Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Diva Maharashtracha

The literal translation of Diva Maharashtracha is ‘Light of Maharashtra’. You don’t have to think too much on what I am talking about as it is the new Maharashtrian restaurant opened on January 1, 2007 by “Maharashtra Ratna”- Dr Suhas Awchat and “Maharashtra Gaurav”- Mrs. Deepa Awchat. Like a movie’s first day first show, we were eating here on the restaurant’s opening night.

Diva Maharashtracha is located at Mahim near City Light Theatre, opposite the Mahim Post Office just next to Goa Portuguesa and Culture Curry run by the same “Marathi hosts”. The facade is made to look like a Wada belonging to the Peshwa and is painted silver. It would have been better if it was painted brown to give it a wooden feel as in a Wada. The trees on the road on the either side of the restaurant have ‘mashaals’. A lady dressed in western clothing greets you and asks you if you have a reservation (We had called earlier to book and they had said that they don’t take any reservations??).

You are ushered in with a traditional ‘Namaskar’ by the same Captain who you would have seen before in a tie-shirt-trouser at Goa Portuguesa who now wears a Kurta/Pyjama with a khadi jacket. You pass by sketches on the wall of famous Maharashtrians ( some recognizable and some not ) like Sachin Tendulkar,Mahatma Phule, V Shantaram,Senapati Bapat,Smita Patil,Bal Thackrey,Dada Kondke,Sharad Pawar, Lata Mangeshkar and others. There is a Paithani saree flowing down a wall and all the waiters are wearing the traditional ‘mavali’ dress of a blue kurta-pyjama with a red waist band.

The introduction in the menu says that Diva Maharashtracha wants to go beyond what people think is Maharashtrian cuisine which is limited to Vada pav, Sabudana Khichadi, Missal and Malvani food. Thus they decided to serve Maharashtrian cuisine from Vidharbha, Marathwada, Khandesh, Western Maharashtra, the Ghats, Konkan and Greater Mumbai districts. CKP, Pathare Prabhu, Saraswat, Maratha, Bhandari, Koli, Brahmin and East Indian cuisine would also be served here. The food is Veg and Non Veg but I would cover the vegetarian fare here.

Welcome Drink

The welcome drink we had was a traditional Panhe – a drink of raw mango pulp and as it was not the season for raw mangos was not very refreshing. You can also have Shahaleche Limbu Sarbat (Tender coconut water with lime), Kokum Sarbat (digestive drink made from Kokum) and of course my favorite - Sol Kadhi. The Sol Kadhi here is one of the best served in Mumbai.


The only traditional Maharashtrian soup on the menu is the Tomatoche Saar made from tomato pulp, coconut milk and tempered with chilly, cumin powder and coriander leaves. It was very tasty with a good texture and consistency. The other soups were an extension of the Saar or non traditional soups like Pumpkin Soup, Tomato Beet Saar, Saar Pineapple, Green Peas and Spinach Soup.


Appetizers available are known ones like Kaju Kothambir Wadi, Thalipeeth (but with cheese?),Aluchi Wadi(Colocasia leaves rolled in chick pea flour, steamed and then stir fried), Sabudana Wada, Batata Wada and others like Steamed Hirva Watana Ani Kajuche Modak, Mushroom Modak(with cheese again?),Manik Painjan ( dumpling of wheat and besan with onion, ginger-garlic and spices) and Kolhapuri Sukhe Paneer.

Main Course

You can order Batata Sukhi Bhaji,Watana Batata Flower Sukhi Bhaji,Bharali Wangi ( Stuffed Brinjal), Wangyache Bhareet ( Baingan Bhartha without tomatoes),Dalimbi Usal ( A Koknastha Brahmin dish with vaal(type of a bean) with onion, coconut and goda (sweet) masala. They also have Sukhi (dry) and Oli (wet) Usals and Amtis (Curries) which can be made of peas, masoor, chavali, masoor or moong. (All pulses). They have Pithale (gram dal cooked with onion, green chillies and tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Simple Dal (with just haldi and hing) which is called Varan is available and so is a variation called Ambat – God (sour and sweet) Varan. The Rice dishes avaiable are Masale Bhat with Katachi Amti. Katachi Amti as I understand is made from the Puran which is leftover after making Puran Polis. Sabudana Khichadi has also been listed as a rice item.


Try the Khamang Kakadi which is cucumber and groundnuts with coconut and tempered. The Aambe Dal will taste good in season with raw mango mixed with green gram powder and tempered. They give you the fiery Kolhapuri Thecha which was not at all fiery. You can choose between Bhakri (Thicker chapati made from Jowar or Bajra atta) and Amboli (pancakes made from fermented rice flour and udad dal)


Try the Appe with Ice-Cream which were more like the south Indian Sweet (Uniappam). They also serve Doodhi halwa, Narali Bhaat (sweet coconut rice), Sakhar Bhaat (Sweet rice), Puran Poli and Coconut Karanji.

I didn’t feel very ‘trupta’(contented) with the meal as it did not taste very authentic (other than the Saar and Sol kadhi) and only a Ray of hope of improvement should take me again to the Light of Maharashtra.


Nandita said...

Hey there, I just reviewed this on my blog today and was looking for some other reviews-found your blog...quite interesting and this is very well written :)

amar said...

it wud have been better if u had included items other than the usual usal and sukhi bahaji and aamti etc ........ what abt those delicacies from vidarbha, karhad, ...... varhadi kadhi comes to mind- did u try that???