Restaurant Review: Shahi Bhoj
Food: 3.5 | Service: 3.5 | Décor: 3.5
Shahi Bhoj is a vegetarian thali restaurant originally from Aurangabad. The thali served here consists of a blend of Rajasthani, Gujarati, Maharashtrian dishes.
Shahi Bhoj is located at the Kakde Centre Port building next to E-Square on University Road. The space is well designed perfectly suited for serving thalis. The décor is simple and elegant with a mix of comfortable sofas and wooden chairs. The tables are lined with the empty thalis covered by napkins for additional hygiene. There are some traditional design elements throughout the restaurant like mural, paintings and wooden jharokhas.
As this is a thali restaurant, there is no menu and the moment you are seated, someone will help you wash your hands with warm water at the table. The thali experience starts with jaljeera and masala chhas, both of which were refreshing. The servers then started filling our plates with all the goodies. Once the whole thali was served and photographed, we commenced our shahi bhoj. We started with the farsan and chaat items – a few fluffy pieces of dhokla, the tasty mutter corn ghoogra and the tangy shev puri chaat. The Daal from the the Daal Baati was flavorful and doused with ghee, but the baati was slightly dense and not very crunchy. There is a whole spread of curries from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra which were served. These included Aloo Baingan Rasvala, Malai Kofta, Turai (Ridge Gourd), Gatte ki sabji, Sev Bhaji and Saoji Baingan Masala. Out these, the ones which stood out as distinct and delicious were the spicy aloo baingan rasvala, the simple turai and the saoji baingan masala. The Daal and the Kadhi served had two versions each – Rajasthani and Gujrathi. The Rajasthani versions were spicy and the Gujarati ones had a sweet tinge. With my affinity towards Gujarati food, I absolutely loved the sweeter versions of the kadhi and daal. All three Rotis – Phulkas and Jawari Rotlas served with generous amount of ghee and the Methi Puri complemented the curries, dal and kadhi. The Moong Daal Khichadi was homely, hearty and went perfectly with the Rajasthani kadhi.
There were three sweet dishes in the thali – Doodh Pak (Rice Pudding), Fried Modak and Desi Ghee Jalebi. The bite sized, crispy jalebis fried in desi ghee and dipped in saffron infused syrup were incredible. After the first few servings, we stopped counting and the servers happily kept them coming.
PLUS & MINUS
Priced at Rs. 360, the elaborate and lavish thali at Shahi Bhoj is impressive and value for money. The delicious food is matched with the warm hospitality and prompt service. The thali is a mix of Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi and even some popular Punjabi dishes. This was a unique experience, but I would have personally preferred a complete Rajasthani or Gujarati thali, as those were the dishes that stood out in the thali.
Meal for Two: Rs. 700
Address: Carnival, 3 Kakde Centre Port, Beside E-Square, University Rd, Shivajinagar, Pune - 411007
Timings: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Photo Courtesy: Shahi Bhoj
Note: The article was first published in Pune Times on 20 September 2019.