-By Rashmi Uday Singh
Excuse me for speeding.but I'm on a quest. I am looking for regional Indian cuisine restaurants in Mumbai and what do I find? Only two and a half Bengali ones? Ditto for Kerala, Kashmiri, Goan, Hyderabadi, Avadhi eateries? Whaaat! Not a single Andhra restaurant since RR The Plantain leaf closed down? Or a great Parsi eatery either. The unkindest cut of all? we're in the capital of Maharashtra and there's only one significant Maharashtrian food eatery (Diva Maharashtracha, undoubtedly fabulous) and a smattering of smaller ones. It sure is time to crib. But being a positively-positive see-the-glass-as-halffull kind of person I speed into spiritual Nasik, which is also wine country. Making my trip possible is the affable and talented Nina Vasa of 'Celsius', who has made time from jetsetting around the country participating in prestigious exhibitions with her creations of elegant and unique linen, cambric and silk outfits. PK Vasa's prowess at the golf course is as much in demand as is his cooking and grilling steaks.
And in the relaxed Gateway Ambad hotel, surrounded by 11 acres of lush landscaped gardens we discover a restaurant serving moderately priced authentic and superb Maharashtrian fare...a jewel!
Sorry male chefs no offense meant, you guys are fabulous, no doubt, but I've always maintained it's the women in home kitchens who are repositories of traditional recipes. In this twin-levelled comfy, contemporary restaurant with wooden pillars, once again the brilliance of women cooks shines through. Two locals, Satyabhama Goutam Dhabse and Sujata Sagar Kamde bring to the stoves generations old authentic recipes and skills. The dynamic Ahmar Siddiqui, ensures that they serve up the best here. The local Nasik specialty Muttoncha Kala Rassa thrills with its robust hand pounded roasted masalas.
Delicious home style chicken dishes of Kombdi Che Suke and Kombdi Cha Rassa, vegetarian gram flour Pithla and coconut infused Bharli Wangi too. We mop it all up with the delightful Millet Bhakri and whole wheat Poli. Superlative kebab platter too. Bypass the Chinese, the lousy, dry puran poli. Ask for the â€œWine fliteâ€ where for the price of one you can sample seven wines of Nasik.
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