Monday, 19 August 2013

One Food Experience: The Banana Leaf

I have been thinking of doing something new for my blog. So, yesterday I had gone for a family Raksha Bandhan lunch to the Banana Leaf (Korum Mall, Thane outlet) and I ordered their thaali (again!) and I thought this is the 'one food experience' I would recommend easily to people who plan to come to the Banana Leaf. And voila! I had a new idea for the food blog... "one food experience"!

The whole idea of this new series of blog posts is I will share one dish or food experience that I would recommend at restaurants that I have been to. It can be a drink, an appetizer, a soup, a main course or even a meal combination that I feel should really not be missed, after trying various things at these restaurants! 

So let's start at the beginning of this idea: the thaali experience at Banana Leaf. 

Banana Leaf unarguably serves excellent South Indian cuisine. A good indicator of the excellence of the cuisine available here is that I have often seen many South Indians, including the very-particular-about-their-food Tamilian Brahmins, eat here and relish the dishes! It is like how we Gujaratis will go eat Gujarati thaalis at the really good places. It not only serves your standard known version of South Indian idli-wada-dosa but also great curries, different types of rice dishes and meals from the states in the South of India.

My frequent order here is the thaali and this is the one food experience I would recommend here. It is a great experience of the variety in South Indian cuisine that goes beyond what would be standard orders! 

The thaali here begins with a tangy, spicy, peppery rasam that hits the right place in the throat, clears your sinuses and tantalises your taste buds for the experience ahead. 

Rasam: starting the meal by hitting the right notes! 

Then comes the huge (make that HUGE) plate of food with six (yes, 6) types of vegetables, sambhar, rasam, a mini uttapam, two types of wadai, rice papadams, one sweet (generally payassam), yoghurt, a choice between pooris, neer dosa or Kerala paratha (I highly recommend the Kerala parathas).

The whole thaali  experience

The flaky, soft, layered Kerala parathas

In the end there is a choice of rice between steamed rice, tamarind/ lemon rice (I think this varies as I have seen both options on different visits) or Bisibele bhaat (rice sauteed with vegetables and sambhar masala-like spice). Here again I would recommend the Bisibele bhaat.

The meal ends with a glass of masala chaas that is really yummy! I often end up ordering another glass of it after I finish the one that comes with the thaali.

The thaali costs Rs 275 (plus taxes) and is a limited thaali unlike unlimited Gujarati ones you get at most Gujarati thaali restaurants. However, the quantity is quite a bit and can easily be shared by two people. I shared this one with my brother in true Raksha Bandhan spirit!