Padharo Mhare Des! This literally translates to ‘please come to our country’. With a tagline that is so warm and convivial and a welcome that is even more warm-hearted, Panchavati Gaurav offers so much more than one of the best thalis in the country!
Being a vegetarian and a big thali enthusiast, this restaurant had a natural attraction for me. So, the invitation to relish their fare was aptly timed – just when my taste buds were craving for some seasonal summer desserts (read aamras!).
The tradition of a thali (a round platter serving a variety of dishes) in India is as ancient as the Indus Valley Civilization. And it is a tradition and custom that is likely to last just that many more epochs. I assure you, thali lovers will vouch for that!
Thus, riding high on an adrenaline rush to discover the best thalis, we started our cultural and tasteful culinary journey at this Gujarati and Rajasthani thali concept restaurant, Panchavati Gaurav, situated on the second floor of the swanky and posh Korum Mall in Thane.
A warm namaste (a welcome with folded hands) at the door by the staff was enough to light up the rest of the afternoon and set the tone for the warm hospitality we were to receive. I immediately took to the décor and ambience, which are along the same traditional Gujarati and Rajasthani theme exuding warmth and simplicity. The walls are decorated with colourful Rajasthani dolls holding musical instruments and pots in hand, relics which immediately transport you back to the imperial land of the maharajas – Rajasthan. Our appetite was slowly building up.
Once we were ushered to our seats, the friendly staff started filling our thalis with items on the menu of the day. Masala chhaas was the welcome drink offered to beat the summer heat. Farsans of the day were corn rolls and dhoklas. The Rajasthani staple, dal bati churma, was the best I have had in a long time. And there were a variety of mouth-watering dishes like paneer tikka masala, bhindi masala, aloo matar rassawala, and chhole chana masala, which provided a healthy balance to the perfect ensemble of dishes.
The waiters ensured that our thalis remained replenished till the end of the meal. There was a choice of breads like rotis, theplas (smeared with ghee) & puris, jeera rice and yummy yet extremely healthy khichadi (with a sprinkling of ghee again). Rajasthani dal and Gujarati kadi were the perfect accompaniments for the rice and theplas.
Extending a special gesture of hospitality to us, the staff served us masala papads and a traditional Rajasthani dish that I tasted for the first time, papad ki subzi (both of which were outside the menu). The special keri (raw mango) pickle kept our meal flavorful with its sweet and sour tanginess – totally unmissable!
The sweets and desserts were the best and most enjoyable part of our hearty meal. They served us the most delectably delicious pineapple halwa, crisp kesari malpuas, and unlimited ladles of aamras. By the end of it, we felt pampered to the core! The thalis are reasonably priced with discounts on Tuesdays and Fridays. All you need to do is go with an empty stomach (and an unlimited appetite) to devour their lip-smacking dishes and desserts.