked somewhere along the way — leaving behind many cultural nuances and adopting newer ones. Which is why whenever I come across a restaurant — no matter how old or new or tiny it is — that serves authentic food, I am always pleasantly surprised and in a hurry to grab a bite as soon as possible.
Very recently, while wandering through the streets of Santa Cruz (Bandra or Khar — one can never tell), I chanced upon a ‘mini Kerala’ of sorts. Serving scrumptious Kerala fare at extremely pocket friendly prices, Theeram restaurant on Church road has been a secret for far too long. And it’s about time the residents of Mumbai discover this little eatery.
Run by Amit Srivastava, an amazing host who makes every meal a heartwarming experience, Theeram’s food is light on not just your pocket but your stomach too — which in my opinion, is always a true mark of good home-like food. The restaurant’s speciality is the Theeram special Thali, which serves 3 vegetable preparations, rice, papad, fish curry, sambhar, and rasam. Their Kerala parotta too is quite a winner and goes perfectly with the Chicken Ularthiyathu. Theeram also has a number of diverse fish preparations on their menu — each one more glorious than the other. We personally love and recommend the Kerala Style Fish Molly.
Located close to the well-known Our Lady Of Egypt Church in the area, the restaurant is easier to find by the night but during the day is when you’ll encounter less of a crowd and can enjoy your meal in peace. The restaurant also serves a whole range of ‘evening specials’ that includes Kappa Chicken Mix, Kozhipidi, and Chily Parotta. We’d also recommend the Unlimited Lunch Thali which is served on a typical banana leaf. The thali consists of rice, sambhar, vegetable dishes, rasam, butter milk, curd chilli, fish fry, and payassam. For the vegetarians too, there’s a whole section of dishes that includes Veg. Stew, Masala Curry, Onion Tomato Roast etc.
With its neatly done interiors and hygienic supremacy, each table at Theeram comes with a bottle of red, spice infused water and typical terracotta Kerala style pickle jars with matching salt and pepper shakers. We’d also recommend trying their beautiful Chicken stew for its vibrant colours (food bloggers, that’s your cue!) and delicious flavours that explode in your mouth. Unlike many other small eateries, Theeram’s specialty lies in how particular the restaurateurs are with their garnishes. They pay utmost attention to not just the taste of the food, but also how each dish looks. Moreover, for all the Mallus in the city who miss home — Theeram’s your chance to drop by, feast happily, indulge in homely conversations with the staff, and then head back to your regular life.
Where: Church Road, Santacruz East Near Our Lady of Egypt Church, Santacruz East.
Feature Image Courtesy: HungryForever.com
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