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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A mention of south Indian food and the first (and only) thing you think of is idli-dosa. But, Thangabali will change your perception towards the cuisine, says Trisha Ghoroi

Located close to a busy street, Thangabali, with its eye-catching entrance, welcomes you in for an authentic taste of South Indian cuisine. As you enter the restaurant, cute caricatures and beautiful pieces of art draw your attention. A huge map on one wall allows you to explore the region from which the food has originated. With a view to encourage the traditional method of eating by hand, Thangabali serves food for which you don’t require knives or forks. They also serve water in copper vessels, which we were told have health benefits. Apart from that, they lend a traditional feel to the place. The only thing we missed were the banana leaf plates.

The restaurant isn’t as quite as you would expect, but the classical south Indian music that plays in the background gives you a sense of calmness and relaxes you, making it the perfect place to grab a meal at the end of a long day. The lighting at the restaurant was a bit too bright, and we thought it made our food appear more on the orange side. As you cosy up beside the glass windows on one side of the restaurant, which give it an open feel, sip on some filter kappi and enjoy the downpour.

We decided to seat ourselves at a small table, but it was not the most comfortable option; opt for a booth if you visit in a big group. We were intrigued by the menu that was attached to a cherava, a traditional coconut grater, and we couldn’t wait to begin our fare.

Southern delicacies
Browsing through the vast menu that included dishes from filter coffee and buttermilk to several varieties of dosa and a spread of main course options, we were already hungry. As it was a rainy day, we decided to warm ourselves up with a glass of Filter Kappi (Rs 70) first, and with the right amount of sweetness and consistency, we were off to a decent start. From the starters menu, we decided to try the Paneer Bhurji Uthappam (Rs 220), and we couldn’t wait to dig in as soon as it was placed on our table. The soft and spicy paneer folded between the uthappam was steaming hot and loaded with flavour. The dish was soft on the inside, but the outer layer was golden-brown and had the perfect crunch, much to our delight. 

Since we were in the mood for some sea food, we decided to order Prawns Theeyal (Rs 350), which is served with rice in a miniature kadai. The gravy was spicy and the dish had a generous helping of prawns. Served with fluffy rice — also known as red rice in Kerala — the spicy curry lifted our palettes and the prawns were tender and soft to taste. 

On the chef’s recommendation, we tried the popular Chicken Chettinad (Rs 250). With extra spice and lots of oil, this is definitely on our guilty pleasure list. You can have the dish with any Indian bread on their menu like neer dosa, paratha or pao, but we decided to go with fluffy rice. The chunks of chicken had a melt-in-the-mouth tender texture and the spice level was high but bearable. Overall, the dish was scrumptious.

After all the spicy food, we were craving something sweet and couldn’t resist ordering the Caramel Custard (Rs 90). The custard was creamy, but we felt that it was overly sweet, even for someone with a sweet tooth like us. You can opt for kulfi or falooda from their menu as well.

The verdict
Thangabali is bringing a different cuisine to Mumbai, a city obsessed with western food and drink. We’d like to say that it’s a nice place to enjoy a family dinner, and if you love spicy food, this is the place to head to. The food is exceptional for the price, and we love the chutney tray that they serve, with three types of chutney — a tangy, a sweet and a spicy one — which will help you balance your food the way you like. They also have a breakfast menu that’s available from 8am to 11am, making it perfect for any kind of meal. So, if you’re looking for a true taste of the South, head over with your friends and family for a scrumptious time at Thangabali.

Where: Shop 3/4/5, Ground Floor, Manmohan Bhavan, Takandas Kataria Marg, Mahim

Price for two: Rs 800 

Alcohol served: No

Contact: 24474499

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