Buoyed by my experience at Punjab Grill, I decided to be fair. You can’t havea thali at one place, sing songs about it and seem fair. So, last night, we decided to try another one. I had seen Ego 33’s ad in the newspaper and I called for a reservation. They said just walk in, no reservations needed. But then most people I talked to had not heard of the restaurant. That won’t be a fair fight.
So, we headed out to Shraman, at Ashoka Hotel, which was offering Navratra thalis and had run an ad too. The restaurant itself is quite beautiful, firozi themed interiors, the mandatory government sanctioned peacock on the walls. The most beautiful part was the table itself.
The service was polite, attentive and came with real smiles. We ordered a Navratra thali and a Marwari Thali. I am going to write only about the former one. The thali looked extensive enough, though they have seemed to have missed the sabudana papad which was listed in the menu. I didn’t remind them, either.
Before, I forget to mention, the funniest part was the crowd. Some babus had descended on the restaurant with their very young brood and we felt as if we had walked into someone’s drawing room. They sang happy birthdays etc and occupied the restaurant, while we were rear-ended, literally.
As per the food, let’s start with the curries. The thali had arbi ki subzi and lauki ki subzi both of which had the same tomato gravy – good but hard to tell the difference. I asked for the menu again, so I could identify which is what. There was the mandatory alu ki subzi, which was the normal dry version that you get as a part of the thali. The last curry on the plate was Nargis Paneer which was mild, borderline sweet, may be that is how it is supposed to be. There was no sitaphal, which was a disappointment. And, the curries were all mild and sweet, so it was very very boring to switch between the bowls.
The Samak rice as you can see was overboiled and seemed to have been boiled in one huge batch in the morning. It was dry and came in hard little balls. The kuttu ke atte ki puri was the way they were supposed to be, nothing to write about there. The thali had very dark looking fritters on the side, I guessed they must be the pakoras. They were aloo and paneer deep fried in Kuttu batter. Simple idea, simpler result. There was a bowl of plain curd and a makhane ki kheer for dessert. Both standard fares.
At Rs.499 plus taxes, the thali had exactly the same price as the one at Punjab Grill. But this very average thali does not compare to the 3 course extravaganza that Punjab Grill has made the Navaratra dining experience to be. I am afraid I will have no patience for the standard thalis anymore.