Monday, October 29, 2007

Madhavashram and Modaks

Little did Dhondu Vishnu Savale and Parshuram Pandurang Mahajan know that hundred years later Madhavashram would be the only ‘khanaval’ serving ‘brahmani’ style’ pure vegetarian Maharashtrian food in South Mumbai. Others like Narayan Bhojanalaya near Mangalwadi and Puran Poli House at Mugbhat closed down years back. Vinay Health Home, B.Tambe, Panshikar and Kolhapuri Chivda are not ‘khanavals’ but restaurants that serve snacks or meals.

Madhavashram was opened in 1908 by these two gentlemen who hailed from Are, a village in the Ratnagiri district of the Konkan region. They started a small place in Zaoba Wadi at Thakurdwar, moved into an one storied lodging and boarding place at Mohun building near Majestic and finally settled at their current location on Parekh Street near the Girgaum Court in 1917 where the third generation continues to run this lodging and boarding place.

Ramesh Parshuram Mahajan remembers the long struggle that his grand uncle and father went through to establish and successfully run Madhavashram. As they wanted to use only fresh ingredients, they purposefully set up a farm at Saphale near Virar and all items were made by using home grown vegetables and milk from this farm. Mahajan continues to monitor the food cooked by checking on the taste of each item prepared. His daughter Mrs Gauri S. Velankar has already been inducted into the day to day running the place.

Madhavashram serves unlimited meals at Rs 45 with two vegetables, varan, rice, chapati or puri. Don’t miss their Modak meals (also unlimited) priced at Rs 80 which are available only on Sankashti Chaturthi days which come by once in a month. On Sankashti Chaturthi one is supposed to fast for the whole day and break it only after moon rise.

Today is Sankashti Chaturthi and Madhavashram for the first time will host a buffet meal on their terrace where people can see the moon rise and break the fast. A typical Sankashti Chaturthi meal here would not contain any garlic or onion and comprises of two vegetables,varan, rice,masale bhat,amti, farsan (batata wada or alu wadi), buttermilk, chutney, papad, pickle, koshimbir and ukdiche modak. Ukdiche modak are sweet modaks with a coconut and jaggery filling. They are made from rice flour, steamed and are best eaten with dollops of ghee on top.

Behram and Rekha Shroff have been regulars for the Modak meals. “The food at Madhavashram is very homely and not spicy or oily. Mr. Mahajan makes you feel at home as he personally goes around serving modaks like a good host. I end up eating at least 5-6 modaks as they are really very delicious” says Rekha.

If you want a simple yet tasty and homely meal with lots of ukdiche modaks thrown in, head to Madhavashram today and you will be able to enjoy it on an open terrace in the moonlight and that too on the auspicious Sankashti Chaturthi day in Madhavashram’s centenary year.

Address and timings

Madhavashram. 18, Parekh Street, Near Girgaum Court, Girgaum, Mumbai – 4
Monday closed. Open for meals at night only and Modak meals on Sankashti Chaturthi. Time : 8:00 to 10:00 pm

Important Sankashti Chaturthi dates -October 29, 2007, November 27, 2007 (Angarika) & December 27, 2007.

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