My mom and I have this queer collection of newspaper articles- important news, fun tidbits, zany ads, webpages and the best of our collection…reviews by food critics. Not five-star restaurants, but local ones, dabbas, old, quaint ones. We hardly visit five-star restaurants as they’re pricey and the food hardly fills quarter of our stomach [terrible for me because I’m a real glutton]
This review is of an old restaurant, called Pancham Puriwalla. It was a famous stall serving puri-bhaji about a century ago and was made into a proper restaurant much later….
We were hot and sweaty from that tiresome train ride. We were tightly packed like cola-cans in a crate. There was hardly any place to move! There were some old ladies selling their wares who were sitting at the mouth of the entrance. People entering the train kept tripping over them and falling on us.
We got down at V.T [ the last stop] and walked down to Pancham Puriwalla, peering at the dog-eared newspaper article about it for directions. A huge, rusty sign-board at the bend of the road caught our eye. There it was! teeming with men running about with red towels on their shoulders. Oh...You should have seen the place... I immediately rated it zero on ambience. It wasn’t well maintained. Old chairs and tables were strewn around the place. The place was as crowded as the train compartment.
“Errmmm” my mom cleared her throat, feeling uncomfortable at the sight. One of the waiters, with a huge belly guided us up to the first floor. “There’s place here.” he explained. The first floor was not bad, [except for some sort of dicey looking, gigantic machine protruding from the wall] so, we took a seat, feeling somewhat relieved.
We were given a choice between three sorts of puris- plain, one filled with potato, another filled with a green vegetable; and three sorts of curries- potato curry with different vegetables to complement it. My mom chose the one with the least fat in it, and I did exactly the opposite. You can afford to go overboard sometimes. I mean, what’s life without food!
Within two minutes, our order arrived along with an additional bowl of two sorts of dal and a bowl of curds [each.] Those kind folks thought we were food critics or journalists [Yes! We do look like those crazy, adventurous sorts.] They even offered us their special pickle- one with whole mirchis [green chillies] with a tikka [spicy] coating over it. Hmmmmm….this was the best and most wholesome meal I’ve ever had in a restaurant. They deserved hundred points for the food and the quick service. The puris were huge, crisp and warm and the curries were the tastiest ever made. There was a perfect blend of spices and the right amount of salt, quite satiating for a glutton. And for dessert…. We had a super huge glass of fresh lassi [butter-milk.]
I was so full by then; I thought I could roll down the steps.And believe it or not, the whole meal for the two of us came within forty bucks! Promising them that I would write a review, I left the place with good memories and a full stomach.