Padharo Mhare Desh! This is the hospitality that Rajasthan reflects in its culture and food. The royal Rajasthani meal has been one of the most sort things not just for a food fanatic but for the masses. Maharaja Bhog that boosts of large Rajasthani / Gujarati spread does have a few attributes to make you feel royal is what we concluded.
We went to them over an lunch invite and here is the tale.
FROM THE DESIGNERS PERSPECTIVE!
This place is a standalone joint opposite Juhu beach and cannot be missed. You enter to the view of tables arranged with massive sized Thalis comprising of multiple bowls. The decor is elite and well lit giving you a feel of a fine dine. The walls are clad with art that depicts spices (khada masala) to give the eternal sence of traditional rajasthani and gujarati food. The sofas and chairs are upholstered elegantly. The pillars are illuminated in yellow light to add more grace.
DRINK IT BABY!
As soon as one is seated on the table the servers line up to fill your plate with delicacies. Firstly a royal welcome drink is served which is made of saffron and sandalwood. It is served in a small quantity which is sufficient for this flavourfully rich drink. Along with the meal they also serve buttermilk. The buttermilk is made with fresh curd and is rich with spices.
FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD!
The servers one after the other appear on your table with a variety of preps and in no time your plate is full. They started with serving Farsans which included Potali Kachori, Veg Handwa Dhokla and special Pizza Papdi Chaat. Along with these were served sweet chutney and green chutney. The potali chaat was interesting and tasted well. Handwa was neglected amongst other delicacies. There are so many things in your plate at a time that it becomes difficult to decide what to savour first. Pizza papdi chaat was another interesting dish with papdi being the base and pizza toppings being used on it making it a fusion dish. Certainly a good try!
Amongst the vegetables we first tasted Tiranga Rasgulla ki sabji. This is the first time we had a vegetable made of famous Bengali sweet, Rasgulla. Well we loved it. It was difficult to guess the rasgulla in the veggie until we were told the name of the dish. Interesting preparation!
Next we tried Thali Petha Pitla. This one is a Maharshtrian speciality dish and is well prepared at Maharaja bhog. This dish has the main ingredient as gramflour. We enjoyed this one for its correct consistency, cooking time and seasoning.
Aloo Patal Bhaji was a potato preparation with thin gravy as its name reads. Patal in Marathi means watery. This one was average.
Palak Rajma was a decent try. Rajma beans were placed in palak gravy trying to make a new combination but we are fans of the stereotype palak paneer.
Along with the veggies, Dals and Kadhis were served. Each had an option of Rajasthani (sour) or Gujarati (sweet) variants. We chose Rajasthani options for the love of Rajasthani food we posses being children of the land.
All these are accompanied with hot thin Fulkas (roasted Indian breads made of wheat flour) which can be customised to be crispy or soft on request. These are so delightful that you can pop them in multiple numbers. Jowari rotlas were served with jaggery and desi butter. This is a desirable dish in itself. Paneer veg parathas were average.
In rice they have two options. We were offered a choice between steamed rice and khichdi. We chose khichdi. Now khichdi comes with a generous amount of ghee that the server pours in the name of Mehmaan Nawazi. We are diet conscious(wink wink) but we let them generously pour ghee as taste is what we live for. Khichdi goes very well with Kadhi, ghee, papad and pickle. We totally relished this one. By now our individual stomaches were shouting, “I am about to burst” but right then we spotted sweet dishes in our plates.
Sweets included Urad dal halwa and Aamrakhand. Well the Urad dal halwa was loaded with ghee but required a little more roasting. It was a little too sweet. The Aamrakhand was average and doesn’t require any special mention.
To end it all, a staff came with a jug of water and a pot for us to wash our hands.
HOW MAY I HELP YOU!
The service is fast and the servers are attentive. There is a manager on floor who takes care of your needs throughout your meal. They have a unique way of addressing their servers. The indicate numbers through their fingers and the required server is on your table. Inspite of all this management they still took a lot of time and repeat reminders for our crisp Fulkas, which affected our experience. Rest all went fine. Having visited Chokhi dhaani and other thali places in Rajasthan and Gujarat, we had high standards set for mehmaan nawazi which was way too higher than here but considering the metropolitian city they stand in, this was apart from a usual dining experiences.
HAWK EYE VIEW!
The founder and director of brand Maharaja Bhog, Mr. Ashish Maheshwari has done agood job setting up a food chain which serves home like food at affordable rates in a luxurious ambiance. The quality of food is good and the taste is pleasant to the most extent. Only thing that could require more attention is the training of staff for them to be more prompt and courteous. Also we observed the staff performs rituals like greeting you and saying thank you but are not receptive to feedback.
The menu is different everyday so dishes keep changing but from the standard dishes the stars are chandan and kesar welcome drink, hot fulkas, Kadhi (Rajasthani) and Khichdi.