Rajdhani is a vegetarian Thali restaurant that specializes in Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine. Being that I am Gujarati and my husband is Rajasthani, Rajdhani seemed like the perfect combination for us ;). With over 34 locations across India and 72 different rotating menus boasting 22,464 (!!) items, we were intrigued to find out more. We stopped by their Palladium outlet in Mumbai for dinner with friends last week to see how the meal would unfold – here’s a rundown of our Thali experience!
For the uninitiated, a Thali meal consists of a massive plate (thali) complete with smaller bowls in which you are served everything from start to finish. There is no actual menu, but rather you are served an assortment of small appetizers, different vegetables, breads, daals, rice and desserts by a rotating coterie of servers carrying various pots and trays. Considering that I typically have such a hard time deciding what to order, the thali format lets me try a bit of everything! Also, you don’t have worry about wasting food. Portions are typically small, but you may ask for as many refills as you’d like. This allows you to taste first and eat more later.
Every table is served under the watchful eye of a “Captain” who is there to ensure you enjoy your “food journey.” Captain Ratan opened our proceedings by signaling for a server who walked around the table with a beautiful copper water pot for us to wash our hands. We then began our meal with a portion of Sev Puri, Dhokla and Pattice. These were served with green chutney and ambli (tamarind) chutney. I found the pattice had a bit too much of a fennel sweetness to it, but the Sev Puri was a winner. The flat crispy puri topped with potatoes, tomatoes, onions, sev was just right, with a well-balanced mix of sweet and spicy chutneys (I confess had a second helping of this one).
For the entrée, we were served 5 different Subji’s(vegetables), 2 Daals, Kadhi and Daal Bati. The vegetable dishes included Aloo (potato), Gobi (cauliflower), Paneer with capsicum, Channa (chickpeas), and one made with besan flour dumplings. These were all authentically prepared and tasty, with the channa being my favorite. The Daals (lentil soups) included one sweet and one savory. I tend to dislike sweetness in my entrees, so I did not particularly enjoy the sweet daal or the kadhi (yogurt and besan based soup). But, as I said before, the great thing about the Thali meal is that you can just skip the things you don’t like, and can personalize the meal to your taste. The Rajasthani Daal Bati was an authentic traditional broken up bati (dense buttery bread) topped with savory daal. To accompany the subji’s and daals, we were given a wide assortment of breads and rice; including Phulkas, Rotla, Puri’s, Pulao and Khicheri. Of course, all of this was served with different pickles, papads and chaas (lassi) to wash it all down.
At this point, most of us were very full. But you definitely can’t end a Rajasthani or Gujarati meal without something sweet! Thus, we tasted Kheer (rice pudding), Mohanthal (a ghee and nut based sweet), Rose Sandwich, and a sugar syrup fried biscuit served with Rabri. I personally do not really enjoy such sugary sweets, but they offered a wide enough selection to please most palates.
If you are planning a long shopping trip at the Palladium Mall in Lower Parel, Rajdhani is a great place to break for an easy and affordable meal. While it can be a little hectic at times (there’s always something or the other being dropped off on your plate) and the full veg fare may not appeal to strict carnivores, there is certainly something fun about the Thali experience that it worth experiencing. The service is exceptionally friendly, and the staff seem to be trained to encourage you try “just a little bit more” of everything. All of this can quickly add up, so as a final recommendation, make sure you plan time for a nap after. ;)
Lunch: Rs. 323 (Mon-Thu) or Rs. 374 (Fri-Sun)
Dinner: Rs. 374
Rajdhani Thali Restaurant
Level 3, High Street Phoenix
Lowel Parel, Mumbai
T: 40802118, 40802120